B.A.A. 1/2 Marathon

17 Oct

As you may remember from my Wicked 1/2 recap, my only goal for this race was to break two hours. No pressure, right?

Turns out making grand proclamations about breaking 2 hours “come hell or high water” will eventually lead to stress. I would be lying if I said I was confident going into this race.

The thing is, I wasn’t exactly sure I would break two hours. I wanted to think I could. Of course I also thought I was sure to break it at the Wicked 1/2. I obviously did not.

But you know what? I decided to throw out all my doubts and pushed as hard as I could for as long as I could, and I broke two hours. By a lot.

I woke up bright and way too early Sunday morning with way too much pre-race anxiety. This was my first big race and I was a little worried about being the slowest person out there. The B.A.A. is the same organization that puts on the Boston Marathon and they came with their we’re faster and better than everyone else attitude and made a rule that if you didn’t finish the race in 2 1/2 hours you weren’t allowed to finish. No medal, no finish line, nothing. They’re nice people.

I wasn’t worried about not finishing in time but it made me think I would surely be in the back of the pack the entire time. I know I’ll never be a top race finisher but I certainly did not want to be one of the bottom either.

We got up, got dressed, I forced breakfast down my throat and we were out the door. We thought we needed to leave super early because we were worried about parking and getting to the race on time. I’m pretty sure we were the first people there. Whoops.

I had way too much time to over-analyze my pace, the course, my training and I grew more nervous as the thousands of people started to gather near the start line.

After waiting in the bathroom line for what felt like an eternity, we scooted into the front of the 9 minute mile pack, hoping to land somewhere between an 8:45 and 9 minute pace.

They played the National Anthem and the gun went off. It took about 3 minutes for us to start moving but when we did I found the first mile to be way more organized and less chaotic than any other race I had experienced. Around mile 2 we crossed over a very small bridge which lent for more of cow herding than running. Seriously, cramming 6,000 runners onto one small bridge in the beginning of a race is mean. Also the sun came out. And it was hot. Again. Do I not live in Massachusetts??

My only tactic for this race was to stay as close to Jonathan as possible. If I lost sight of him I would know I had let my pace slip too far and I would not meet my goal. I’m not going to lie, it was tough. I pushed hard for almost two straight hours and tried my best not to let up.

Then mile 11 came. There was a seriously daunting hill and my quads were completely shot from holding an 8:40 pace in 80 degree heat. I couldn’t keep up. My pace went from fast and confident to what felt more like a mall walker shuffle.

I pushed what I felt was as hard as I could possibly push but every time I looked up I noticed Jonathan was farther and farther up ahead. I was beginning to think I was about to blow it. Had I worked this hard to let my goal slip out from under me at the final two miles? Was I going to let myself down again? No, I wasn’t. Not today.

I turned the music up and dug as deep as I could. I had a mile left. It’s less than nine minutes of your life, I kept telling myself. I pushed forward and finally, after what felt like forever, saw the finish line. I had no idea what my time would be, I was hoping it would be under two hours but I had no idea how much time I had lost at mile 11. The clock was three minutes faster than the official time so I was prepared to see something in the 2:02 to 2:05 range. I looked up as I crossed the finish and saw 1:58:45.

It took me a minute to register the time. Did I really just run that it 1:55?? I was floored. And so proud of myself. I quickly found Jonathan who actually only beat me by about 25 seconds. It was such a great moment. I ran the best possible race I could and completely surprised myself.

I learned a lot that day. I learned just how far I can push myself before I keel over and die or vomit in front of a lot of people. I also learned an 8:40 pace is most definitely not my marathon goal pace. Not even close.

Maybe it own’t be too far off when it’s 40 degrees cooler, but even if I can pul off a 9 minute marathon pace I would be more than pleased with myself. Afterall, I’ll be running a freaking marathon. Who cares what my pace is, right?

Right….

Also, I learned that my Husband takes on zombie form when racing. I’m not lying, I have evidence.

He also likes to get into fist fights at the finish line, right before finisher photos. More evidence…

Oh hey Jonathan, that's a nice shiner you got there.

And apparently all this I pushed as hard as I could and every minute of this race was painful was a big, fat lie. According to these pictures, I was having the time of my freaking life. Seriously, these must have been fake smiles. I do not ever remember being happy or even remotely comfortable during this race.

This one I appear to be in some sort of deep thought. I must have been wondering why I continue to torture myself like this.

Although it was hard and slightly painful, it was worth every second. One of the many reasons why I run is because it’s the one area in my life where I will always see results, no matter what. I will always get out what I put into it. I had to work really hard to cross that finish line in 1:55:45 and I deserved every second of it.

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6 Responses to “B.A.A. 1/2 Marathon”

  1. Elisa 10/17/2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Proud doesn’t even seem like enough! Congrats sister!!! Love you!!

  2. Mandy 10/17/2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Congratulations!

  3. Nancy Leonard 10/18/2011 at 9:56 pm #

    So proud of you two! I just really don’t know how you do it! It just sounds like torture! Hang in there:)

  4. Jessie Price 10/24/2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Congrats!! You guys rocked it!

  5. Lauren 10/25/2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Congratulations!! You dropped off a lot of time from one Half to the next! Very impressive. And I bet cooler weather will help you run even faster. The temperature/humidity makes such a huge difference. Congrats on the new PR!

    • bostonlovers 10/25/2011 at 6:18 pm #

      Thanks Lauren! I feel bad for the people who had to run the Chicago full that day! Brutal!

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