I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and... I believe in miracles. ~Audrey Hepburn
I came heart-breakingly close to my goal time of the day, but didn't quite get there. 2:25:48
The long of it:
The week leading up to the Mini was hit or miss at best. Coming off a stressful, feel sorry for myself and be lazy week, I was feeling pretty uncertain about the race. I know that my training had been inconsistent, with hi's and lo's like none other, and there's no one to blame but myself for that.
With life, and the course, and my training in mind, the coach and I agreed on a sub-2:25 goal for the race. Not a lifetime PR, but definitely a PR for the year. It seemed realistic with just enough of a challenge to keep me going and focused.
Despite everything, I was excited about the race. It felt like everyone I knew was descending upon Madison for the occasion, and I was excited to see so many of my running pals. Also, the weather was forecasted to be undeniably perfect for race day. However things officially shook out I knew it was going to be a good weekend.
Friday afternoon we pedaled to the expo to pick up my packet. I figured it was a good way to get my legs moving and do a little pre-race XT without exerting myself, which I try not to do. :) And obviously since I rolled my bike all of 12m that afternoon a pre-dinner nap was needed. Post-nap it was time to get my eat on with Renee and a dozen or so other online running peeps. It was like Twitter threw up at Tutto Pasta. Seriously. At one point someone blurted out that almost their entire feed was at the table. For reals. With the exception of W, everyone at the table has become my friend through Twitter first, IRL second. Random but true.
Since someone refused to take me for post-dinner fro-yo, there was nothing left to do but go home and get ready for the race. Outfit selected (and second guessed), gear checked (and re-checked), nails painted, eggs boiled (thanks Renee!!), off to bed.
Obligatory pre-race family photo
My alarm went off way too early the next morning and it was time to get up and get moving. I had my typically race day panic over my outfit. Would I be too cold? Would I be uncomfortable? Was I too bloated to wear X, Y or Z? And actually, yes, I was feeling too bloated and too cold to wear the originally selected (and instagramed) tank top, so I sub'ed in the red one.
We headed down to the Memorial Union to get the show started. I met Jen, my running buddy for the day, on the steps of the Union and with 10mins til to go time we made out way down to the start corrals. Earlier in the week I had bullied Jen into agreeing to we had decided on a 2:25 goal time. We typically run pretty similar times, and were both wrestling with our own running pains, so we thought this was a good, attainable, goal to strive for. The first corral, aka the speedsters, were off and we slowly creeped our way towards the start...
Up Langdon, down Wisconsin, around the square and down State. The first few miles ticked by nicely. The miles were flat (or downhill) and the temperature was gorgeous! We listed to our music and chatted occasionally...and by chatted I mean I likely annoyed the hell out of her by random up beat drivel and inability to do simple math. We headed inot the Arb knowing that this was where the race was going to start to get tough. And hilly. We kept moving and I kept Jen entertained with my inability to do simple math.
Somewhere around mile 7 or so, Jen's IT band started to rear its ugly head and she wasn't feeling up to the pace we were keeping, and we parted ways. She was still set for a strong 2:30 finish, which was her original goal, so things were looking ok for both of us. Lonely, but ok.
I kept putting one foot in front of the other telling myself to dig deep and do this. Shortly after the Arb we headed down Commonwealth and I distracted myself by trying to find one of my friend's house. Having only been there once I thought I would recognize it when I saw it, btu wasn't really sure what I was looking for. Also, I didn't want to be puttering along if they were outside, so I had to keep moving down the street. When I came up to there house they were having a breakfast running party--pancakes, bacon, and so on. I gave a shout out to them and got heckled in return, which was just what I needed to push through that little bit of the run.
At the 5k mark I was still feeling surprisingly strong. I knew I was going to have to dig deep to make my 2:25 goal, but that it was still well within the possibility. Just. Keep. Running. Around mile 11 I realized that my pace was slooowing and that I was going to have to keep a ~10-min mile pace to finish under 2:25. Well, shit. I tried to dig deep and finish strong. But the wheels were starting to fall off. At about a mile and half we hit the packed gravel portion of the Laskeshore path and it was ever so slightly uphill. This was around the point I knew I didn't have what it would take to meet my goal that day, but dammit, I was going to run ever last step of that race if it killed me.
I did run every last step of the race. Complete with finish line kick. And no, it did not kill me. The little hill .1m from the finish almost did me in, but I made it. 2:25:48. So close.
At the finish line I found W, toting around Burton in a doggy-bjorne, and my work bestie Gayle! I handed thrust all my sweaty stuff and food at them so I could snag a finish line photo in the giant terrace chair, and while I was waiting guess who came strolling in? Jen! She finished just a few minutes after me and we snagged the obligatory finish line pic together.
We meandered our way down to the terrace, where we saw Joel and Lisa (who PR'd--congrats!!), grabbed our finisher cups and sodas (beer did NOT sound good yet), and found a seat. After we collected ourselves a bit we went to reconvene with the running group and swap running tales by the lake.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.