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What a weekend it was. It's almost impossible to put into words the emotion of the race!
I have so many wonderful memories from this weekend, it doesn't seem fair to only touch on a few. But, just so this post isn't pages long, I will try to be succinct.
I have written a full review on www.bibrave.com and it is here if you'd like to check out all of the logistics of the race. Grandma's Marathon is a fantastic event and if it's not on your bucket list, it should be.
This was the first race I have ever recorded a post-race video. I'm not exactly sure why I even decided to record the moments after the finish, but I am so glad I did. I've played this moment back many times since the finish and I still get emotional.
Many of you reading this know that in the final five weeks before the race, my knee was hurting. I was struggling to even finish 5-6 miles at a time, my marathon finish looked bleak. I had trained smarter, not harder this training season. I was doing everything right, but still my knee had other ideas. Even going into race weekend, I had doubts on whether or not my knee would "let" me finish.
Without my knowledge, my family had already discussed how to handle my emotions if I didn't finish. For weeks leading up to the race, my husband was very concerned that I was going to even attempt to finish. I promised him that I would not run through pain. When I got to the expo, I made sure to immediately seek out help with taping and stabilizing my knee.
What made this race so unique for me was all of the fanfare leading up to it. I had several meet-ups planned and couldn't wait to get the festivities underway. First, I met up with some of the Bibrave crew - some I have met before, others I have not. This is such a great organization to be a part of and I just love everyone in the group! Here we are at the finish. Congrats to Julia ( 3rd from left ) who smashed the race and finished 18th overall female with a time of 2:58:10. This girl is a rockstar!!
I was also very excited to meet-up with a few other bloggers and friends you all know well! Rachel from Running On Happy and Kim from Kim Runs on the Fly. These girls are so fantastic! I have met Kim once before at another race but it was my first time meeting Rachel. Here are some of the pictures from the weekend with the girls!
The other set of feet you see belong to Kim's good friend Barb! She was also amazing and I really enjoyed getting to know her.
I was fortunate enough to be able to room with Kim and Barb right on Lake Superior in a bed and breakfast. How cool is that?!?
Due to my lack of miles the last five weeks of training, I went into this race with zero expectations. As Coach Marcia said to me " the hay is in the barn. " I definitely had trained hard for 15 weeks leading to the race, but I also knew that my dreams of a sub-4 were a bit off base. I modified my race plan to.... "let's just finish. " My typical training runs were usually around 8:50 - 9:00 min/miles. For this race, I wanted to start out conservative; my goal was 9:30's-9:45's. I figured the easier pace would conserve my knee and I could play the later miles by ear. My new race plan in the my head was a 4:20 finish.
Remember when I said this race was emotional? By mile 9, my knee was still feeling fantastic and this cued the first set of tears. I was so happy that I had gotten 9 miles into the race without knee pain, I just couldn't contain the emotion. I quickly pulled it together and kept a steady head - maintaining my pace.
By mile 15, with no knee pain, I knew this was my race. Cue tears. I repeated, "this is MY race, this is MY time" the entire rest of the way. Shortly after mile 15, someone yelled you are on pace for 4:20. I was ecstatic! I just couldn't believe it.
Because I ran the marathon last year, I was familiar with the course. As I approached mile 20, I was just under 3:30. It was at that time that I knew a course PR was well within my reach.
Approaching the last 0.2 miles of the course, spectators lining the rails - once again my emotions got the best of me! I wanted to be done. I seriously couldn't take another step. But, the pure joy of that finish line is something I won't ever forget.
This race was MY race. The deck was stacked against me. I had my doubts. It was my will for that finish line that got me through this race. I would have crawled over it if I had to.
My official finish time was 4:37:00. A 23 minute PR from last year.
Ecstatic, elated, emotional. All the feels. This was by far the most memorable race in my career. I'm not sure that any other one will be quite this special.
I do want to take this opportunity to thank all of YOU! Especially a few of you who have supported me that little extra during this marathon training. Wendy, you were so missed, but you were with me every single step. I love you from afar! Marcia, your advice resonated with me. Thank you for taking your time to coach me through the emotions. I know I've singled out a few, but you all are so special to me. My own little corner of the blogging universe. I enjoy each and every one of you and you were all with me on race day!
Now, will you just look at that beauty! It will be treasured forever. And, yes.... I wore it ALL day! I even contemplated sleeping in it! I should have because I was so sore, I could barely sleep Saturday night anyway! I'm happy to report that on this Wednesday eve, I'm finally walking like a normal person. :)
Will there be a next marathon? That's up for debate. Hmmmmm........?????