Make no mistake, running 26.2 miles is not something to be underestimated. I could train just about anyone physically to run a marathon, but I can not train what is between your ears.
When you set your feet before that start line you had better be prepared.
You have 2 options:
1. You can RUN it.
2. You can RACE it.
Both are usually going to hurt, The Marathon is not going to let you finish without taking a piece of you.
I chose to RACE it.
|Team Harless, The Best Support system one could ask for.|
This was not my first rodeo. This is marathon #10.
I am like David up against Goliath when lining up to conquer 26.2 miles. I am humbled by the battle I am going into. I have been in enough marathons now to see the strong turn weak. The brave coward under the distance, the elite fail and the healthy become expired to never cross another finish.
I still get choked up before I ever start. I look sheepishly at the distance, blushing timidly at the thought of little ole me thinking yet again I can take this on.
Like a soldier going into battle, I have trained for 16 weeks. I have prepared and I have asked God to equip me with the necessary tools to Finish the Course, to Conquer yet again another 26.2 miles.
HUMILITY...I have to know my place.
Bayshore Marathon Goals:
I had really been thinking 3:40 was a great goal, it was in the middle and seemed attainable. However, When Jeff heard my goals the Wednesday before he told me "Why are you not going after 3:35, if that is your dream time, then go for that." He continued to go over my training and believed I was capable.
The seed was planted.
Running 26.2-Running MY OWN RACE
|Lacey and I stayed in same hotel, before race.|
The morning went smooth. Lacey and I found Danielle and Jama. The 4 of us headed to the start together. All of our Goals were very close. But I had to run MY OWN RACE.
|Danielle, me, Lacey,Jama|
I knew what I had to do. I love these girls, we trained together for this moment, but at this point I had to run my own race and pace.
I asked the girls if I could give a quick prayer for them before we started.
It was shortly after we were all running towards the finish.
Danielle stayed with me for about 5 miles. Danielle had gotten a respiratory infection the past week, she graciously said "Nita, you run your race....don't hold back for me.." I hated leaving her but Lacey was with her.
Ole Jeff had sent me my splits the night before, I had to nail these order to reach my goal. I wrote them on my arm. At mile 5, I had to be at 41 minutes. A few feet ahead of Lacey and Danielle, I lifted my arm and gave a thumbs up, WE DID IT!
The morning was quickly heating up. I took my "shell" off and threw it to a some guy, he was a great sport, laughing and catching it.
It was incredible the energy on the course. I was loud and proud. The water was magnificent to my right. The sun was heating up my running sleeves quickly. I knew my family was at mile 7, I could toss them there.
Jama stayed in front of me about 10-15 feet. I was very concerned because she was running my pace and that was not her goal. She looked great. She would be next to me here and there and I would ask her how she was and she said "Good."
Coming up to mile 7, I saw "TEAM HARLESS". They looked awesome. "WOW, am I lucky to have my family there for me." I smiled running towards them. My tank was full!
|My Splits Jeff sent me the night before.|
"DRINK water ANITA!" I knew I had to hit every water station. It was heating up faster than I had expected. I couldn't get behind the gun. I could see Jama had already broke through her tank top in front of me.
Coming up on mile 8, Jama was next to me, "Hey, how you feeling Jama?" Jama was sweating pretty bad, "I am hurting already."
I didn't know what to say back, She is a tough cookie and very competitive, I had to trust she knew what she was doing. I encouraged her but looked at my pace to discover I was going to fast, I let her move ahead again.
At mile 10, I looked at my splits and Nailed it again!
The half Marathoners were now passing us. I was powered up. "YEAH, YOU ROCK!" I yelled. I was giving out high fives to anyone that engaged. I knew a lot of runners running this distance. "NITA!!!" It was Kay running towards me. She looked awesome.
Minutes later, I heard my name again "ANITA!!" it was Claudia full spirited and smiles. I barely caught my breath from all the excitement when I saw another huge smile and blonde hair coming towards me. "ANITA!!" It was Erin.
One by one I saw, Jessica, Mike, Sandy and many others.
