I thought I had it all figured out... little did I know my first "long race" experience was going to throw me through a loop. I took the advice of my half marathon class friends and laid everything out the night before. I had my hydration belt, spibelt, fuel, bodyglide, and my clothing all laid out on the counter ready to go and my shoes were packed in the car.
After getting all that set, I looked up directions to Bluffton and saw that it said it would take 52 minutes to get there. I decided we would be out the door at 5:45 am to make sure we got there by 7 am. The race started at 7:30, but being a very small town race I was sure that would be enough time. I even got to bed at a reasonable time - around 11 pm. I just knew I was off to a good start.
Hiccup #1: I had pushed lots of water Friday night because I was afraid that I was dehydrated from being outside in the heat for hours. This meant I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked because I had to get up like 3 times to go to the bathroom.
When my alarm went off, I bounded out of bed, took my Imodium, and got myself ready. I went downstairs and gathered my camera and all of my race stuff into a bag so that I would be ready to go for the race. I got hubby up and we got the kids all set and we were out the door. A few minutes late, but I thought we were okay time wise since I had allowed 15-20 minutes buffer.
Hiccup #2: After putting the address in the GPS it said we would not arrive until 7 am, meaning the trip was 15 minutes longer that it should have been. I was livid - how dare google maps give me wrong information. As we got closer we shaved some time off and got to the our destination at like 5 minute until 7. Unfortunately, our destination was the middle of nowhere and the race was no where to be found. The problem? I told hubby the wrong address!
After we realized the problem, we put the new information in the GPS and found we were only 8 miles from where we needed to be, but the drive would take 25 minutes! ACK. That meant I would arrive at 7:26, to a race that started at 7:30. And I didn't even have my shoes on... not to mention I needed to pick up my packet and visit the restroom. In that moment I had a break-down, tears involved. I put petal to the metal and drove faster than I probably should have but I was determined to make it to the race in time. But then, I hit a really annoying gravel road where I couldn't go more than 35 mph or the van started losing traction and fish-tailing. I was panicking, but thankfully the gravel road only lasted 2-3 miles. I managed to pull into Bluffton at 7:15. I parked my car, and took off on the run leaving Tommy to get the kids together and meet me at the start line to take pictures. I think I was at packet pickup at 7:20, luckily as promised it was quick and I headed right to the bathroom. Luckily I was able to multi-task and attach my chip and bib while waiting in line.
Positive Moment #1: Running into "L" who blogs at My Story... Chapter 2 and "C" while waiting in line in the bathroom - seeing them helped calm my frazzled nerves.
After I was done in the bathroom, I threw my hair up in a pony tail and put on my bondiband. Then I quickly applied my body glide and grabbed everything I needed for the race and left my bag with hubby and headed to the start line with "C" and "L."
Hiccup #3: I forgot to bring my ipod - I ALWAYS run with music. I was not sure how on earth I was going to run 10 miles without it?!
Hiccup #4 (and probably the biggest of the day): I forgot to grab my race fuel from my race bag. I was in for a 10 mile with no fuel when I have been fueling twice on this length of run.
At this point I start to have a mini-breakdown while running. I was on the verge of tears thinking that this race was going to be an epic disaster and that there was NO way I was going to be ready for the half in 3 weeks. I somehow managed to talk myself out of it and just kept on running. I had my phone set to tell my my pace every 5 minutes. I was starting to realize at a mile and a half that I went out to fast. It was a constant internal battle to try to slow down. I was trying to pace myself based on people around me - letting people pull ahead of me so I could stay behind them. My pace unfortunately was not slowing down though... I knew I couldn't hold the pace through the end of the race but I just kept trying to keep my mind on putting one foot in front of the other. I was trying to focus my mind on purposely holding back with my running.
Outside of knowing I was struggling with pacing I don't have a ton of recollection of specifics of the race which makes me sad. I do know that I took water at every water station and at a couple I even took two cups. I had planned to take gatorade at around mile 4, but I was running strong and didn't want to stop so I just took the water they had held out and kept trucking. As I was running up to the water station I glanced quickly for gu because the sign said they should have some. I had planned to grab some and take it only if I felt like I needed to because I didn't know how it would settle in my stomach. Unfortunately, they didn't have any that I could see so I wasn't sure what I was going to do.
Around mile 5 or so I started noticing the more elite runners on their way back to the finish line. I tried not to let it bother me and kept on trucking. Unfortunately it was at this time that my stomach decided to start cramping on me. I was hopeful it would settle down but unfortunately it did not. I thought there was a restroom at mile 6, when I passed mile 6 and didn't see one I started getting a bit nervous. It was at this point that I passed "L" and "C" who were AWESOME and cheered me on (I am so sorry guys, I don't think I cheered for you, but I was at a breaking point). I let them know I forgot my fuel and "L" so generously circled back to me and gave me some of their fuel. THANK YOU guys again! Without that fuel I might not have made it across the finish line. I hope that someday I can pay it forward to someone in a race.
A bit after seeing "L" and "C" I had a moment of mental breakdown and I had to walk for 30-60 seconds to get my head back in the game. FINALLY I found the bathroom just after mile 7. The bathroom break was quick, but it took me a bit to get back into the right rhythm. I walked through the last two water stations. I also had to take three short walk breaks. I was so disappointed, but at that point I had hit a wall and I was running pretty much alone and couldn't focus mentally. I wanted to run the last mile and finish strong but I just wasn't able to bring it home. Despite feeling dead I did make sure to run the last bit to the finish line. I saw Tommy and the kids and told myself I had to run... I was almost there.
|Saying hi to the kids as I run by!|
Now if you have survived my ridiculously long race report, here are a few pictures to illustrate my run. My split chart as well as my pace/elevation graph.
Looking at my splits, I am mostly happy, except for miles 8 and 10 I think I did really well. If it weren't for those two miles and the bathroom break I definitely would have come in at my goal of 1:30. Ah well, its all good. As "L" and "C" reminded me - I got a PR. That's the joy of running a new race length.
After finishing I guzzled down two bottles of water. I was SO thirsty. If I could do this race over again I definitely would have worn my hydration belt no matter how much I hate how it looks on me. The temps and humidity had a huge effect on my race performance. Of course I did some basic stretching and walking to cool off.
I eventually stationed myself at the finish line to cheer "L" and "C" to the finish line, but I decided I would rather go out and meet them and run in with them. So about 10 minutes before they were to finish I started walking back out to meet up with them. I love these photos that Tommy took of me running in with them.
Congrats to "L" and "C" on their PR smackdown! I love this picture of them crossing the finish line - they look so strong - you'd never guess they just ran 10 miles! After the race they introduced me to tons of nice people that they know since this was their "home territory." Thanks girls for showing me around and making me feel welcome.
And now, some miscellaneous pictures taken at the race.
Last but not least: The race was very well organized, I would definitely do it again!