Being the awesome guy that he is, he took it all in stride, ran to the starting line and went chasing after the other racers. When I say that he started in the back of the pack, I really mean way behind the very back of the pack. H ran a good solid race and although I wasn't able to see him finish, I was super proud of him. (Way to go H!)
I was super nervous about the marathon this year because I have been having some major pain issues in my hip, knee and foot. I didn't want to blog about them because I was afraid that if I typed them out, it would make the injury real. The last couple of weeks, I cut WAY back on my running and spent as much time as possibly, icing, stretching and rolling. I was really afraid that I was not going to be able to finish the race but I managed to pull this one out.
The weather has been crazy in Virginia for the last three or four days as Tropical Storm Ida made her way through the area. I was crossing my fingers that the rain would be gone by Saturday morning and when I woke up this morning, it was cloudy and windy with just the tiniest bit of drizzle. The temperature was around 52 degrees and except for the wind, everything was ideal. As the race started, my plan was to just run at a comfortable pace and try to save a little bit of energy for the last 10K. I am the type of runner who finds a steady pace and then maintains that pace for the duration of the run. I had a great time running along the beautiful Richmond course. I ran with a friend of mine for about four miles and we had a great time chatting and catching up on each other's lives. I also saw a ton of friends along the course cheering and volunteering. I think a big reason that Richmond is one of my favorite races is because of the great hometown feel. I see so many runners and spectators that I know and it makes me feel happy to run amongst friends. Anyway, the race was cruising along really well until about mile 15. At mile 15 on this course, you run up a huge hill and then take a left onto the Lee Bridge. The Lee Bridge is beautiful but it is notorious for being super windy on the calmest of days. No matter what the weather is like, it is ALWAYS windy on the bridge. For that reason, I always dread this section of the course and the wind put up a great fight today. At one point I was pushing against the wind so hard, that my biceps started to get sore. All I could do was smile about it because honestly, it was just ridiculous. I was so happy to be across the bridge (it is about a mile long) and headed towards the finish line. I am not sure how much the wind slowed my pace but I am sure it was significant because even now, I can feel the tightness in my back neck and shoulders from fighting through it. Miles 16-20 are always the hardest for me in a marathon but I managed to make it through them. At mile 20, I got a surge of energy and the last 10K was over before I knew it.
I had no idea what my time was or how I was doing but I felt great. I had a fast sprint going over the last mile and flew down Cary St. to the finish line. When I looked up at the clock, it said 3:25:12 and although it was not a marathon PR, I was super happy.
I was hoping to finish around 3:30 today and was pleasantly surprised to see my time was way under that. I feel great and except for the tightness from fighting the wind, I am not in any pain. I had an amazing time running this race and now I am going to put up my feet and enjoy the accomplishment.
Before I go, I do have to say a HUGE thank you to Mel and Billy for making me the most amazing race signs and for showing up at THREE different spots along the race course to cheer me on. I was smiling all along the course and keeping my eyes open for my own personal cheering section. I also need to thank my amazing husband for waiting at the finish line for me, being the official photographer and for making me feel like a rock star. Mel, Billy and H: this day wouldn't have been the same without you guys. I love you all very, very much!