subtitle: maybe someday I’ll learn not to start too fast.
It’s now quite comical to me that I signed up for this race right after Big Sur (which at the time was the hardest race of my life) to smash my PR. The running gods TOTALLY had something else in mind.
On Saturday afternoon I met up with some of my favorite people at the Expo. We talked about our strategy, given the fact that it was going to be pouring rain with a crazy headwind. Pretty much everyone decided that finding a pace group was the way to go, so that you’d have people to draft off.
I decided I’d line up with the 3:30 or 3:35 group depending on how I felt in the morning. There was my first mistake.
When we got to the start the wind was howling and the rain was blowing sideways. I huddled under an awning with Beth and Jana until about 10 minutes to 7, when it was time to brave the elements and line up. I had put on gloves, arm warmers, and compression socks, but at the last minute I decided to grab a $2.00 throwaway poncho to wear for the first few miles.
I spend the first couple miles with the 3:30 pace group, which under normal conditions probably would have been fine. But running into the wind was so exhausting, I used up all my energy way too early on. Miles 6-10 were the worst, and even trying to stay behind people didn’t seem to make much of a difference. By mile 10 we’d run through some huge puddles and my shoes were completely heavy and full of water. I started feeling a tightness in my right leg so I backed off the pace a little bit.
The tightness turned to some more serious pain in my knee, hip and ankle so I took my first walk break at mile 15. I was relieved I’d kept my poncho because it was COLD as soon as I stopped running. That seemed to help a little bit, and I was able to start running again. The rain was still coming down like crazy but fortunately the wind wasn’t blowing as hard. Somewhere around mile 18, I heard my name and was thrilled to see these ladies cheering (even with the horrible weather. <3)
I wish I could say that the rest of the race went perfectly, but it didn’t. The knee pain kept coming and going and I took a few more walk breaks. I swore I would never run another marathon again, but was still grateful to have the opportunity to run at all.
FINALLY we crossed the bridge onto J Street and I immediately started counting down the blocks. FIFTY + blocks. It’s impossible not to look at those damn street signs. I took my last walk break somewhere around mile 23 and the 3:45 pace group passed me. I decided that I was NOT going to let that happen, no matter how badly my knee hurt. I picked it up, finally ditched the poncho (it had actually stopped raining around mile 25!) and rounded the final turn to finish in 3:42:56, 10 minutes slower than my PR, but my second best marathon time (and faster than Big Sur!)
It was tough out there, and I honestly am not sure if I want to do another marathon again any time soon. But I am SO grateful for my amazing friends and of course, my favorite cheerleaders.
PS. I’m guessing no1curr, but here are mile splits: (7:38, 7:47, 7:26, 7:48, 7:43, 7:43, 8:00, 8:14, 8:01, 7:43, 7:33, 7:49, 8:03, 8:24, 9:41, 8:34, 9:42, 8:10, 8:28, 10:43, 10:18, 8:48, 10:08, 8:19, 8:14, 8:07, 2:21) average: 8:33. One of these half marathons was not like the other.