Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Army Run 2013: A Happy Finish

I started race day early with a butterfly dance party that had me out of bed much earlier then I needed to be.  At 5:30 am I was taking pics of my coffee maker, random piles of race stuff, and trying my bib on! This race was "supposed" to be a training run on the way to the TO Marathon.  I had no expectations to PR it, but was hoping to come in under 2 hrs.  Other then that I was going to enjoy the day and my friends.

My ride arrived at 7:10 and I had the pleasure of riding to the race with 3 friends, Leigh, Tracey and Tania.  Yabbering all the way there, desperately trying to find parking, almost getting stuck in an elevator (ok maybe not but I felt like it lol) and warm up jogging to the race as were 'running' a tad late made for a fun and humorous start.

The corrals were packed and I climbed over the rail to get in praying I didn't fall and hurt myself before the race even started.  I got into my spot about 8 min before the race started.  Since the corral was so packed I couldn't get into my time area of about 1:55...I was up much further and with faster runners.  The upside to that was I didn't have to fight the crowd at all to get by slower people, and I sort of felt like the crowd was carrying me along.  I felt great after "resting" and dialling back during the week.  My knee felt good and I felt loose and limber.  I was running WAY FASTER then my planned pace...but it felt great and I knew I would slow down later and thought just go with it.  I ran so happy, thinking about how much I loved "racing" and the experience of it all.  Then at 9km my legs turned to JELLO!  Miss. Marathon Girl jello at 9km not even at 10 yet!  I had to laugh at myself.  Especially since there was a small part of me that while running so fast thought, HEY maybe I can keep this up and kill my May time.  NOT!  In addition to running to fast, I had had breakfast, a VEGA BAR, at 6:00 am and nothing else. I should have had a small snack 40 min before the race.  So I took my first gel a bit early to give me some ummph.  I slowed down and settled into a good pace.  My legs were tired but  the rest of me felt great.  I figured it was great marathon training for running the last half on tired legs.  I loved the race, was pushing, but not to hard.  If I got tired would ease back a bit and never stressed my time.  I didn't have any pressure on myself and that felt so good.

My favourite part of the race was keeping my eye out for our friends (Jay, Sue-Anne, and Shannon) cheering at about 19km.  I hate this part of the race, the last drag to the finish line.  So seeing their crazy happy cheering faces really gave me the final push to finish.  When I caught sight of them on a rounded corner, I sped up and tried to point my bum at them and side shuffle yelling FART BOMB! Yeah, that's me, crazy Katie!  Funny thing is that it all happened so fast I missed the special sign they made just for me with something farty in it!  I ran strong to the finish, hitting the 13.1 mile mark early as usual and then doing the dreaded how far off am I. WHEN OH GOOD HEAVEN when is the finish line going to come into sight.  I saw the finish line, and ran scanning the crowd hoping to see my family.  I thought to myself, if I see them I will run faster.  I didn't see them so I stayed at my current pace, this is a training run right?

FINALLY! I crossed the finish line, HAPPY! I had a great race, felt good, and was happy with my time of 1:54:35. Not a PB but faster then last years Army Run and a great race.  In May I crossed the finish line at 1:50:36 a PB, and sat down and cried for missing my goal by 37 seconds.  After that race, I decided my new goal is to cross happy and proud no matter what!  You have no idea what will happen in a race, lost gel flask, muscle cramp, injury, poor weather, or simply a bad run.  But crossing the finish line is about so much more then that race. It's about all the training, dedication and determination leading up to that race! That is something to be proud of no matter what Sportstats says.

I found my family right after the race, and had some great hugs from these little fart faces.  Seriously this picture makes me so happy.

The day only got better from there when I met up with my friends Leigh (ran a PB and her 5th half), Tracey (also ran a PB and her first half) and Tania (ran along side Tracey supporting her the whole way).  

So proud of these girls!

We spent a good portion of the afternoon, celebrating with our cheer squad and some other friends over food and drinks.  My very favourite part of race day, is celebrating over beer after and rehashing the race.  Not to mention how quickly those 2 beers go to your head! Seriously HAPPY day!  Now one more long 32km run and 2 weeks taper for the Toronto Marathon!  EEEEEEE