This woman came from nowhere at mile 11. Peppy, she starts chatting with me. She just hung out next to me. I asked her "What is your goal?" I had noticed I was running faster than I should. Laughing she says "Goal, I don't have a goal, I am just running as hard as I can to see how far I can get!"
My mind when spastic. "WHAT, is this chick NUTS, my pace was at a 7:45 talking to her, this was NOT part of my plan!"
Politely she replies "So what is your goal?"
"I am hoping to hit 3:35."
Without a breath "OH! I would be happy with that, I will stay with you!"
I grabbed my mantra, "RUN YOUR OWN RACE ANITA." Then I repied, "Well then, you are going to have to slow it down!"
I picked up a new partner. I had to really stay focused.
THE TURNING Point
At mile 13, you turn around. This lets you see where everyone is. I was concerned about Lacey and Danielle. Jama, was still in front of me.
Lacey, was about a minute behind me. She looked great. I couldn't find Danielle. I was getting nervous. I saw other running friends but no Danielle. Then I saw her, my heart broke. She was struggling.
I found myself in the 3:35 pacing group. It was a fun group. I was cutting up with the runners. The group had 2 girls in matching outfits. They both had bibs on their back that read "Help us get to Boston 3:35." I found myself laughing and cheering the runners on. I felt great. I was in my element. Jama joined into the group. One of the girls was struggling at mile 15. "Boston Strong!" I encouraged her and shared my best coaching mantra I had to help her.
But it was Jama. She didn't look so good. "Anita, I am hurting." I replied "Jama, you have plenty of time banked, bring it down." I couldn't convince her. So I just said "..make it to 19, my family will be there to cheer for you."
About mile 17, I noticed the group was slowing down. "Run your Own Race Anita."
I slowly moved pass them. I still had my new partner next to me. She too was struggling. Jama fell back.
At mile 19, I saw my family. I got so excited. My body felt strong, my mind even stronger. I was ready for the next 7 miles.
Mile 20, My world changed. All the positivity in the world was not working. I decided to pray. 20 miles, 20 people. "Danielle, Lacey, Jama, my enemies, my family.....Judy from my addiction group,all those running...ahhh." I couldn't focus. My prayers kept getting interrupted by my misery. My quads were burning. My chest was tight and "God, help me, I am soo hot."
I quickly and selfishly hijacked my prayers for others with more prayers for me.
Mile to mile girl. Just get to the next mile. Look at the guy in front of you in the Blue. Keep your eyes on him. Stay with him. He is pacing you.
I felt like someone shot my calf with a bullet. "WHAT was THAT?" I did a quick hop in hopes it was nothing.
It didn't take long for me to discover my calves were cramping. I have never had this during a race. I have seen some of the strongest men drop like infants over cramping. Fear over took me.
The dynamics of this race really changed. My body was failing me. I was hitting every water station, taking my nutrition and still I was NOT in control. I had to change how I planted and lifted my feet, in hopes I could prevent the cramps from completely disabling me. My chest was tight. My heart was beating double time, I knew I had to calm down.
I was running scared.
I could still see the guy in blue. He was about 30 feet in front of me. 2 miles, 1 mile. My paced slowed to what felt like a halt. I had to finish. My calves and quads were screaming. I tried to distract myself with a great power song, but I couldn't even find that.
I looked behind to see if Lacey or Jama had caught up. No one was behind me. My feet hit the track for the last couple hundred meters. I heard my family shouting in the stands.
I crossed the Finish line still upright.
A running friend of mine Alexis, was at the Finish. I was puking so bad she was rubbing my back. "Its OK, let it out, you will feel better." I couldn't stop, it hurt so bad. I was embarrassed and again out of control with my body. She was so compassionate. "I'm Sorry.." I cried. "It's Ok, Let it out, it means you gave everything."
|This is BEFORE the marathon we Ran into each other.|
Then there she was again at the end to take care of me like and Angel.
I DID. No regrets. I RAN my Own Race. I stayed focused. Throughout all the distractions I stayed on target.
|Me, Danielle, Lacey|
|Claudia,Lacey and Me|
NET Time: 3:33:54
Grateful!! Wednesday I will share 10 things I didn't ADD.
You will want to check it out!