Caught My Breath!I feel nothing short of amazement as I reflect on how this run went and all the things that went right.
• All the little exercises, foam rolling and taping payed-off!
• The time letting go of speed work and focussing on mileage, padding time between long runs, and guarding my taper…worked.
• The strength I found in the Train Like a Mother "Own It Plan" two months ago lingered enough for a 6 minute PR.
• The temps were in the low 50s with sunshine and fall leaves—it doesn't get any better!
• No restroom stops. I repeat: No restroom stops!
• I pulled the strength out of me, all alone on a course that I ran last year at 4:56 and vowed to beat down the mistakes I had made before.
I wished my friend a good run on her first half marathon, which she was running in remembrance of her father. She barely trained but needed some positive energy in her life. What ever her journey was going to be, I wanted her to succeed and find perspective. She had been wanting to do this for a year and today was the day.I prayed like I usually do at the starting line for a good run, what ever that may be and help us find the strength to pull this off. One thing I thought about and repeated on the drive the day before was "If you don't believe, then you have already failed. Then why bother? You must believe. You must believe." Envisioning that finish line is powerful.
I placed the mantras in front of my mind so I could recall them thru the run:
• Don't You Surrender
I hung tight to the Oprah Pace Team and felt a little stressed that I was running faster than I had trained and the fact that I had lost speed work from injury. Shutting that out of my mind, I tried to focus on relaxing, comfort and breathing easily like I did in the Spring when Evie and I ran the Bayshore Marathon and had a 17 minute PR. This is what a race day PR is all about. It is finding comfort in the uncomfortable. I was right with the pace team thru mile 15 where they got a little lead on me as they jolted off at under 10mm! We were behind and this was them catching up!
I shifted my mind on keeping them close and getting to the 20 mile marker—just 5 more to 20, get to 20. I gave myself rewards throughout the entire course—at each 5 mile marker with GU and the PicklePop at mile 13 and 23. I also snagged the pickle juice they offered twice—YES! I was a little ahead of pace by mile 20, but had no idea. I was living on sparks of kiddy hand slaps by now. (Okay, should have started that earlier.)
I was not in pain at all and that is amazing all by its self. High five to God and my running guardian angel. The PF and ITBS issues I had feared were silent for the most part—only a whisper of a lower leg ache. I felt fatigued by mile 22 and finally lost the Oprah Pace Team in my sight. That was where I slowed a bit, but never walking. This is where "Don't You Surrender" plays well. I kept pace with some other 4:29 goal runners that had fallen back around me, and nobody was truly surrendering today. We had passed many after mile18 that had run out too fast and were out of gas and hurting.
I don't think I have ever been so happy to cross that line! I shook Don Kern's (GR Race Director) hand, hugged him and thanked him by name after I crossed. He is there to do just that, right at the finish line! GR Marathon is a detailed planned course and event, as well as being a Boston Qualifyer course (not that I will ever do that!). It is a smooth run through downtown Grand Rapids, MI, out to a wide paved trail in the woods, by a lake and over bridges in fall color galore. Lots of parking, food and great volunteers. I love this race!
This year My Team Triumph had 11 teams assisting those who otherwise could not race cross the finish line. It is a beautiful thing to see these angels pushing their captains. These angels are amazing and the sight of them moves me.
Thank you Oprah Pacers! Although I didn't beat Oprah's 4:29, I did pull out a 4:33 which is a 6 minute PR for me and had an amazing experience of inner faith.