In honor of my RL (real life, because I'm cool and abbreviate things) Friendiversary with many folks and Marathoniversary for myself-I signed up for the Half at the Hamptons. This would also give Jamie and me another state of racing together. Woot!
Long ago we all were a-Twitter (instead of abuzz, because we're all social media obsessed)
and discussing which race to run. This race was mentioned and when
Speedy Sara said," AND EVERYBODY WILL WIN!" I was sold.
So after an awful week of Joe being ill, having more bad weather, and a deer colliding
with my car-I was ready to get out of Cape Cod. [insert Vampire Weekend's song "Walcott"]
Of course we had to get stuck in a bridge backup which resembled that of a summer back up. UGH.
In the time it took us to drive from my house to across the bridge, I could have ran a half marathon.
Alas, we made it to New Hampshire but not before Jamie posted this now infamous photo from mile 1 of the course.
|That is so much larger than a "puddle".|
Online we all debated on who hated life more.
Once in NH we spent quality time with our friends.
|At least we were mostly interacting with one another....online.|
We met up for dinner, banned our phones, and enjoyed a lovely meal. Although Isaac's Linguini Meatballs were the most entertaining. *wink wink-inside joke*
Everyone made fun of me and how much food I consume.
Then after dinner I had to stop at the store to get more food. I may indeed have a problem.
I was feeling totally unprepared for a race, especially a half marathon. It's just been months since I actually 'raced' and my mind wasn't ready for it. I decided to just figure out my strategy on the fly.
Joe dropped us off at the hotel for packet pickup. I had already spotted Isaac bouncing around in the snow. If you think that I am energetic and peppy, you HAVE to meet Isaac. I don't know how anyone could be grumpy while in his presence. I spotted my Instagram friend Sarah and stalked her a little. I just wanted to say hello in RL for once.
We gathered our things and found a cozy spot along the wall to hang out. I told Isaac there was no need to look for 'my people' because they would flock to me. Which was hilarious because moments later Sara and Eric arrived. These two always have me laughing.
My friend Tasha (and her husband Josh) dropped in to say hello. I was thrilled to give her a hug once again since I never get to see her.
Soon after Andy (Eric's twin brother) and kids arrived to be our cheer squad. Then another online friend Raquel found us too. She has officially been welcomed into our group of awesomeness. Which is good for us, but she potentially doesn't know what she got herself into.
|I should really look in a mirror before races. I'm a mess. Oh well.|
It was time to head to the start and I realized I didn't really stretch at all. Oh well, there was a lake or two on the course and an abundance of ice so I figured I'd be taking it slow.
I said goodbye to my friends one by one as they placed themselves into their proper pace areas. I found my spot by Instagram Sarah and said goodbye to Jamie and Mike that would be taking it easy since she is coming back from injury.
Soon we were off and I was thinking,"I guess it's time to run thirteen miles. La-dee-frickin'da."
I knew I was running quicker than I intended but it felt good and I figured I should bank a few seconds for the fording of the puddle. So I ran and tried to flip my 'race switch' on.
I got a little anxiety when I knew the puddle would be approaching soon. As I looked up ahead though no one seemed to be struggling. Either they were all totally badass or the puddle was gone. I turned the corner and there was some slush and tiny puddles but that was it. SCORE!
This perked me up and I ran joyously and without a worry. I was, in fact, so happy and oblivious that I didn't notice a sheet of ice and did a bit of twerking. I recovered though and kept running. I did notice that a resident was coming out with rock salt. I was definitely not the only person that almost fell.
After that I paid more attention to where I was running and less attention to my pace. I decided I just wanted to maintain a strong pace. If I wanted to know where I was mileage wise I would allow myself a quick peek at the lower right side of my watch, but that was all.
My head was a hot mess but my body felt properly trained. It was a bizarre state to be in. My breathing was even and my body felt like it was keeping a steady, fast pace.
My mind though, was playing games with me.
"Apparently people don't really talk when they are running at this pace. I have NO ONE to talk to."
"Stupid ice and puddles."
"Let's run a half marathon for fun they said. Everyone will PR they said."
"Is that man ever going to stop coughing and spitting?!"
"I bet I *think* I'm running fast but in actuality I'm running slow."
"Doesn't anyone want to by my friend?! You in the Newtons, take out your headphones."
"I'm hot and it's only like 40 degrees."
"Nope, he really isn't going to stop coughing and spitting."
"Hi JOE! Why are you at mile 7 and not mile 8?!? You have ruined my game plan."
I did rather enjoy the spectators in lawn chairs, smoking cigars, on top of a 10 foot snow bank.
After mile 7-8 I had remembered Amber saying it was downhill or flat. It was a relatively flat course overall though. Mentally the small hills seemed difficult. I kept reflecting on MDI and how these should feel like nothing. They didn't.
I had an unfortunate interaction at the final water stop. I made eye contact with a volunteer and said "you in green vest" and when I went to grab the cup he had a death grip and the water spilled completely out. So I grabbed another cup 3 people down. A runner man said,"Hey I was gonna take that cup." and so I handed him mine, which he accidentally dropped, and kept running (while speaking profanity). I then ran back a few feet to grab a cup for myself because I needed it. I probably lost 15 seconds on this ordeal. My already terrible mental game that I was pushing against the entire race hit an all time low. I knew I had time to make up and zeroed in on the random runner mans shirt in the distance. Then about a half mile later I had to pass the guy. I wanted to say something to him but I took the high road. He said nothing to me and I purposely made eye contact...he diverted his eyes.
I tried dude. I tried.
I dangled a carrot in front of me and told myself that Isaac would be running back for me at any second. I couldn't slow down now because I needed to finish strong. My mind wandered a bit to my friends that were running Hyannis. I hoped they were all doing well.
My eyes were constantly scanning, looking for Isaac's bright yellow Boston Marathon shirt. Finally, with about a mile or more to go I spotted him and cried out to him like a wounded warrior. He cheerfully ran my way and I said,"Get me to the finish!"
I think Sara described him best,"... a super caffeine charged, bouncy, pumped up race pacer on crack."
You would have never guessed that he had just ran a 1:25:51 half marathon. Plus, I was the second person he had ran back for. I hate him in the best possible way. He smiled and asked me how I was and I may have answered in normal language or I may have spoken caveman to him,"ugh. tired. empty. done. uhhhhhh."
He encouraged me to pick up the pace and said I just needed to make it to the blue lights.
Clearly he didn't know that the blue lights were 5 million miles away. I had no clue how my body was still progressing forward. I focused on listening to his foot steps and trying to mimic them. I also noticed the graphic on his back honoring those lost and injured during last years Boston Marathon.
(He later told me he had it added on himself.) My 'suffering' was nothing. Through his kindness and the thoughts of others, my body kept going. Soon we approached the blue lights and I only had to go the .1 to the finish. Isaac veered right and kept pacing me from behind the spectators, all the while still yelling for me to speed up. I heard Andy and his kids but I couldn't even turn my head, I had to focus on just getting to the finish.
I finished, grabbed my medal, a water, and felt toasted. Isaac magically appeared and made sure I was doing okay. I think my lack of words may have worried him a little. He led me back to Andy and the kids and then ran off in search of Jamie and Mike. I was so thankful Andy had come to spectate. I got to see/hear them several times and it was SUCH a moral booster.
(.19 my Garmin had longer) 7:22 pace
(.19 my Garmin had longer) 7:22 pace
Official Time: 1:47:07
There was much celebrating after.
Including my obligatory Jump Photo.
I love running. I love my friends. I love my husband.
So basically this was an awesome weekend. We all won because we have each other.