Race Report: Emerald City Quarter Marathon (and a new PR)

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start….(nothing like a little Sound of Music to start off your Tuesday, right??)

Friday turned into impromptu party night :-\ Yeah, I wasn’t expecting it either. I knew I had a race on Sunday, yet I was sucked in by fun people, a holiday weekend and beers. A couple beers after work turned into a reception on campus followed by an after party in downtown. Blargh. Let’s just say Saturday had one theme – HYDRATION. I drank lots of water, some Gatorade and laid low. Hubby deemed it cool enough outside to finally make a pot of chili, so my carb up dinner the night before the race was veggie chili over brown rice. Yummo. Oh – and a slice of jalapeno cornbread.

Sunday morning – I’m up at 5:00am to get dressed and brew some coffee. I step outside to feel the temps. Ummmm, COLD. It was 45 degrees Fahrenheit outside. 45? That’s a good 20 degrees cooler than anything I have run in for nearly 5 months. I also knew though that mid to high 40s are my favorite temps to run in. Sure it’s chilly for the first few minutes, but then you warm up and it feels great.

I got to the race site about 45 minutes prior to start time. I jogged over to the venue start area and snagged a port-a-john before the lines grew. Did my bizness and hauled straight back to the car. I played on the interwebs and soaked up a few more minutes of heat. With about 15 minutes left until start time, I ditched the jacket and headed over to the start line. For one of the first times, I actually did a quick jog before the race started. For some of you veteran runners, this may seem crazy to you – “for the FIRST time?” Yes, yes. I haven’t ever had that much confidence in my runs, so I always saved up any energy I had so I didn’t die on the course. Sunday though, I knew I needed to get warmed up. I took the opportunity to jog about a tenth a mile out and back – got my temp up, and I found a place in the start chute.

Here was my plan: start with the 11 min/mile pace group, speed up a bit then ensure that the 10 min/mile pace group sign was never out of sight. That way I wouldn’t go out too fast but I knew what my goal would be in catching up. I stuck to this. Started out a bit slow when the traffic was thick, then I started to kick it up. I got in front of the 11 minute pace group about a half mile in and just kept pushing it a bit more. The course was winding and flat – but pretty. Farmland, pumpkin patch, horses running in a field, geese flying overhead. A beautiful morning for a run. About 3.5 or 4 miles in, the group split: quarter marathon to the left, half marathon to the right. Let me tell you, I was thrilled to be going left! Ha! It was at this point we entered Glacier Ridge Metro Park. This glacier must have just smooshed everything because that place was flatter than the gulf coast of Texas!

It is in this park though that I PASSED the 10 minute per mile pacers. I passed them. I know – I can’t believe it either!!! I knew I only had a couple miles or so to go, so I kept pushing it. I said to myself over and over, “You have felt worse in a workout and you don’t feel anything like that right now. This is not supposed to feel great, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. You are supposed to push yourself more than you thought you could.” And I did. I kept encouraging myself, telling my inner critic that I could indeed do this. “The faster you go, the faster it is over. If you do less than 10 minutes per mile, you will be done in less than 20 minutes….” “…less than 15 minutes” (Gu Break) “…less than 10 minutes. Come on, you have got this. You just may pull it out, kid.”

I really had to suck it up that last mile. I could see the turn to head back to the finish and it looked so far away. But I could see it. I could see the flags for the finish chute. I could hear the music pumping. I was so damn close. So I pushed it a bit harder. I ended up in a cluster of about 5 or 6 women with a few hundred yards for the finish. “Get every second off your time, sweetie, push it all now!!!” So I hauled. I hauled as fast as my little leggies could take me. (The pictures from this moment are not going to be flattering, I am sure.) I passed a few of the ladies and saw the finish clock: 1:05:40. Since I started near the middle to back of the pack, I knew I would get some of that time back on my official chip time. But I knew I had it – I just knew I had it.

I got my cool medal, some water, a banana. I stretched a few minutes then headed to the car. Drove home and was greeted by a wonderful breakfast casserole, homefried potatoes and orange juice. Then I started stalking the race website. I wanted to know my final time so badly. Finally, around 3pm that afternoon, I got my wish. Results were posted:

6.55 miles
9:50 average per mile
(I used my "stopwatch" on the iPod for a few of the miles, and I actually clocked one mile at about 9:30)

I finally beat my ceiling of 10 minutes per mile. I absolutely cannot believe it. I am elated. Thrilled. Beyond happy. Holy crap. I can do this. I did this. I did it.

Let’s just say I am still very much on Cloud 9. Well, cloud 9:50 to be exact!!!!!!!


T said...

Okay, that totally rocks - congratulations!!! I've been wondering about the warm-up jog. Seems like a good idea in theory, but I'm so slow that it seems like I warm up on the course. I'll have to try it.

I'm doing a 4m race in a few weeks and you'll be my inspiration for trying to do sub-10s there. (And my sister wants me to do a 2m warm up that day for mileage reasons, so we'll see how it goes...)

liz said...

Congratulations ! Go you !

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats again

M said...

Thanks so much, everyone! I actually keep looking at the race results page to make sure they don't "correct" it! ha! i am in total disbelief!!

And big daddy, i totally thought about you as I was pushing through - I actually said to myself at one point, "Well, if you puke at the end of the race, Big Daddy Diesel may give you a pukie award!" Alas, no pukie this time - but maybe down the road :-)

Ellen said...

Always good to break down your own barriers!