Seriously, the past 4 days have been a whirlwind of activity and love and sharing and friendship and running and aches and pains – physical and emotional. And if I tried to write it all down in one post I bet most of you wouldn’t bother reading! So I will be relatively short and sweet.
But first I want to say that my team? Team Shrinking Jeans? They are amazing. Every last one of them. From the ones I knew in person before this whole social media thing happened, to those I met in Texas back in April to those I met for the first time in San Diego. You girls, rawk! It was an honor and privilege to have you on this little team of mine.
So last Friday T and I dropped the kids off at my parents’ house (have I mentioned that my parents are awesome? No? Well they are. Four days with my kids is a lot). Then we headed to the airport. After catching the flight to San Diego. When we got there we waited for Jessica and Nora to land and then headed to the hotel to check in before going to pick up our race packets at the expo. This was the view from our hotel room. Gorgeous!
That evening after finally finding most of each other in the expo, we had a Virtual TNT meet-up/reception where we would meet Coach Joe and Shannon, our team mentor, and Julie, our TNT coordinator. Really great people. Check out the funky blueberry (?) infused cheese that they had at the reception. It was very bizarre but not bad.
Coach Joe and Team Shrinking Jeans
And then we went out for dinner at a Mexican food place in the Gaslamp Quarter. Not bad food, but I think they took advantage of our HUGE table (I think there were about 20 of us) and it took us about 20 minutes to get the bill figured out!
Saturday morning the whole Virtual team had a short run with Coach Joe – about 20 minutes. Essentially it was to get a feel for what race morning would feel like. It was very damp. But I didn’t really have a problem with the humidity. After cleaning up, Christie, Jessica, T and I headed back over to the expo. We wanted to pick up a few more samples and just see if we missed anything on Friday.
Coach Joe and Coach Dean record weekly online videos on a variety of running issues and they wanted to include Team Shrinking Jeans. So Tiffany from Phoenix, Christy, and myself were all part of their videos. Tiffany talked about never having run before beginning this journey. I talked about being a runner and having kids and getting back to running. Christy talked about starting Shrinking Jeans website. All I’m going to say it that there were lots of laughs.
Saturday night was the TNT Inspiration Dinner. I’m not sure how to describe it other than “moving”. There were tears, but it was amazing. Team Shrinking Jeans raised about half of what our the virtual team for San Diego raised!
And then it was off to bed. We were meeting in the lobby of the hotel to catch the bus at 4:15. And, according to Coach Joe, everyone needed enough time to eat and take that all important pre-race poop. Here’s the view from our room at 3:15 am.
So, I’m just going to talk now. The race. My goal for this race was to finish in 2:00 or less. I would have been *thrilled* if I had gotten a time of 1:59:59. Beside myself thrilled. Like dancing across the finish line thrilled. Because all of my training runs, except for 1, I have averaged between 8:30 and 8:45 minute/mile. In order to achieve my goal I needed to run at the most 9:18 minute/mile. I really thought I had this in the bag. I ran the half marathon in Reno on May 2nd with a painful ankle and did it in 2:07. I was *positive* that being at sea level was only going to be better. The temperature and humidity had other things in mind.
When we finally got to the start line, Erin and I headed to our assigned corral. We had both estimated our finish time to be 2 hours. The race started off fine. We started off with a pace of about 8:50, give or take a few seconds. It wasn’t slow, but it was slower than I was used to running. But let me step back a minute. Since the half marathon on May 2nd, I hadn’t run more than 4 miles. I knew that reaching my goal wasn’t going to be easy. I knew that it was going to be hard. But I wasn’t expecting the race I got. The race I got included walking. And more of it than I care to admit. It includes hot spots on the bottom of both feet and my 4th and 5th toes on my right foot feeling like I’d rather just leave them on the side of the road. Yesterday I had 2 purple toenails, but today there is only one. Only time will tell if I will have my first toenail loss.
But I do want to say that throughout this race I was so thankful for being part of Team In Training. I had four different coaches along the course run with me for about a quarter mile each. I must have looked worn out! And I was, but nowhere near giving up. They asked me how I was feeling. If I was feeling okay. Did I need anything. I’ve never run a race where I’ve had people cheer *me* on. These coaches were amazing.
Also, I’m not sure where it was, but it was after the pain had set in, there was a man on the corner with a sign that said “Thank you! From a 13-year survivor” and I almost lost it. The tears welled up, and that kept me going for another mile or so before I took another walk break. When “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant came on my iPod, I started running again, for Allie Scott. I kept trying to bring myself back to why I had chosen to do this half marathon through Team In Training. And that is when I knew that it didn’t matter what my end time was. I wasn’t doing this run for me – although that’s what I was originally thinking.
Honestly, I’m still disappointed in my time, but there were so many factors that I had no control over. And I’ve accepted it. Although, I’m determined to go run in some hotter weather this summer and by the end of the heat be able to run the times I had been running. I am a little addicted to this running thing. I will continue to run. I will continue to enter races. I will continue to be the runner I am. And next year? If somehow Team Shrinking Jeans ends back up in San Diego, I will be better prepared either in a realistic time or more realistic expectations.
Thank you to everyone who supported me on this journey. Your support has meant the world to me. I’m looking to take a little break to let my ankle and body heal from the stress of training. I am looking forward to beginning my training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, but I will be taking the rest of June off from “official training”. Maybe a few short miles here and there. I’ll probably be hitting the pool and the stationary bike in the meantime.