I am already missing it!!.. the training, the grueling schedule, stressing about pace on tempo runs, and fretting about recovery & nutrition. So hard to believe that a week ago today I headed to Seattle to run my 2nd marathon. Now don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have a break and this time to bask in my accomplishment of 26.2 + a Boston Qualifying time (3:34:59)!! Buuuuuut I am a runner, and if you are one too then you get it:). I’ve already goal set for the coming months… lots of yoga, strength & cardio, and running.. duh:) I would like to get stronger and leaner. I can hardly wait to start training come January (pending I get into Boston).
I ran the Jack & Jill Marathon, 30-45 minute drive from Seattle, WA. Just outside the picturesque town of North Bend. This was my very first “run-cation,” i.e. first time I travelled for a race.
Race day I felt rested and ready. The weather was perfect… cool for the first few hours, and gloriously sunny. The course was stunning, a gradual downhill, packed earth, cutting through the Snoqualmie Valley. The trail had previously been an old railway track, the ties long since taken out. We even ran through a 2 mile tunnel, wearing a headlamp! Kind of creepy, an excellent incentive to run fast!
The course was not the only feature that was striking about this race. Each runner I met along the course, left me inspired and grateful to share a journey in the company of such greatness. I met women in their 50s running their 200th-some-odd marathon! I ran alongside an incredibly fit 63 year old man, who pushed me to hold a sub 8 min pace for 5-6 miles, encouraging me to get my BQ. And then fate stepped in, I met my race bestie for the day. We had so much in common… living in Cali, lifelong runners, both moms to toddlers, both on a quest for BQs. As we chatted the miles were effortless and time flew. Talking with Kerry was like visiting with an old friend. She is much more accomplished and experienced at racing than I. As we covered ground, I gladly absorbed all of her proffered advice & wisdom. Around mile 17 we separated, and at that point Stephen and Olive kept pace with me by bike. Another favorite part of my day, having my family out there with me! It means everything when I look up mid-race to find them cheering me on.
Miles 17-21 were the toughest. My hips were hurting and I wanted to be done. My pace was slipping and I was running sloppy.
Somewhere around Mile 22, I turned a corner and the pain in my hips subsided. Magically my race bestie, Kerry, reappeared around this point. Though we mainly ran in silence… those last 4 miles I drew so much strength from running together. Miles 22-26 were all negative splits compared with my first 3 miles of the race… some even a sub 8 pace. Incredible! I pulled off a strong finish and a BQ.
Other highlights for me, it has been 7 years since my first marathon, and a baby later! After that first one in 2010 I was hurting and badly injured from improper training. I was done with the marathon and said never again would I run a full. Never, say never right?!?… I shaved off 30 minutes from my first full! I felt really good physically post race. My training was so much smarter this time around and it made all of the difference. I followed an aggressive training plan with a BQ as the goal from the onset. Over the past 16 weeks I was running tempo on Saturday (7-9 miles at 7:50 pace) and long slower runs on Sunday. I was well prepared and as a result I loved the race and look forward to running more marathons.