My alarm went off at 5:05 am. This is a pretty normal time for a long run day for me. In fact, I often wake up earlier!
So I was up and getting ready to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon!
2 cups of coffee (crappy hotel room coffee)
1 wheat sandwich thin
1 tbsp of skippy natural peanut butter
I consumed these between 5 and 6 and then proceeded to twiddle my thumbs in my hotel room, just getting more and more worked up. J was clearly TRYING to help me (thank you J! I mean it!) but I was so nervous I was having none of it. He would ask me what the plan was and I was like "there is no plan! I need to finish!" etc (AKA - I'm freaking out!) And yeah... I am pretty much a terrible person. I was calm all week long, but then when crunch time came, I freaked.
I think I just had myself overworked about a DNF in Chicago and how I felt like that truly could NOT be an option here. I may have put a little bit too much emphasis on OTHERS expectations and not enough on my own. Because I was feeling like my coworkers had done some awesome stuff for me, and I needed to make sure that I finished the race to their expectations. I didn't even send an email out telling them to track me and stuff. I was too nervous.
At 7, I walked over to the room next door where Karen and Chelsa were and continued to not speak - if you have been around me and I am not talking... I am really nervous. They grabbed Chris from the next room and we headed out to the start line. We got over to that general area, and got in line to go to the bathroom. The line was not too long and we were finished with that quickly and then went into the lobby of the Westin to wait in the warmth. While we were in there, we spotted the pacers. Chelsa pointed out the 3:35s to me, and I decided to introduce myself. I stuck with them, left the Westin with them, said goodbye to my friends, and was off to the corral. Indianapolis had seeded corrals if you supplied times to support you being in them. I was in C along with my pacers.
By 8 am, we were off.
It took a little while to find a rhythm here. As is typical, the first mile or so was pretty tight, so I just focused on my stride and trying to find a rhythm. It was cold still, so I was trying to get my legs rolling and hopefully the pain/stiffness that was in my left hip (and had been there all week!) went away. But I was stiff. I was also having some issues with my headphones, my music kept turning off and that was stressing me out. But around mile 3 I got that figured out. I stuck right around the pace group, maybe slightly behind, but I was only experiencing tightness at this point, no pain. My hopes were that it would loosen up in time, and I would find a rhythm. I cross through the 10K in 51:13, an 8:16 pace, or slightly slower than my goal. But I was with the pacers so I was not too worried. Shortly after that we ran through mile 7 and the half marathoners split from us. At this point, I had a finish in my mind (if I was doubting it, I would have turned with the half people.)
Right after we got through the half split, one of the pacers came up to check on me. My hip stiffness had migrated at this point to a very tight glute on the OPPOSITE side. The pacer said to me "how are you feeling? You are looking strong!" I responded, I am doing ok. That was kind of all I could say at this point. I already was feeling a little bit rough with that glute issue and just wanted to press on. Luckily for me, my legs were finally warm and ready to run, so I was able to kick it up a little through here. I crossed the halfway mat at 1:46:51, an 8:10 pace (therefore picking it up a bit) and just ahead of the pace group.
Right after passing through the timing mat, we entered a park with a bike trail, it was not quite like the bike trail here, in fact, I am pretty sure it is a road, but whatever. We were alongside a grassy area. When leaving the park, there was a small incline. This was the moment for me. I had been a little bit locked up, but climbing this small hill (to be clear, this is smaller than anything I would run on a daily basis here in Blue Ash - where I work) did me in. My cheek was SO locked up that I started to question my ability to finish. In both mile 16 and mile 17 I stepped off the course to stretch. That resulted in the two slowest miles in the race. At this point, I decided I was finishing NO MATTER WHAT, and if I needed to stretch, I would. I crossed the 30K mark (18.6 miles) in 2:37:55 (8:29 pace). Look at that DROP. Ugh.
I kept up this run as well as you can and walk when you need to plan after that. I was trying to be an encouraging runner to others that were struggling in this part (and I think EVERYONE was struggling in this part), and tried to keep smiling and remember "I GET to run." I think you can see that in my pictures. I saw J around mile 24, he really was trying to help me pick it up - like I could make up for 10 minutes at this point, but I truly appreciate it. He got this shot of me.
And there is something to be said about smiles.