March 5, 2012

What It Truly Means to Run Happy

I was really, really in a running funk. It was probably one of the worst funks I've ever felt. It wasn't until a few days before the race that I truly started to feel like myself again. I did a lot of reflecting about what it really means to Run Happy, a motto that my sponsor (Brooks Sports) uses relentlessly. I had let myself get so overwhelmed with training and life, they I had forgotten why I began participating in this sport to begin with.

I had a few good runs in final week of my taper, and better than that, I've really started enjoying coaching my new team. I genuinely like this group of kids, and I love their enthusiasm for our sport.
I also can't underestimate the influence of The Woodlands. Something is magical about that place. Scratch that, something is magical about those people. Never in my life have I met so many kind-hearted, generous, and SPECIAL people. Being around Adrienne, and all of my other Woodlands friends reminded me why I love this sport so much. I decided Friday night to Run Happy, whatever that might be.

Upon arriving at The Woodlands, I attended a press conference with a few other top-seeded athletes. That was a unique experience for me, as was the whole "elite athlete" deal of the weekend. It kind of makes me laugh. I said so many times, "But I'm not an elite runner, just a regular school teacher." Hahah. The Woodlands race staff really knew how to make me feel good, though. Those guys did a super job organizing, and it really helped make my race experience great.

Friday night, TP and I ate over at Adrienne's apartment with elite athlete, Camille Herron. I love that girl! We had so much fun laughing and talking. I'm hoping to have enough time to blog about a lot of things I took away from meeting her, and some very valuable advice I received.

By Saturday morning I was committed to starting out with Sub 3 pace, but re-evaluating at the half. I knew that the 7 weeks since Houston had been rocky, and that I am/was on the verge of overtraining or just basic exhaustion. The weather was great temperature wise, but we did have some wind gusts that I wasn't too fond about. It also started raining for about 4 miles at Mile 20, also something that did not please me.

Miles 1-7: 645,645,653,657,641,648, 644
First female has blazed us (Camille Herron), and 2nd through 5th place are all running together in a pack. We had a lot of fun talking and getting to know each other for that first hour. At Mile 8, they all took off, but I stayed relaxed and held back.

Miles 8-13: 651,650,649,651,651,652 and I hit the half at 1:30:5Xish.
I caught 4th place and ran with her for a bit. I then passed her and moved into 4th place. I would remain here for the rest of the race. I passed TP who cheered words of encouragement. I told him I was feeling pretty worn down and he was shouting about Plan B and telling me it was windy. I moved into Plan B- Sub 3:05 and place in the cash.

Miles 14-20: 647,657,651,706,705,705,658 and then I peed myself. Yep, I finally did IT!
For years, I've been reading race reports about people peeing themselves in races. And goodness knows I've had to go before. It was perfect. I was *this* close to having to use a porta (#1 thank goodness), and it started to rain. So, I thought about it real hard, and let it rip. Hahaha, but then all I could think about was how digusting I was and how I would never, EVER, do that again. I was so grossed out! Hahaa. The rain kept on for a few miles, and I was worried that the weather was about to turn for the worst. The sky was really dark and the wind was blowing. Luckily, it just rained for a few miles and we didn't have any thunder/lightening. Adrienne passed me on the bike, but was riding so stinking fast that I couldn't talk to her. I was feeling GREAT, and very much at peace with my race plan.

Miles 21-26: 703,722,714,723,714,708 You know how you get to that point in a marathon where you just don't like people anymore. Yeah, that happened to me when we started to meet up with half marathoners. It's bad enough in a 10K or something, but when you have already run 20 miles, that crap gets OLD. I started out nicely saying "excuse me", blah, blah, blah, smiling and telling them good work. Then you start to become familiar with meeting walkers 6 abreast (not that there's anything wrong with walking a half marathon) and you can't get through. I said "excuse me" a little louder, and threw in a "on your left" in there. By the time I got to Mile 25, I was about to start elbowing and body slamming people. Get out of my WAY!!!!!!! Hahaha.
26.5: 3:22 My Garmin measured a bit long (26.5 total). I'm sure that's me not running the tangents, mixed with my dodging and weaving in the final miles.
Final Time: 3:04:25
4th female overall

Adrienne was right there to get a sweaty hug at the finish. True that I didn't meet my Sub 3 goal, but I genuinelly feel GOOD about my race. I recognize that I've had signs of extreme fatigue, and frankly, I need a little break from the mileage. It's time to switch things up a bit for me. More than that, I actually executed a Plan B and the run felt great! (Um, check out my BRAID! Wowzers!)

