I am so proud to have run this inaugural race. You might remember me talking about how special this race would be for me here. It ended up being such a wonderful experience and I'm so excited to FINALLY tell y'all about it!
We started our journey down south around noon and I stretched out in the very back of my Tahoe. My father drove since he knows the way blindfolded :)
The girls honestly did very well considering it was their first real road trip. Of course Lexi asked "are we there yet?" and Lyla asked "Where are we going?" about 29 times, but otherwise, I think they did great. Whoever invented DVD players in the car is a genius. Either a genius or a parent of 4 year old twins.
We stopped in Leland, MS which is the birthplace of Jim Henson, and also the town that my great-grandparents had their store years ago. They have a cute little museum there and of course the girls had to get some goodies. Lexi got a Miss Piggy doll and Lyla got Abby Cadabby, plus they got to meet a cute old lady who remembered my great-grandparents! I got to take a picture with an enormous Kermit the Frog. My life is complete.
When we got to Greenville, we headed first to the packet pick up and "expo". Being that this was an inaugural race, the expo was pretty small. That's okay though, I did not need anything! We were in and out in no time, except for a failed attempt for the girls to ride some rides in the mall.
Next stop was our hotel, or "Vacation" as the girls called it. It's safe to say my girls need to go on a real vacation soon! We unpacked and unloaded and tested out the bed:
So the room situation...we were supposed to have some sort of suite so that I could have a good quiet night of rest. Um, Holiday Inn Express has a different idea of a suite because basically we had a king size bed and a pull out couch. Yowzers. Anyhoo...
It's become a tradition for me to eat pizza the night before a race or long run so pizza is what I had! I thought it was a really good omen that we were sitting right near Volunteers Drive! We also sat near some identical twin men who were clearly carb loading also. Another good omen?
Then we were off to try and get some sleep. I don't talk about it much, but my girls have some really off sleeping habits. They stay up pretty late and basically wake up when they want. I knew I was in for a rough night of sleep. I kind of forgot to add in my dear Daddy's snoring. Let's just say that Ryan Adams's Cold Roses is good for helping to drown out noise and put you to sleep. Unfortunately, my 4:30 am alarm was completely unnecessary as the girls were awake before then.
So I got myself put together, ate a bagel with almond butter and a cup of coffee, and my father drove me to the bus pick up! This was a point to point race and the start line was actually in Arkansas! How awesome is that?! I met some really cool people on the bus and it helped to calm any anxiety I might have been feeling. We got to the start point at about 7 and the race didn't start until 8 so we had plenty of time to relax. I ate a banana and continued to drink water (something new I've learned throughout that cycle of training). I made it to the porta potties and then I was ready to get my stretch on! I had my foot/ankle taped up pretty well and it was feeling good!
There were no corrals, but they tried to get us lined up based on paces. I hopped in line with the 11:00 minute pacers but secretly hoped to run faster than that. Only time would tell!
We were off! Basically running up the bridge was the only hill in this race so it was not that big of a deal. Plus look at the amazing view of the Mississippi River we got once we reached the top! I think the whole bridge was a couple miles. It was breathtaking.
I felt so strong for the first 6 miles. I kept looking at my miles on my Garmin and I knew I was in good shape for my time goal. Plus, I'd be seeing my parents and girls in no time...or so I thought.
I had set my virtual pacer on my watch to 11:00 because that would keep me between 2:20 and 2:30. So I was completely on point for the first half of the race!
I brought my Honey Stinger chews and ate one or two every couple of miles. This fueling strategy was absolute perfection. No sloshy tummy. No brick tummy. I had my fuel belt and I only took a few sips of water because I was so well hydrated from the day before where I drank 2 Liters of water.
Around mile 7-8, my foot started to hurt. Okay, it was hurting the whole time but it was hurting more at this point. I kept thinking that I'd see my family at any minute and I knew that that would lift my spirits! But I kept running and running, and no family. My father had told me to text him when I turned onto a certain street, and I just had it in my head that this would be around mile 9. Um, try mile 11. That was pretty tough.
You can see that I started to slow down and I was "Behind Pace" on my Garmin. I still knew I had my time goal in sight so I felt good about that. And then before I knew it, I saw my 2 gorgeous girls!
After I saw my parents and the girls, my spirits were lifted. Unfortunately, it did not do much for the pain in my foot, which was creeping up my leg toward my IT band. Eff Me.
All I could do at this point was repeat my mantra over and over:
And it worked. Yes, I slowed down and I was no longer under 11:00, but I was still running and I was not accepting defeat. I even had a little old man spectator tell me he knew I was going to make it. It was so freaking cute!
Apparently I slept my way through the finish line. Thank you awesome race photographer. This is surely one of the worst photos ever.
I MET MY SUB 2:30 GOAL WITH MINUTES TO SPARE!!!! HOLLA AT YOUR GIRL!!!
I was so thrilled to have met my goal, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was bittersweet. What could I have done if I wasn't hurt? Could I have made 2:20? Or even 2:15? I guess we'll just have to wait and see...
I will definitely be doing this race again next year. It was so well organized for the first year, and I can't wait to see where the organizers take it in subsequent years!
Yay for PR's!!!