I stayed up late last night writing up my day yesterday and I really regretted that this morning. I was excited about the race today so I had a hard time falling asleep and on top of that, I got up at 5am. I have to start drinking less water before I go to bed! I somehow fell asleep again and got up around 6:15am. Which is bad since we needed to leave the house no later than 6:30am to drive an hour to San Jose! Yikes. We rushed out of the house and somehow found parking quickly and got over to the starting time with 10 min to spare. Phew!
As soon as we neared the main drag of the race, I could smell the race spirit in the air. There were tons of people, warming up, stretching and doing whatever race preparation they needed to do. I was in corral 3 but apparently there were 13 corrals, with about 1000 people in each corral. Wow. I have never been in a race with that many people! When the gun went off, Duane and I took off pretty quickly. Much faster than I should have. With all the excitement and the crowd, I couldn't help it. Besides, my mind always want to run at a faster pace but my body has a harder time catching up! After Mile 2, I realized I needed to slow down. My lungs were working over capacity and I was feeling slightly lightheaded. I pulled it back a little. Around Mile 6, I realized I had to reconsider my running pace, yet, again. What the hell was I thinking I could "wing" a 13.1 miles?? Ok, need to pull back to over-self confidence, too. The sad (but inspiring) thing was around this point, the elite runners were coming down their final stretch on the other side of the road. And seeing these running machines and their amazingly fast strides made me want to pump my arms and pick up my speed just a little bit more. I'd never win a race but I can win the Julianne race. I struggled through most of the latter half. There was a point, when I thought about the unthinkable: walking. But I told myself, just a little bit longer. Not quite yet! It was especially disheartening to see runners by the dozens started passing me up, again and again. I told myself over and over, this is a race against me. Not against anyone else. I started to visualize an empty road with just me running, and it actually helped. The funny thing is, I was complaining about how lonely the SFM was... But it seemed a bit crowded today with 10,000+ runners. Hmm. I need to find a good balance.
What also helped me get through the race was that there was a runner carrying the US flag, who ran ahead of me for the most of the entire way. On the back of his shirt, it said: Gimme Something To Run For. And below it was a hand written sign "Support Our Troops". It was very inspiring to see someone who was so passionate about something to run 13.1 miles with a US flag on a big pole. He was carrying it high enough that even when I fell behind quite a a bit, I could see the flag bobbing. It gave me something to catch up to. I guess he was my "rabbit"! I didn't think I was going to finish the race under 2 hours. My legs were super tired and I felt like I had lost some steam after starting out too fast. I had slowed down so much around mile 6 that I was sure I was doing a 10 min mile pace. Thank goodness for the race clocks every 5 miles or so, it helped me keep track and reminded me where I needed to be. Around mile 10, I realized that I could still make it under 2 hours. So I picked up speed and maintained my pace. For the most part, anyway. Around mile 12, the clock said 1:48. I knew, I could run a mile in less than 10 miles! When I saw the 13 mile marker, I turned it on. Full. Speed. Ahead. I was in pain but it felt so good. I even passed up the guy with the flag towards the end. I wanted to tell him that he helped me along the way but I never saw him again. I was a also a bit emotional, too. End was in sight, yay! As I sprinted across the finish line, I knew I didn't PR but so happy with this time:After the race, I met up with a few friends and even got to see Aron and her friend. Here's the pic from my phone camera:
Great job Aron and Audrey on a great race today!! Oh and Duane PR'd today. 1:59:46. Cleared 2 hours by 14 seconds! :-)