I went to the bathroom about 12 more times just because I could and then finally it was 7:30. We decided we should probably hop out and do a little stretching since we'd been sitting for almost 2 hours. Fortunately, it was cloudy and relatively mild outside, so we could ditch our stuff and head to the start without freezing.
Race Director, Gary, organizing his volunteers.
Right around 8:00, Gary, the race director, hopped up on the roof of his van and yelled out to get our attention. He thanked us for coming, told us how thrilled he was to see this race, which he'd been working on for three long years, come to life and then took a few minutes to explain some last minute details. You could tell how excited and nervous he was about everything. Finally, he said, "I don't give a sh** who comes in first, and I don't care who comes in last. All I care about is that you all make it safely across this finish line." We all laughed and clapped for him. Such a cool and humble guy. We shuffled over to the start and then Jeff and I wished each other good luck as we had planned to run on our own for this one. I found a myself a spot in the crowd, turned on my music and got into the zone. Gary gave us an official wave from his van and we were off. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from myself for this race. I'd just run a marathon three weeks before and while I had been easing back into my training, I was still bouncing back. That said, I was amped up and excited to race again. So, it really could have gone either way.
At mile 1, pacing with a marathoner who would
veer off at mile 5 and leave me to fend for myself.
Miles 1-3 went by pretty quickly. I didn't feel terrible but I wasn't feeling great either. My breathing was a bit labored and my legs were quick to remind me that they could still feel the marathon. I was a little worried, but was hoping that after I loosened up and settled down, things would ease up. I tried to find a pace group and focus on my music without staring at my watch. The one major bonus of running a half so soon after a full is how insanely short 13.1 miles seems both mentally and physically. Miles 4-7 came and went. I was holding on at a decent clip, but I was getting tired. I ate a GU mile 7 and did my best not to focus on how wiped I was feeling. At mile 9, a very large, brown dog jumped out at us and I had to sort of stop and stutter step around him. That was a first. I reset after that and told myself to buck up. I only had to get through 4 more miles. That was nothing compared to the 26.2 I'd done three weeks before. A couple more tough miles went by and I was having to dig in. By the time I got to mile 11 I knew I'd be okay. I hadn't checked my watch in a while, but I'd been running behind a couple guys pretty steadily since mile 8, so I tried to shift gears and pick up the pace for the finish. When I turned the corner at mile 13, I looked down at my watch and saw 1:26 and change. Holy SHITE. I had .1 miles to go and I was on pace for a PR. I booked it as fast as I could to get myself across the finish line.
Official time: 1:27:30
First female, 3rd overall
Official time: 1:59:58
Then, at 1:59 and change, I could see him coming around the corner. "Come on, Jeff", I yelled. "You're gonna do it!!!" Talk about CLOSE. He rolled across with 2 seconds to spare. I couldn't believe it. No watch, very little training, and not much of a runner up until about 4 weeks ago, and he still managed a sub 2 hour half marathon. I was so proud, excited, happy...all of it.
Once Jeff had a chance to cool down and stretch, we hopped in the car and bee-lined it for the nearest Starbucks. Two large mochas later, we were headed home. I did ask (er...force) him to take one selfie with me. He's not into it, but it had to be done. This one was going down in the books. My first big race with Jeff. A PR for me. An incredible finish for him. All of it was just so amazing and I was reeling for hours afterwards. I don't know whether Jeff is hooked or not or if racing together will become a regular thing for us, but it doesn't matter. Just sharing this one adventure was enough. And if I had to put money on it, I'd bet he isn't done. To be continued...
Listen to this:
Marathon - Jamie N Commons or listen w/