I didn't make my goal time of running faster than my first race, but a lot of factors contributed to that, and it was sort of an arbitrary goal, so I'm pretty pleased with my medal.
Why It Might Have Been Harder:
-My carb-load. Friday night I just ate a bagel and soymilk, garlic break and three slices of pizza for lunch. In 2011, you could have fed a small village with the amount of food I ate pre-race day. But I also battled heartburn for the first ten miles of the run, so I was trying to avoid that. Still, a bagel is not really dinner if you aren't running a marathon in the AM.
-I got five hours of sleep. Had to leave to drive to the bus which would shuttle me to the start at 4 AM.
-This course was boring. The first few miles were gorgeous AZ desert landscape. I was down with that. Then, we were on plain, vacant mainstreets forever. There were only water stations every other mile and very few supporters in between. Triple boring, I was alone with my thoughts for over five hours. No pump up jams, no soothing songs. I opted not to have any headphones or music because
-It rained. I was grateful that it wasn't raining pre-race where there was no where to be covered and it was cold and windy. The clouds hovered right until, I kid you not, five minutes before start time. I had already ditched my emergency trash bag to cover me, so all I had left was to turn my back to the wind and get pelted. There was a police car near by, so I crouched behind the exhaust pipe to stay warm and a little dry. That's right I was so cold I OPTED to inhale car fumes before running 26.2 miles.
-Luckily the rain stopped after less than an hour, but by that time I was already soaked and running in dripping clothes.
-I've only been training since December 21st. That's not typically enough time to make the magic happen, but I scrunched together the workout schedule, and it was just fine.
-Because I had pretty strong conviction for the past two months about my goal time, for the first half of the race, I was doin' great despite everything listed above. My half-marathon time was pretty solid.
-Then, when I realized I was really struggling to keep up my goal I asked myself how bad it would really be if I didn't make it. Answer: not that bad. I slowed down, I didn't push too hard, and I think the recovery process is going to be much easier on me. It's good to be kind to yourself.
-Bisque was at the finish line for me. This knowledge helped me immensely. Like I said, this race was boring and mental taxing. I imagined hugging my bf probably a thousand times in 26 miles. He's been such a support to me--drove to the race at 4 AM, always text pepped me up during long training runs, and finally, standin' right there as I ran through the end.
-Watching House of Cards and eating Oreos for the whole afternoon.
-CRAZY THING. 90 minutes before start I'm waiting in the cold at the top of a mountain with a thousand other runners and I sit down on a log next to two women. We don't speak for forty minutes and then when another woman sits near us she asks where we're all from. The girl on my right says California and when I look at her face I realize I went to college with her! We went to a liberal arts school of 500 students. In Illinois. But we both were running the same marathon in Arizona. And out of a thousand people to sit next to, I sat next to her. WHAT!
All in all, good race, y'all.