“Inconceivable” -Vizzini (The Princess Bride)
This is pretty much the only word I can use to describe my thoughts on running 10 miles. I can hear Vizzini’s voice in my head saying it over and over again. Funny how certain things stick with you.
My alarm went off at 4:30 this morning. This was especially tough for me as I haven’t had to set as alarm since the toddler was born. Call it mom instinct or the mom curse — either way I’m up just before and right after his feet hit the ground. I think it started with the every 2 hour nightly breast feeding sessions. Regardless, the alarm went off and I hopped out of bed.
I had everything laid out from the night before but it wasn’t me I was worried about. It was the husband and the toddler. For starters, the husband is the WORST sleeper in the world. Those who know him know of what I speak of. Those who don’t just imagine your stereotypical 17-year-old high school student who sleeps from 2 a.m. till 2 p.m. Yup… that’s the husband. The toddler? I wasn’t worried about getting him up — it was his utter S_L_O_W_N_E_S_S that had me nervous.
To my surprise we all piled in the car at 5:30 and hit the road. It was just under an hour to the DC metro area. When we got there at 6:20 I already noticed a handful of other runners heading into the city. Every stop closer brought more and more runners until the train was PACKED. When we finally arrived it took 15 minutes to get out of the station!
At this point I was getting REALLY nervous. The race was starting in 25 minutes. I had to pee something fierce AND I had to catch up with Carrie. She not only got me into the race, she was nice enough to pick up my race pack so I didn’t have to make two trips down to DC. (Thanks, Carrie!)
Once we approached the Washington Monument I was in awe. There were SO many people there! 12,000 runners! This made a trip to the bathroom completely impossible. The line for the porta-potties were at least 50 people deep. I had no time and decided to head towards the start line with a full (I mean REALLY full) bladder.
They released the runners in groups based on bib numbers. Check out what color mine was. I didn’t plan it, I swear!
I started the Nike+ a few minutes before the whistle. I didn’t want to fuss with it afterward and I didn’t care about getting an exact time as I was wearing a chip that would measure me anyway.
The first few minutes of the race were slow, of course. There were SO many people! But I didn’t care I was so preoccupied with my pee problem. How was I going run 10 miles like this?!?!
Then I saw it. .3 miles in, a small row of porta-potties. Just off the track. Best part… there were only 5 people waiting!! So I paused the iPod and got in line. I was psyched!
With an empty bladder I re-entered the race. Raring to go! :)
The first mile was a breeze. I spent most of my time just avoiding people and trying to find my groove. The next mile was was over the Memorial Bridge and back. There were so many runners that the people in front were already heading back as I was crossing and then when I was heading back the people behind were just crossing. It was cool!
The third mile was when I caught another dad with his daughters cheering on “Mom” just like I did in the Baltimore Marathon Relay. There is just something about that scene that brings a tear to my eye. It doesn’t matter that I’m not their mom. I just think it’s super sweet and it TOTALLY motivates me. :)
Somewhere in the middle of the 4th mile my knees started aching again and it just made me angry. It’s funny, when I first started running, breathing was my biggest issue. I had to learn how to control my pace and my breath. Once I nailed that, cramps became my biggest problem. Now it’s my knees. I have a feeling it will always be something. I ran through it and after awhile I didn’t notice them any longer.
Then I started to get lost in my music. I really couldn’t focus on the scenery as there were just too many darn runners! I worried I’d run into someone as I navigated the crowd trying to keep my own pace. Thankfully, I wrote out the playlist last night and I was really familiar with the song order. That helped immensely. By mile 5 I knew I was around halfway through my songs and I was just on time if not a little ahead of my goal. I started anticipating what would come next and it was totally distracting me.
Miles 6 and 7 the field thinned out just a little bit and it was by far the prettiest part of the run. It was when I really focused on the cherry blossoms. When I hit the 8th mile marker I was getting excited. I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to finish at this point even though my knees were KILLING me. Especially my right one, which is weird as my left one is normally the one giving me trouble. I ran through it again, pissed that I waited so long to start running and cursing that my 30+ year old body is going to have a hard time keeping up with ME! lol
The excitement from the runners as we passed mile 9 was contagious. The crowds were picking up, cheering us on. I was reading awesome signs as I kept my pace up. “Run Chix Run” was by far my favorite. Not sure if the holder had a friend named “Chix” or he was referring to all female racers. Either way I thought it was cute.
Before I knew it I read a sign that said 800 meters remaining. I started scanning the crowds for the husband and toddler. Both sides of the road, back and forth. I wanted SO badly to wave to the toddler. To my surprise I scanned and scanned and before I knew it the finish line was right in front of me! I kicked it up a little bit, crossed the finish, and fought to shut off the iPod (my hands were sweaty.) Of course that’s when I heard the husband calling me. They JUST missed me. It was sort of my fault as I ran faster then I anticipated! :~P
How fast you ask?
Look at that! By far my “smoothest” run yet. Can I just say…. I LOVE a flat course! I can’t believe I kept such a steady pace. Besides my knees, it was actually an easy run. (INCONCEIVABLE!!) According to the official results I ran the 10 miles in 1:35:34 at a 9:34 pace, that’s only slightly off what my (uncalibrated) Nike+ recorded.
A few minutes after the run I met up with Carrie. Here we are with her husband Jimmy (who also ran) and the toddler.
Here are a few more shots. One of me twittering post race, of course. :)
When we got home the toddler was so exhausted, he was willing to cuddle and watch a movie. By far, THAT was my favorite part of this Sensational Sunday!