I said this would go down as a memorable race, and I was right. All week long me and my other runner buddies had our eyes focused on the weather forecast for raceday. Every day the forecast seemed to worsen. By Friday, I had given up hoping that either it would just be cold or it would just be rainy but not both. I just decided, whatever happens, I still have to run in it and so does everyone else. So if I sucked due to the weather, then so would everyone else. My biggest issue then was what to wear. Turned out that it didn't matter what you wore, the result would be the same. You would end up soaking wet. Oh and there was one more added twist. I had a cold. I took some Dayquil before I left and hoped it didn't have an adverse effect on me later.
I had planned a meetup with some fellow runners from dailymile, but that plan fell through when I dropped my phone in water trying to catch the train. Had no way to communicate with them. I did however bump into my running sibling Keishabadger and friend Ros from the DRC before the start in the bag drop area. We hung around in there long enough before security kicked us out into the cold. As I pushed my way into my assigned corral, I started reflecting back on all of the training I had for this run. Every race I have run I have PR'ed thus far. I was hoping I would do the same this time.
One hobby of mine is DJing. I'm a part time mobile DJ and a DJ on an internet radio station. So I have the capability and equipment to mix songs and record them as MP3s. Two days before, I took songs that I had run to the beat to at race pace and made a two hour long mix with them. I wanted to test to see if I plugged them in to my iPod, would I stay on pace running to the beat of songs playing at 85 BPM. Of course I knew I would have to vary on hills, etc.
Out of the gate, everything I was worried about I had thrown it out. Weather, apparel, PR'ing... I just decided to go with my normal race strategy and everything would work itself out.
Mile 3. I finally got into my groove. The low 40 degree temp was not bothering me at all. At that point the rain had stopped from earlier as it had been raining all night long. One of the common mistakes is starting out too fast. I wanted to make sure that I didn't do so, however I still got caught up with people passing me and trying to keep up with them. I looked down and I was at a 8:21 pace. Too freaking fast. My "red line" according to my trainer was about 8:30 and I was to stay under that or I would blow up. I shortened my step a little but still kept to the beat of my iPod.
Mile 5. Here comes the rain. For a few minutes it was really pouring down. All I could think of is the NFL, being a huge football fan. Many NFL games are played in unfavorable weather conditions but the players tough it out. I should do the same. The rain didn't really slow me down, I was still doing about an 8:32 pace, however my shoes were wet. That really irked me. It was almost impossible to not step in a puddle. Still on beat.
Mile 6.5 Halfway point. The turn on Beverly St was the first real hill that I encountered. Training with the DRC running in the neighborhoods surrounding White Rock Lake gave me plenty hill practice. I kind of felt for the full marathoners because their course took them straight to that area. After I made that hill my "bitch", I was right back on beat. Still a steady 8:32-8:34 pace. I knew if I kept this up I would easily PR. I was already thinking about what I was going to post online in my race report. That's what I get for being overconfident.
Mile 8-10. I could feel my calves fatiguing. I really didn't understand this because I had just run a 15 miler two weeks before with no leg problem. I had run a 20 miler on my own and several other long runs over 13 miles throughout the year. I was well hydrated and electrolyted up. What was happening was very reminiscent to my first half marathon and the course was pretty similar and I had the same calf issues at the same spot.
Mile 12 1/2. I could feel the cramp coming in my left calf. So i reluctantly stopped and stretched out my calf for about a minute and a half. I didn't know it would have such a drastic affect on my total time. I got going and I thought I would be fine for the remaining 0.6 miles.
Mile 13. With only 0.1 miles to go (my clock said 13.1 already), the cramp came. I had to stop or else risk falling or or crawling into the finish line. Took me a minute to massage it out. I looked down and my clock had 1:53 and some change. I knew my PR was 1:55:23 and there was no way I was going to lose the opportunity to beat it. So I hopped the last few 100 feet or so to the finish line. Beat my previous PR by 1:02. That day I was only good for 13.1 miles. Or in this case 13.2 as it was really measured.
I walked into the finishing area, happy to be done with my 3rd half and picked up my medal. While walking to the beat.