Ok, now back to the best part of my race recap… The actual race!!!
My alarm went off at 3:15 am for the second morning in a row… BRUTAL. I went to bed nice and early though, so I wasn’t very tired. I got all dressed, ate my oatmeal, brushed my teeth, and we were out the door by just after 4.
We arrived at the race start with plenty of time to porta it up… only problem was that I didn’t need to go. What the heck. Major pre-race uh-oh moment. I didn’t even need to pee. This made me a little nervous, but I figured if I had to stop during the race then I had to stop… no big deal.
We got in our corral and took more pictures. Before we knew it, it was time to go!
We started running, and I couldn’t quite get a feel for if it was going to be a good running day or not. I felt fine enough, so I just went with it. I was lucky enough to be able to run the first 4 miles with my MIL and her running BFF. They ran the full mary, so we ran together until the split. The first 4 miles flew by incredibly too fast. We were doing a great job hitting pretty dang perfect splits. Each mile was somewhere between 11:15 and 11:30 or so. We chatted, took in the scenery, and sang our hearts out to “Fat Bottomed Girls.” That song is my theme song, so having one of the bands play it on the course seemed like a fantastic sign to me. Reluctantly, I had to say goodbye all too soon to some of my fav running peeps. We hugged, said our “good lucks” and our “love yous” and they were gone.
That is when I had to face my worst enemy… the 163 freeway slant. Last year, this part of the race was pretty brutal. It was hard to find a place on the road that wasn't tweaking my ankles from the road being slanted. This all happened while facing an uphill climb. This year, I had another interesting twist… my back. My back had been feeling 100% for the days leading up to the race. Even the first 4 miles felt perfect. As soon as I hit the incline and slant on the 163, it was a whole different story. I started getting sharp shooting pains in my upper back. I couldn't believe what was happening. I felt fine and then all of a sudden I was in so much pain that I really did not think I was going to be able to finish the race. I was only at mile 5. Another 8.1 miles just did not seem possible. I started walking…
Walking helped ease the pain slightly. I took this time to eat some sport beans and drink some Nuun. After refueling, I tried to run again to no avail. I was in SO much pain. I decided just to keep walking until I made it to the top of the hill. After I made it to the top, I would try to run for .25 miles and see how my back felt. Finally, I made my way to the top of the hill and started running. Amazingly enough, as soon as I started running downhill I felt better. I could still feel my back, but it was tolerable. That was the glimmer of hope I needed in order to finish the race. Instead of only running for .25 miles. I ran the next 1.5 miles without stopping. I only stopped to walk because I faced another hill. I decided to play it safe and walk the hill. I repeated this process for most of the rest of the race.
Around mile 8.5, the most fabulous woman ever gave me an Otter Pop. I felt like I was 5 again. It wasn't hot out or anything (in fact it was the most ideal running conditions ever), but that popsicle tasted like perfection. It gave me the push I needed to keep running until mile 9.5 because that is where hubs would be waiting. I have never had someone waiting in the middle of the course before. I have only had them waiting at the end. Knowing he would be there was honestly the best thing ever. I kept telling myself to keep pushing and that I would be seeing him soon. So, push I did. I started to turn the corner onto Morena Blvd, and without fail he was right there! I literally sprinted over to him when I saw him. I was so incredibly excited. I only stopped for a few seconds. I said hi and that I was tired but doing okay. Actually, I think my exact words were "I'm dyinggggg." No, I'm not dramatic at all.
All too soon, I said goodbye and set out to finish my last 3.something miles. I knew that very soon I would be approaching the absolute mind f*#% that is the Morena Blvd. out and back. I tried to prepare myself, but if you follow me on Twitter, you know what happened…
Without fail… you guys had my back.
Have I mentioned how much I love the running community?!
At this point, my legs, hips, and calves were sore, but I was SO close to being done. I continued doing a run/walk thing and FINALLY I made it through the death trap that is Morena Blvd. I was able to pick it up a notch at this point. I knew I had only a little over a mile and a half left. I did some mental math and knew I had a PR in the bag if I kept chugging along. I couldn’t believe this was still possible after the back fiasco that I faced at mile 5. Seeing this reality helped me push harder.
Before I knew it, I was running into the finishing chute. Only .1 miles to go! I heard my FIL yell my name. I turned and waved like a madwoman. I was almost done! I pushed as hard as I could. I officially crossed the finish line in 2:44. A 1 minute PR! I did it! I couldn’t believe that I was actually able to finish!
I honestly have never been so proud of myself. I was even more proud after this race than my very first half marathon. I truly thought I was going to have to quit at mile 5. The pain was unbearable. The running gods were on my side though. They had some mercy on me and eased the pain in my back enough to not only let me finish, but get a PR!
BEST. RACE. EVER!