11/28/2018- Note to myself prior to race:
I will do my best, my very best and no matter what, I won’t be disappointed by the outcome. If I fall short, I will use it as motivation to learn and try again. If I reach my goal, I’ll use it as motivation to do even better next time. The journey has been worth it. The journey has been tough, and fun, and awakening. I am happy knowing I’ve done all the training, never quit a workout, no matter how hard, and stretched out of my comfort zone so many times I’ve created a new one. Thank you running, for choosing me.
No one sleeps the night before a big race so NBD that I had a crazy nightmare and no rest. In my nightmare, my mom was staying with me at the hotel and found out I was wearing buns to race in. (They are so comfy, I’ve tried it all, this is just what works for me. Desi Linden once said “26.2 is a long time to run in your underwear” I totally agree. I tried so hard for that very reason to resist them. But they are the best, so I must.) Anyway, my mom was trying to have me wear long tights and the race was about to start and I was missing it all because she had hidden my buns. Nightmares are weird.
After a 3:45am wake-up call I ate breakfast, showered, dressed and was ready to go by 4:30am. At the start line I loved the familiarity of having done this race before and knowing the drill. I haven’t done a lot of races twice because I haven’t been racing that long, but I can understand why people go back to the same ones year after year.
I’ve been feeling really lousy for the past couple of weeks, and the final things my coach/husband said to me was “every race is different, don’t expect it to be easy”. I had been telling myself that as well since last year one of the key standouts of CIM for me was that I rolled for so long without much effort. Read about that HERE. It’s always nice for a reminder though, and it solidified just focusing on what I had ahead of me and not comparing my run to last year.
I had a few goals going into CIM A) sub 2:37 B) PR C)Finish the marathon.
When the gun went off, I fumbled a bit to gain a little elbow room. I had started a tad farther back because I didn’t want to be tempted to go out too fast. Unfortunately it caused me to be a little squashed and I couldn’t see very far in front of me. I was on the white line on the edge of the road and less than a quarter mile in a stepped down hard with the ball of my foot on one of the rumble strips. I should know better, that shouldn’t have happened. Immediately a sharp pain shot through my foot but within a couple of steps was gone.
I tried to make sure I had found a rhythm going that was 5:59 pace. I know running a negative split is popular, but for me, it’s all I can do to just stay steady. I went through the first mile in 5:45 and inwardly scolded myself for going out too fast. It’s literally one of the worst mistakes a runner can make in the marathon so I was super annoyed with myself. I managed to get with it enough to make it through the 5k with a 5:55 average. At this point I was really surprised there weren’t more runners around me. There were men and women passing me or already slowing down, but I didn’t have a group with me. I figured that would change, but over the course of the whole race I was running alone with only a few ladies in my sights for small stretches.
Around mile 6, I saw Ryan for the first time and I felt a wave of happiness at seeing him. He was wearing a Santa hat and was on a rented electric bicycle he had picked up in Downtown Sacramento. He had ridden backwards on the course until he found me and now would start working his way back towards the finish line on side streets and finding spots to stop and cheer.
Mile 7- I started battling some hip tightness. Its too early for that. I haven’t had to deal with this particular issue for over a year. I self-massaged while running, and wondered if I would have to drop out. Usually when my hip starts acting like that, my range of motion suffers until I can’t stride out. I won’t stop running unless something snaps and I literally can’t move, maybe it will work itself out. And luckily by mile 11 it had worked itself out. I was still under goal time, and for the next several miles things went fairly easily. I got to see Ryan on the course again and my friend Jenny and her family just around the half marathon mark. It was so nice to see familiar faces on the course. I was wearing “Kirkpatrick” on my bib but several times I heard “Go AnnMarie!” and got an extra little boost of energy that someone knew me.
I wasn’t working the tangents well, my watch reminded me of that whenever the mile indicator would beep and the mile marker sign was still about 100 yards ahead of me. I tried to do a better job. At mile 19, I realized my watch never gave me any feedback. I looked down- it had died. Yuck! I’m not super dependent on my watch but I knew I was going to start struggling soon and wanted to at least have some sort of an idea of what I was up against. Luckily the course marshal for the 2:37 ‘A’ standard group of runners realized it and started shouting out splits, which I hugely appreciated.
Ryan came riding up “Go AnnMarie!” I yelled back “My watch died!” He said “I just got in a bike wreck, but I’m here and you can do this!” I glanced over. He had blood streaming out of his face. Yikes. I was alarmed, but knew he would never want me to stop. If anything, I just needed to make sure I put everything into doing my best and making the effort of my race make up for any sacrifices. Make it worth it.
I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my right foot- exactly where I had landed on the rumble strip. Every step hurt to put my foot down. Rats. At the same time I felt my legs starting to turn into hardened concrete. Too soon, too soon, I still have 5k left!
This was a long struggle. I knew I was slowing down quite a bit, I regretted again having gone out too fast, but I was determined to finish the job. I wasn’t sure how much room for error I had, but I knew I would be pretty close. Don’t give in for even a second. If you do, you’ll never forgive yourself if you miss it. Focus. Speed up. Speed up. Do your best.
I rounded the final corner. I could see the clock 2:37:20. Damn. I had missed it. I kept running as hard as I could, I wasn’t going to do anything less than my best.
Final time 2:37:49. I let myself feel a little sad. I wasn’t going to be mad about it, I wasn’t going to pout, because I had just run a 7+ minute PR. But I did need to take a moment and just mourn a little that I had worked really really hard, cut no corners, and poured myself into training for this race and snagging an A standard- and it didn’t happen. I made my way over to Jenny and fam at the finish line and requested a sweaty hug. Sorry, that probably sucked for everyone but me. Moments later, Ryan was there and we celebrated the success of completing a strong training cycle, staying healthy, fit enough to run a marathon, and end with a huge improvement over last year.
What a weekend- I loved meeting up with the rabbit and nuun crew, and seeing other runners I only get to catch up with at races once or twice a year. (Special shout out to Nick and Mary on your knock-out efforts!) There were some inspiring performances to be celebrated and seeing them firsthand was an incredible experience.
I’m looking forward to a nice rest, refocusing on next year, and setting some new goals. I am so appreciative of all the love and support, it has been overwhelming in the best possible way.
*When the battery in Ryan’s electric bike died, it locked up just as he was cruising over a pile of wet, slippery leaves. The combination of all that caused it to slide and go down. He’s okay and on the mend- mild concussion, and his hand isn’t broken.