I came, I saw, I conquered.
2013 Richmond Marathon
Admittedly, I didn’t conquer the marathon in quite the fashion I was hoping. But, I knocked almost five minutes off my previous marathon time and ran a Boston Qualifier, finishing in 3:31:26.
Thanks again to everyone who sent love, support, and encouragement via comment, email, Twitter, Facebook, ESP, etc. It meant so much to me!
On Wednesday I’m going to write about my overall experience and highlight the positive aspects of the race. Today I’m going to get the not-so-positive parts out of the way.
[Read: Nicole is going to bitch & moan.]
Thanks for bearing with me!
While I’m THRILLED with a Boston Qualifying time and PR, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t crack 3:30 or get closer to my A goal. Given my kick-ass training cycle, I felt capable of running a faster race.
But you never know what’s going to happen on race day.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
After stalking the weather all week, we watched it change from perfect conditions to chance of rain to torrential downpour Saturday morning. By the time the marathon started at 8 a.m., the worst of the weather was through, but it still rained on and off for the first two hours of the race.
I was prepared for the weather and wore a light running jacket for the first 12 miles of the race. I kept it on as long as possible because I wanted to stay warm and dry. Of course, not long after I ditched my jacket, it started raining again.
But the weather wasn’t really problematic during the race. It was more problematic before the race.
Even though my husband and I gave ourselves plenty of time to get downtown, we got stuck in traffic. Horrible, horrible traffic. Mostly caused by long lines of cars trying to get into the parking garages near the start.
A Not-So-Auspicious Start
We didn’t find a parking spot until 30 minutes before the start. Needless to say, we were freaking out. Especially since we had to hoof it 8 blocks to the starting line.
We got to the starting area with about 15 minutes to spare and immediately got in line for the port-a-potties. As we were waiting, we heard the half-marathon waves going off. They were running behind schedule, so we thought we had a few extra minutes. Surely they’d delay the start of the marathon to space things out. Right?
Ummmm, no. But we didn’t know that yet.
When we came out of the port-a-potties, everyone had disappeared. We started walking over to the start area, but we didn’t hear any announcements.
We started to make our way up the street, quickly realizing we were at the very back of the pack. We were supposed to be in Wave 1, at the front of the race.
At this point, we weren’t fully panicked yet. We thought we had a few minutes to spare since we hadn’t heard any announcements. We jumped on the sidewalk, so we could move faster and get closer to the front.
Then the realization hit us. The race had already started.
[Insert string of expletives and ramp to FULL panic mode!]
We jumped the barricade and about 20 feet later crossed the starting mat. At a walk. We never even saw the starting banner.
I’m pretty sure an F-bomb (or six) left my mouth.
And like that, we were off. But not really. Because we were stuck behind five million people who were moving WAY slower than we wanted to be.
To say this was not how I envisioned the start of my race is the understatement of the year.
Please Stand By. I’m Experiencing Technical Difficulties
Did I mention that I didn’t get my watch started? Yeah, I thought I hit the start button as soon as we crossed the mat. Thankfully I looked down about 50 seconds later and realized it hadn’t started.
So, I had that going for me too.
I concentrated on bobbing and weaving through the crowd. At a few points, I jumped onto the sidewalk to find some open real estate.
The first three miles were an absolute blur.
A sea of bodies. A rush of adrenaline. A flood of emotions.
Of biblical proportions.
Looking back, I wish I’d taken a moment to calm myself down. I was so desperate to get out of the crowd and on pace that I expended a metric ton of physical and mental energy.
I’ll give you the mile-by-mile on Wednesday. Sneak peek: I never really recovered and didn’t feel comfortable the entire race.
Humbled & Grateful
When I finally crossed the finish line, Bean and Monkey were waiting just beyond the barricaded zone.
Seeing their excited faces and sweeping them up into the sweaty bear hugs I’d promised was the best part of my day.
They didn’t care that I hadn’t reached my A goal. They just cared that I was with them again.
And, at that moment, that’s all I cared about too.
I had just finished my third marathon in a Boston-qualifying PR. I had nothing to feel ashamed or upset about. I remembered my primary goal for the race: to run and finish with a grateful heart.
Mission accomplished. Veni, Vidi, Vici.
Read the full recap, including the uplifting moment at mile 21 that kept me going!
Have you ever had a big race or event turn out differently than you expected? What did you learn from the experience?