I'm glad it was a Saturday race b/c I got to hang with Adrienne for most of the day and evening. We always have so much fun together.

Also, I really feel GREAT about my recovery this time around. At the VIP tent after the race, they had massagers there. It was great to get stretched and massaged after a race. Also, TP and I took a dip in the hotel hot tub after the race, too. I think both of those will help my recovery time.
What's next you ask? Well, I'm going to spend a bit of time just easy running, then do a training cycle geared towards my shorter distance times. I've been working on putting together a training plan for myself from Jack Daniels stuff. And there are no marathons in the near future. In fact, my next one will not be until the fall, and I'm totally okay with that. :)



  1. Awesome Rebecca! I love the part about you wanting to body slam people to get out of your way. I am glad you had such a great time.

    Have you done the Marine Corps Marathon? That is my marathon in the fall. However, I hate hills and I know the course is not flat.

    Get some rest and take it easy.

  2. Oh my gosh, I'm dying...I can't believe you peed yourself. Hysterical! Congratulations on a wonderful race! It sounds like you were in a great head-space and that translated to wonderful race experience.

    Thanks for reminding me to "Run Happy." You said you "genuinely feel GOOD about the race" and that is exactly what I want out of this weekend. You're such a great Brooks ambassador.

  3. What an awesome post, and what an amazing experience to share together!!

    I was so proud of your performance but even more so your attitude and smiles immediately after the race!

    Thanks so much for breaking in this great new course-now it's my turn to head your way for yet another adventure! I will never forget this past weekend!

    Love ya girl!

  4. SUCH a great post! First and foremost (because you know this is important to me) Yay on you peeing yourself!! I know how unlike you that is, such a southern lady and all, but if you can't let 'er rip in the rain, when can you? I love that you did this.

    As for the rest, I utterly LOVE it all!! From the press conference to the Adrienne love to the race itself and hating people to getting your mojo back...Beautiful! And moolah besides? Double beautiful. :)

    Love you girl, here's to tons more happy races ahead.

    It's truely an accomplishment.
    Get your butt out to CA and let's do some trail running, marathon breaks are awesome for that.

  6. Anonymous3/06/2012

    I'm happy just reading this! You're not the only one that is weird about peeing in races... meeee tooooo :P

  7. Wow! Another awesome marathon! Glad you are running happy and out of that funk. I've peed myself quite a few times, but not by choice. Kinda just came out. . . . Anyway, Congrats!

  8. Camille3/06/2012

    Wow, 26.5 on your Garmin?!!! I wonder how far I ran with all the weaving too! My pace dropped off about 5-10 seconds/mile when I started weaving. I had about a 30 sec. cushion under my PR until the last few miles. This is amazing!!!

  9. Congrats on your race!!! Running around walkers that are more than 2 abreast is a huge pet peeve of mine!

  10. Awesome job on the race! I love the fact that I got to read your account and Camille's account of the same race - fun to see the two similar sides.
    Great job on jumping to a new plan when the Plan A didn't make - and peeing in your pants, might have to remember that in my next rainy race (ok no not really, i couldn't stand the thought!)
    Enjoy the short distance!

  11. Anonymous3/08/2012

    Woohoo! Sounds like great fun being with your friends, racing your plan, and, er, blazing new territory, pee-wise. :-) And running happy, hooray!

  12. Another great race for you, R! What a way to snap out of a running funk- just a little PR :)

    I really enjoy the breakdown you give for the different sections of the race. It's also a good sign that you are able to see when you should switch to plan B- that you were able to do it and still get in a super race.
    That recovery sounds AWESOME.

    Not sure about the peeing thing..but i tell you, if I ever have to in a race, I will pray for rain!

  13. Oops! I stand corrected! I knew you had a blazing fast race at Houston. All the more impressive that you were able to move into plan B. Still amazed with how many fast races you can run so close together...
    Thanks for your comment today. It meant a lot.