This race has been on the books for me since last year. This was my “prep” half mary for the TNT half in San Diego last June. I PR’d this course last year by smoking every single other half I’ve done. I finished last year’s in 2:07:10. This year? 2:05:59.
But here’s the story. Because it was a fabulous day. Months ago I told Beki she should come run this race with me. It’s cheap for a half – only $45. She ended up registering. Then since Ashley lives a couple hours away, I mentioned that she should join us. And she did. So not only did I get to PR this race, I got to do it with mah girls. They were both originally planning on coming out Saturday, but I convinced them they should come out Friday. So Friday evening a couple hours a part Ashley and Beki showed up at my house. I was so excited that they were finally here. That race weekend was here. I’ve needed a race desperately. I know what 13.1 feels like. But since running Disney in January I’ve had a difficult time really pushing myself on my long runs.
After a late-ish evening up chatting, we hit the hay. Saturday mornings are always a little crazy between all the kid stuff we have going on. Luckily my parents were helping out on some of the picking up so we could head to Reno to pick up our race packets. Plus, I have a truck. It seats 5. Me, my 3 kids, and Beki and Ashley wouldn’t all fit. T had drill, so using him for help was out. While at the expo, Bari tweeted that we had yet to take a picture of the three of us.
Oh! Beki and I also threw our names into a raffle for a free group entry fee for the inaugural Napa Ragnar Relay. After our names were thrown in, I decided I should ask the date. It just so happens its the 16th and 17th of September. Uhm, I’m signed up for Tough Mudder on the 17th. Does that mean I’ve just jinxed it and now one of us will get picked?
So after expo-ing it, where we got a pink race shirt, (seriously? Pink? Why pink, people? I don’t like pink!) we headed over to the main running store in Reno to see if they had something warm for Beki to wear as she was feeling awfully cold for our spring days here in Northern Nevada. After torturing Sass, we headed home where I picked up the kids from my parents house, came home, and made some spaghetti sauce for our dinner. We went to bed later than we probably should have for the 4:30 wake-up call, and I had the worst time falling asleep. I know I saw 11:30 if not 12:00 on the clock. When my alarm went off at 4:30, I cringed but dragged myself out of bed.
I got up, ate my normal breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats and a cup of coffee figuring I had a couple hours before the race actually started and could get lots of bathroom breaks in if needed. At 5:30 we headed out the door. It was exciting to be driving up to Reno with Beki and Ashley. Honestly? I didn’t know how the run would go with all three of us. We never really talked about sticking together and we never really said what our goals were to each other. I would have loved to have run the whole way with one or both of them, but I knew that I didn’t want to be held back if I was feeling awesome and I knew if I had a crappy run, I wouldn’t want to hold either one of them back if I had a crappy run either.
We got to downtown Reno around 6:20 and made the short walk to the start line and snapped a few pictures pre race.
Didn’t quite work.
So the race. There were so many more people this year than last year. The good part? They had chip timing. The bad part? Because they did chip timing, they didn’t, for some weird reason, have a clock at the start/finish line. This annoyed the heck out of me when I was coming in to the finish line. I like to watch the clock and really push myself.
Anyway, the gun went off and it took 20 seconds for everyone to get going so we could break into a trot and start running. I don’t mind this so much as it makes me start slowly for the first mile and I don’t go out too fast. For the first mile or so Ashley and I were side by side. I didn’t remember when Beki disappeared from my sights. I was feeling pretty good and cruising along. After a bit, Ashley pulled away and I followed her from about 30 feet back for quite a while. I was carrying nuun and some honey stinger chews and around mile 4 I thought I probably should take something. I sipped at my nuun and took a couple of chews but about 10 minutes later I was regretting it. My stomach just felt weird. Luckily nothing came of it. Around mile 4.5 mile I caught up to Beki. It surprised me that she was ahead of me, I for sure thought she was behind me somewhere. Come to find out she hates the crowdedness at the beginning of a race and took off fast to get to a point where the crowds began to dissipate. We ended up shadowing each other until around mile 11.5.
But back to my race. It’s weird to run the same race twice because what you remember from the first time you run a race to the second time is different. I remembered the path, but I was trying to think back to how I felt at different points in the race last year. I remembered the exact spot my ankle flipped out on me and I slowed down. And I remember the conversations I had in my head last year about wondering whether I should finish the race or drop out because I didn’t want to hurt myself so I couldn’t run in San Diego. This time? I wasn’t worried about hurting myself. My next planned race isn’t until September, and then it’s Tough Mudder, not actually a race. So I was willing to push through some of the fatigue and discomfort I was having. Ever since training for Disney I’ve had issues with my piriformis (deep muscle in your butt) on the right. Around mile 11 I started to feel the twinges. And I ignored them and pressed on. I was definitely tired by this point. I stopped to walk and get a drink around mile 12 knowing that I was so close to the finish, but I took 10 seconds for that. As I was getting my drink a group of ladies ran past me and one said “you’re almost there, keep going!” She was being supportive but it annoyed me at that point. I finally saw the final turn and just kept putting one foot in front of the next. I was mulling the idea of my final sprint to the finish line. Would I have enough to give?
I remember that final stretch being shorter, so with one lady about 10 yards in front of me, and a group of about 5 ladies 10 yards in front of her, I knew that I couldn’t push too fast or I wouldn’t have enough to make it to the finish line. So when I was about 2 blocks from the finish line, I started to pick up my pace. Could I hold out? Damn, my piriformis hurts! I can do this. Can I do this? The last 100 yards I was in a full out sprint and passed at least 4 of the runners in front of me. When I was about 20 yards from the finish line I heard someone call out from the sidelines, “Way to kick it!” And that made me smile.
At this point I didn’t want to stop running. I have the hardest time with going from running so fast to the crowd at the finish line which makes me come to a complete stop. So after I got my medal I went and grabbed an apple, granola bar, and a bottle of water and headed over to our meeting point. Both Ashley and Beki were there. I hadn’t seen Beki pass me after she fell back at mile 11.5, so I was just figured that I was so in my own head that I didn’t see her pass.
It turned out we all crossed the finish line within 2-1/2 minutes of each other. I am so proud of my girls. They both came from basically sea level and RAWKED this race. I PR’d it by 1:11. Which I am thrilled with. I pushed and was rewarded.
So here I sit today, worn out and happy. A little sore, but not painful. *Nothing* like how I felt after Disney. I’m still amazed by what training does for you. This 13.1 at an average pace of 9:40 m/m was hard. I ran Disney at an average pace of 11:00 m/m. Training is amazing. There is no way I could comfortably go out and run 18-20 miles today. But I know that if I train properly for a race, I will finish and feel good – relatively speaking. There is a phrase in the running world (probably in the tri world too) that you have to “trust your training”. There are no truer words spoken.
This will be an annual run for me. It’s close and it’s cheap. I hope next year Ashley and Beki will come back out and join me again for it. And anyone else who wants to come is more than welcome too!