There are two sides to racing in this race. The first is the athlete side, or the real race recap. The second is the mushy love story side. I finally tell the story I have been holding back. Feel free to get your fill of whatever story you find more interesting.
The Athlete’s Side
The race that was suppose to be a training run. Yeah, like that hasn’t happened to me before. Going into this weekend I was content to just try my best. I knew last year I had an amazing PR and a triumphant day. My main goal was to just finish well and run a solid training run. 11mm to 11:30s would be just fine. I really had no reason to push it. I was planning on pushing it in Syracuse next month anyway. My last big race before devoting myself fully to ultra marathon training.
Anyway, so the day before I fueled up with a HUGE and amazing brunch with my sister and friends and then a huge bowl of pasta with my teammates. Typical pre-race nonsense. We got back to the apartment and laid out all our gear before heading to [a seriously uncomfortable] bed.
The morning sun came up and we geared up. I ate my marathon bar (toasted almond before any race) and make sure everything was ready, including a dry shirt for after if I needed it. We then walked the 2.5 miles to the start line. I think this walk might be the secret to success in this race, it certainly performs as the perfect warm-up. We checked in the bag, visited the porta-pots, and went off to our corrals. I set my watch for 11:15 pace and waited for our air-horn.
Off we went and into the city…. Mile One came out fast, but it usually does. I figured I would even out after the first water break. My goal was to feel comfortable. Whatever comfortable was, I wanted to settle there. I didn’t want to finish the race feeling terrible. Resolving to still walk all water stops I focused on not walking in between. It was a beautiful day and the course was lined with interesting people. I remembered from last year so I tried to slow down and conserve energy. Somehow, every mile my watch beeped I was getting faster. I was clocking well below 11mm and a couple clocked in below 10. The problem was, I wasn’t pushing it, and I felt good. So good that I resolved not to think about it and just stay “comfortable”. Scary to think that my comfort pace was 9:55. (Yes, that is fast for me. Don’t judge!) I began to worry about seriously burning out. I had lost signal for a while in the city so while the time was correct, my mileage was wrong. I started judging by the mile markers what my estimated finish time would be. In the last long stretch of park I decided to go for it. I just passed mile 9 and was clearly feeling great. I let myself go and tried not to think about the course ahead. The last 5K were a push. I started to feel the sun and the incline (last 3 miles are in full sun and uphill) but told myself the hard work was already done. I just needed to finish quickly and a new PR would be mine (I estimated a minute off my PR).
Push. Push. Push. I would have loved for some downhill in that last bit. Right before the finish line there is a big hill around a corner. I recognized it from last year and charged up. I could see the Marathon Bars banners and surged on to the finish. I stopped my watch and it seemed to be a full two minute PR. Elated I danced into the Marathon Bars tent and hugged my teammates and boyfriend. Elated and on top of the world I still can’t figure out where the energy came from. It was like an explosion of unexpected perfect run variables converging on ME! Needless to say I was elated that this race turned out so perfect. After all, it was a very SPECIAL day. 🙂
The Mushy Side
I have only mentioned once before on this blog how my boyfriend and I met. Now that it has been a year I can divulge the whole story without sounding like a lovesick puppy even though I clearly am. As you may know, RnR Philly last year was completely amazing. I called it The Miracle in Philly for more than one reason. In addition to meeting Kara Goucher, judging a rock band contest, and meeting my teammates for the first time, it was the first race I ever clocked a sub 2:30 half marathon. In my mind it was when I “arrived” as a runner. All of this I knew was amazing at the time. What I didn’t realize is that very weekend I had met the man of my dreams.
September 16th last year I was traveling to Philly on the Megabus from Buffalo. A stranger complimented me on my jacket and asked if I was running the race in Philadelphia. I replied yes, because I was sponsored by Team Marathon Bars. He asked me how I got the gig and I replied “I don’t know, some dumb luck, since I’m really no one special.”
Cut to the Monday after the race. After walking all the way to the train station from my sisters apartment I ask the bus people where the line to Buffalo is. Immediately after getting in line I noticed the guy behind me wearing a RnR Philly shirt. Being the smooth talker I am I say “Nice Shirt”….not realizing this is the same fella from the bus down until we start chatting. One convo later finds out that he plays hockey (A++), loves football(A+), and use to play lacrosse(A). I found myself thinking that he was an interesting and nice guy, if a bit old. He played right into that when we went on the bus. He sat across and two seats back and read a book. Much to my disappointment I concluded that glasses+book+beard+bus=OLD!
The bus makes a rest stop in Syracuse and we chatted a bit more. I caught myself thinking I wish I had made more of an effort to look better. I have a tendency to be lazy when I travel and not care that I look like a college student who just pulled an all nighter. He asked me when I was getting off and I said downtown (where we got on). After talking with my dad he told me to get off at the first stop which was the airport. I stood up and said goodbye to my friend as I exited the bus. I jokingly told him maybe I would see him around the Buffalo running community is a small place (plus he had commented on my FF jacket and I mentioned that I worked there). I hopped off the bus and waited for the bus driver to come open the storage area under the bus. A few minutes later my friend comes jumping off the bus. He asked me for my number and if he could call me sometime. I said yes, and for some strange reason couldn’t think of a fake number (usually I give strangers fake numbers because it NEVER works out and they usually turn out CRAZY) so he got my real number.
-Cut to one month later. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to meet up for coffee and one attempt on his part to visit me at work (I’ll admit it, I ran and hid in the backroom on my lunch break since I hate feeling awkward) I decided it wasn’t worth the time and stop returning his text messages. Then I randomly got an invitation to go see the Lion King on stage at Shea’s. It was the day I was running the Empire State Half Marathon in Syracuse (October 16th, one month later) but I would be back by early afternoon. I agreed to go….the rest as they say, is history.
September 16th, on the anniversary of the day we met, we ran the race that brought us together. It made the day and this race even more special for us.I honestly cannot remember a day when I felt more happy. ….Not to mention later that evening the Bills and Steelers won, and the Patriots and Ravens lost…..a perfect football day!!! Honestly, meeting Geoff has been a real lesson in luck for me. Life was wonderful and going great before I met him, but having him has made it even more amazing. 2011 may have been the best year of my life so far, but 2012 is trying to top it.
Keep Believing. And Keep On. Stay On. Marathon!!!
Thanks for reading!
- Race Recap: Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 2012 (willrunforglitter.com)
- Rock n’ Roll: Philadelphia Half Marathon (lvrunsnyc.wordpress.com)
- we rocked & rolled… philly style! (paceofmind.wordpress.com)
- Huge Turnout For Half-Marathon (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Running Down Your Dreams (agirlrunner.wordpress.com)