I read lots of blogs out there where the writers have big, fluffy, life-altering, insightful race reports. I'm just not the kind of girl or runner. When I run, I just run. I don't solve life's problems. I don't learn valuable lessons. My life isn't changed. I just run.
No sugar coating it, the weather sucked. I woke up race morning to pouring rain, 40 degrees, and winds up to 30 mph. I was pissed! All this training and I was going to come undone because of the weather. The husband helped me to settle down, get ready, and eat something. We walked to the start line, keeping to myself. I waited under a hotel overhang, took one bathroom break, and I lined up. It was raining, but I felt almost peaceful.
And then I ran. I didn't go with a pace group. I didn't set a pace for myself. I just tried to stay comfortable. I kept my watch underneath my sleeve the entire race and only looked at it when it beeped for the miles. The first couple of miles were so comfortable. Then we turned around and we were headed into the wind. It was rough but I tried to stay out of my head. We toured a military base (the first of two) and anytime I could I tried to hang with other runners to block the wind. I was close behind the 3:35 pace group but I couldn't quite catch up to them to use them in the wind.
Before I knew it we were back in Virginia Beach proper and on the boardwalk. This is when the wind was started to get crazy. I was running with another girl and used her to block as much wind as possible. She wasn't running fast enough for me, though, so I got ahead of her. This was my marathon, I had to do the work. And still I was just far enough behind the pace group to not be able to use their energy. I saw Dave and Anderson around mile 12, and let them know I was okay. He offered me dry gloves and shirt, but I didn't need it (famous last words).
We turned off of Atlantic Avenue and made it over to Pacific Avenue. We were headed north, straight into the wind. These were some miserable miles. It was pouring and crazy windy (I was literally holding onto my hat) and then it started sleeting. This was the lowest point of the race for me, and yet I still felt good. I just kept running.
Somewhere around mile 16 or 17 we turned to the left and headed down a long, tree lined road. This was my favorite part of the race. We were finally out of the wind and I felt terrific. I was flying. We got to the second military base and I just felt great. 19 miles, 20 miles, 21 miles. Things were going fantastic. My pace was so consistent; my legs were a metronome. At some point in here I did some math and knew I was going to be golden.
Finally we were back on the boardwalk. I could see the finish line. I had run every step of the race. And I was going to qualify for Boston 2018 easily. It's hard not to smile when you've had such a great race.
My finish time was 3:37:29 - my fourth fastest marathon. I was 11th in my age group (by four seconds, dang it!). My fastest mile was a 7:57 and my slowest was 8:38 - pretty damn consistent.
Guess I'll see you in Boston on my 40th birthday!!!