I was planning to wait until my regular Thursday post to recap the race but I decided to do it NOW instead!
It all began Saturday with a Peeps caravan from Lincoln to Des Moines, IA...
Before I go any further, I have to explain to the blog world who the Peeps are... We are a group of runners who were in the "Very Beginning" training group for the Lincoln YMCA Marathon (or 1/2 Marathon) Class. We trained together, ate together, raced together, and have become great friends since January. We support each other when we're struggling or when we're injured, and we celebrate together when we have successes. We have added a couple of Peeps, and have a few "honorary Peeps" (spouses/significant others of full-fledged Peeps) since the group began, but the group comaraderie has remained the same. We are called "the Peeps" because Meghan (one of the group members) called us "her peeps" - you know, like "people" - and it became a running joke which just turned into a group name!
Phew. Ok. So, anyway... Saturday: Peeps caravan to Des Moines, followed by a quick trip to the race expo to pick up our race numbers and shirts and check out some of the clothing and gear vendors. Next, a few in the group went to church, some went to drive the race route, and I went back to the hotel room to get some rest. Later, we all went for a nice, relaxing pre-race dinner, then back to the hotel for a good night's sleep!
Sunday morning we were up bright and early for a little bit of fuel and a little bit of coffee. Luckily, our hotel was only a few blocks from the starting line, so we could walk down, use the bathroom at the YMCA, take a few pictures and get lined up in time for the race to start. Kaila and Rick were on their bikes and needed to take off to get to their first support spot (they were AWESOME! riding around, cheering, taking pictures, and generally providing moral support) and Jean was planning on a faster race, so we hugged it out, wished each other luck and went to our separate starting spots. Aaron planned to stay with us for the first mile or so, so he lined up with the rest of us. Once the race started, he stuck with us for about a quarter of a mile before he waved at me and took off! : )
My strategy going into the run was to take the first few miles nice and easy, then if I felt ok, pick it up. I did take the first four miles pretty easy, but I wasn't quite feeling the pace. I saw Beth (she was my very first running partner when I started back in 2007!) and Tabby about a quarter of a mile ahead, looked over and saw the 4 mile marker and thought, "This was in my plan, so I guess it's time to go!" I kept my eye on Beth's blue vest and set out to catch up to the two of them. Running through a gorgeous park, music in ears and loving every minute of what I was doing, I slowly but surely made my way up. We ran about four miles into a park, around a lake, then back out of the park where we spotted Rick and Kaila for the third time. Then it was into another park and over a bridge (pictured above) with the city on one side and lots of fall foliage on the other. With the light shining off of the lake, it was one of the prettiest sites I've seen in any race. Beth was really pushing the pace and I was lying most of the time when I said I was feeling good. I stuck with her until about 12.5 miles when I totally hit the wall. At that point, I just kept looking at my watch thinking, "Even if I have to walk to the finish, I'll still be under 2 hours and 30 minutes!" (2:30 was a time I would feel good about -- 5 minutes faster than my time for the Lincoln 1/2.)
FINALLY, I crossed the finish line! And when I looked at my watch, I saw that my time was around 2:26! I found out later that my real time was 2:26:16 -- a new Personal Record by about 9 minutes!!! Aaron, Beth and Lana also PR'd, and everyone else that ran did a great job, as well! After cheering all of the rest of the Peeps across the finish line and loading up on post-race snacks, we headed back to the hotel (up a very long, very cold hill) for some HOT showers! I can't remember a shower feeling that good before...
It was a great weekend for running and a great weekend with friends. I am feeling VERY SORE today, but also very motivated. Sometimes I feel motivated by failure and sometimes by success. This time, it is the feeling of accomplishment that is pushing me forward. I know that if I work hard to keep a good running base (fingers crossed that no injuries crop up this time) and get into better shape before I start training for my next half marathon, I can continue to get faster. I'll keep you posted on my efforts!
Question: What motivates you???
#1 Aaron, me, Lana, Tabby, Meghan, and Beth before going to the expo on Saturday.
#2 Peeps before the start of the race. (Rick is in the bright yellow jacket, Kaila in blue on the other end.)
#3 Beth (in the blue) and me (in the white) in the middle of mile 9.
#4 The bridge.
#5 Jean, Tanya, Beth, Meghan, me, Aaron, Tabby, and Lana with our finishers' medals!!!