Mankato Marathon 2013
The forecast for race day kept changing. One week before the big day the forecast called for a high of 55 and no wind!!! Perfect race conditions for me. But the day of the race was actually quite cold (32) and blustery. I was a little bummed cuz I had my outfit all picked out and then had to decide if I would go with tights or stick with shorts. I went with shorts - but there weren't too many others who made that decision!!! As I waited in my car for the race start, I wrote names of all the people who donated to the charity I would run for on my legs. It was pretty cool to see the list!! At about 7:50 I went to find the pace group I wanted to start with and also meet up with a woman I kinda know. We had discovered we had the same goals for the race so we thought we would run with each other. We were sh-sh-shivering and bouncing around trying to stay warm. National anthem. Gun went off and we ran! Then stopped. Then walked. Then ran!! Then walked. Finally made it to the starting line and the bottleneck eased up so we ran!!!! My goal was to start out slow which I can never manage to do! I often run my first mile in 7:05. This one was an 8:15. I kept that pace for the first 3-4 miles. Then we started up a very loooooong hill, so my pace slowed, but it was a fun hill and I had a great time talking to the runners around me. I lost my partner around that time. Not sure what happened and I felt like I should go back to look for her. I decided to keep moving forward and hope that she would catch me (I am glad I did - she ended up with a very different race than she planned.) The next 10 miles were about a 8:00 minute pace. I met a man from a neighboring town and we had a great conversation! Isn't it funny how you become "friends" with people during those long miles? I felt great! Took a Gu at mile 8 and made sure I was drinking at the aid stations. I really need to figure out how to drink and run!!!! Most times I walked through the stations. I saw my kids and parents for the first time around mile 10. That was awesome!!! I ran over to get "some love" from all of them and continued on. At about mile 11 a friend of mine caught up and we ran together for a while. His goal was to do negative splits, so after about 5 miles together he started to pick up speed. I stuck with him for a while and as he pulled away I made it my goal to always keep him in sight. Miles 16-21 were UNBELIEVABLE!!! I was keeping a 7:40 pace and felt amazing. I remember thinking "Whose body is this???" I just didn't think I should be feeling that strong at that point. But I did, so I went with it. It felt great to run like that and I actually got a little choked up. Then came mile 22... I really needed a Gu or something but was all out at that pont. I met my son at a cheer station as he planned to run the park loop with me. As he took off with me I noticed that three of his teammates from his CC team were running with us!!! That was so cool!!!! They encouraged me the whole way! I felt pretty sluggish and my pace slowed, the course gets very windy and hilly. But it was still a great experience to have my son rooting for me! We came out of the park and Kellen sent me on my way with a mile to go. Running down the last few blocks was so much fun!!! People were line up for blocks and I heard friends and students shouting my name!! I high-fived a few and posed for a few pics before I decided to kick it in. I finished in 3:31. So close to a PR, but today was not even about that. I SHOULD NOT have been able to run like that. I was going to be very happy with a 3:40. I was undertrained and overinjured. The running gods must have been granting wishes that day or something! I ran across the finish line and right away saw my kids. For some odd reason, I always get emotional at the end of a race. I gave my kids and parents big hugs!! I hung out in the finisher's chute for a while - I love to do that! It's so fun to watch the faces of the runners as they cross that line. So inspirational! After that, I headed over to a local sports bar to join friends. It was the perfect day! One of the best races I ever ran - why? I had FUN!!!!!!!! I ran happy!!