Yesterday I came home giddy with excitement because I ran 26 miles and brought home a really nice beer mug which I couldn’t wait to fill up with some Golden Road brew.
I haven’t made it to the start line of a race in quite a while, and the last marathon I ran was a veritable disaster with the exclusion of great company during the weekend traveling to the start and home from the finish.
Obviously I spent the winter training for Boston, and due to illness, never lined up to race it.
I was in top condition, probably in the best shape of my life, and yet I did not lace up my shoes on the day that mattered.
So when I returned home, all I wanted to do was BQ again so that I didn’t feel like my resulting deferment was stealing a spot from a genuine 2012 qualifier. (And since the qualifying times are lower this year, and because you really need to be about 10 minutes under that time to be guaranteed a spot, my goal was to come in around 3:35).
The problem, of course, was that the illness that kept me from racing lingered for another few weeks upon my return, so that my training runs were semi-successful at best.
I looked into a few different races and chose The Pasadena Marathon because the date seemed just about right for allowing me an extra week to get healthy.
Here is where we get to the real problem with this decision:
First of all, the weather was not predicted to cooperate (déjà vu anyone?). Eighty-four degrees is far ideal marathon-running temperature of say, 50 degrees. Obviously.
Secondly, the course map looked like this.
I suffered a few days of anxiety as a result, but by Saturday afternoon, I felt more like this:
Bring. It. On.
So I woke up Sunday morning excited to race, having spent Saturday carbo-loading and packing all the right equipment for a hot race day.
I arrived to the race way too early, so I ended up hanging out in my car for 45 minutes stalking the competition as they stumbled out of their cars and walked towards the start.
The atmosphere at the race fair was contagious.
I recognized a lot of the runners that I see at our local running shoe store and around town training.
If you followed my training for Boston or have read my training posts, both the girl that I raced in a training run and the 50-something professor-looking dude were racing as well. More on that later.
But back to the start.
Having a well-organized and friendly atmosphere at the start was a huge boost for me, as the Nike Women’s marathon starting area fiasco sucked the wind right out of my sails last October.
We lined up in the starting corrals right on schedule, and I made a concerted effort to get close to the front. The announcer gave us plenty of intermittent time updates and right at 6:30 a.m., we took off.
This is when I nearly burst into tears.
I felt great. I was not sick. I was not stuck behind a bunch of walkers.
I knew this race was going to be amazing no matter how hot it got, or how high the hills rose up ahead of me.
To be continued…