I'm not even really sure that I can wrap my brain around the craziness of this past weekend. still.
When we left on Saturday morning, it was raining. It continued to rain. and rain. and rain. It's a 3 hour or so drive to Cleveland and I'm not even sure who said it first except by the time we got to Cleveland, we had pretty much decided that if everything lined up right, we were going to try and run the full.
Once we got to the expo, we wandered around trying to decide what to do when I stumbled upon this shirt...it was like a sign from God!
We both kind of felt like it was now or never...but we were both worried about the weather because Nicole's App said 100% chance of rain and gusty winds up to 30MPH. hell. no...more like, what the hell, why not?
Cleveland, as far as the city goes, leaves a lot to be desired, and it's not even worth me writing about, and I'm pretty sure it would be detrimental for you to read about it. My one word summary...sketchy.
I was feeling a little nervous, but overall, okay. After my race last week, I knew that this battle was going to hurt, but it was all about my mental attitude and keeping positive. Lucky for us, it was barely sprinkling as we left our hotel and met up with some fellow bloggers for a quick photo session before heading to the start line.
Did I mention that our outfits were EPIC??
And YES we did run in those skirts ALL 26.45 miles!!
So. Much. FUN!
Nicole had mentioned that this course was super flat, and after a quick national anthem, we were off.
Mile 1: Flat my ass. The first mile was completely uphill. Long gradual inclines. SUCK! I was thinking, oh hell, this is going to be a long race. Quickly changing my mental game to the saying that I saw last week: What lies ahead of me is nothing compared to what lies within me. I knew I had to stay positive or I would surely be sunk.
I decided this week I would try and run a little faster in the beginning and slow up as I need to towards the end, so I tried to keep between 10-10:30 min pace for as long as I could, then slowly decrease my pace as I needed too.
1 09:58 2 09:45 3 09:43 4 10:18 5 09:59 6 10:27 7 10:11 8 10:13 9 10:35
And I was feeling surprisingly good. I was comfortable. My legs felt a little tight, but nothing terrible. I felt confident about my pace and was joking with people who were around me. AND I got A LOT of comments on my skirt which made me SMILE!! Around mile 10 I knew I should slow down a little, and was a little tired...but then realized I was about to break my half marathon PR if I kept moving...it was kind of surreal. I saw Jen at mile 12 and got my gatorbomb (THANK YOU!!) to carry with me.
I'm seriously all smiles at this point!
My plan was to take it at 21. Jen said that Nicole was right ahead of me (really??) and that she was not doing well. I figured my phone would be ringing any second. I turned the corner and my phone rang. I answered it..."I'm totally that crazy girl who talks on the phone while running a race, right??"
At that point, Nicole waited a minute for me to catch up and I was SO SO happy to see her:) I know she was really hurting, but we usually don't get to run in races together because she is so speedy! We did a little walk/running and I tried to help take her mind of her foot.
10 10:57 11 11:17 12 11:04 13 10:54 14 11:52 15 12:01 16 12:41 17 13:03
At mile 17 we stopped at a med tent and I thought I was about to lose Nicole. Somehow, she dug deep and we kept going. I was totally preparing myself mentally for the wall that usually comes around mile 18. Mile 18 came...and went, as did 19 and 20. I felt amazing. Nicole hooked up with a pace group and I kept chugging away...at 20.5 I was a little tired, but still couldn't believe how great of time I was making. I remember seeing a timing clock on the course and it said maybe a little over 3 hours at 19 miles...it started to sink in that I was going to beat my time from last week as long as I keep moving. We were on a park path, then along the lake...it was all somewhat surreal. I can't even really explain what was going on except I felt almost invincible.
18 11:36 19 11:46 20 12:19 21 11:30 22 12:35 23 12:29 24 12:44 25 12:30
I also found some of the most amazing cheerleaders who kept riding between Nicole and I and passing messages back and forth. I stopped at mile 24 for just a second to snap this picture! I don't even know this chic's name, but you are lucky is she shows up at a race you are running!!
At mile 24 I kept telling myself, 8 laps, it's 8 laps. I have to keep moving...no time for walking. I had a serious mental battle whether I really wanted to finish under 5 hours or just be happy that I'm finishing faster than I did last week. At mile 25 I got a burst of energy and tried to pick up the pace...but I did it a little too soon because I was feeling so tired with about .7 of a mile left to run. But I knew I wasn't going to settle for not making the 5 hour cut off...I HAD TO KEEP MOVING!!!
26 12:17 27 10:32
The last mile was terrible. It started raining and the wind was so gusty!! When I saw the finish line (what's up with the 3 different timing strips people??) I burst into tears because I couldn't believe that I had just managed to run that far AGAIN, this time 20 minutes faster. It was like a sweet redemption from Long Beach. And Nicole was standing right there at the finish waiting for me!!!
Best. Day. Ever.
(Minus the fact that they ran out of solar blankets, it was freezing cold and we had a mile walk back to our hotel. Thank you custodian lady for giving us a trash bag, it was a life saver!!)
This is us shivering but enjoying our chocolate milk, yum!
I was so so excited to get my "official" time via the Internet, but Cleveland never seems to fail in the sketchy area...the chic who switched our bibs, didn't switch mine, so technically, I never ran. And some random 49 year old chic managed to finish at 4:59:36.
I'm hoping they can take care of that stat because I'm SO GEEKED to get signed up for Maniacs!!
Now to find my next race...hmmm...what are you all running this weekend;)