This morning I woke up energized for the race, but also a little nervous. The longest I had ever ran was 13.6 miles. Surely 15.5 miles couldn't be that much different. I hopped in the shower (just shaved legs are the best feeling) and then set about preparing for the big event.
There are specific items that are necessary for a successful race. Athlete's foot spray, such as Lamisil or Odor Eaters, prevents blistering. Even if you do end up with blisters (like I did), the spray makes a significant difference. Think of it like sunscreen - you might still get burned, but it would've been much worse. I also need clear mascara. Just because I'm running like a beast doesn't mean I have to look like one. Clear mascara keeps my eyelashes curled but doesn't run all over my face. Nothing is tackier than girls running around with black make-up all over their face looking like used and abused prostitutes. I also need my hair clips and two hair-ties. I learned the two hair-tie trick from a girl at my gym. They keep your high ponytail perky.
Proper nutrition is also very important for a good race. I went for the breakfast of champions: thawed frozen peaches, a sliced banana, pecans, blueberries, Greek 2% yogurt, and ground flax. It tastes delicious and really fills you up. I eat it every day when I get to work. You really shouldn't try anything new out on race day, so I went with what I usually eat.
The race was held at Caumsett National Park in Lloyd Neck. The course is a certified 5K loop that takes you around the grounds and it's quite pretty. I am in love with the 5K, so the loop gave me a sense of security.
I need to get my hydration situation under control because I always have to pee. Not only did I use the Porta-Potty three times before the race began (and I limited fluids this morning!), I had to go again after 1.5 miles. This idiot beat me to the Porta-Potty at the halfway mark by five seconds, and then he got tangled up in his tights, forcing me to wait for over a minute. Now this might not seem like much, but during a race? Pull them panties down and pee! I made up for this waste of time later on, but honestly. So rude! The rest of the first loop was pleasant, despite the pouring rain.
Loop 2 was pretty uneventful. I drank some Gatorade. By this time my Under Armour long-sleeved shirt was soaked through and weighing me down. I pulled it off and tossed it by a tree as I circled back onto the course. Loop 3 felt great because I was kind of dry again. This didn't last for long. My shorts were so wet that they gave me legit chaffage. That's what I get for having awesome thunder thighs. God bless that Porta-Potty at the halfway mark because I was back there again during Loop 4. How do people go whole marathons without a bathroom break? I purposely didn't run with a water bottle this time, and I only had the water or Gatorade provided twice a loop. I also began to feel the blisters on my arches during Loop 4. Lamisil does wonders, but it's hard not to get blisters when there are puddles in your sneakers. My mom was waiting for me under the tent as I completed Loop 4. I was excited to see her and excited to be able to yell, "Just one more and I'm done!"
I had been preparing for Loop 5 all morning. I reasoned that since my speciality is the 5K, I could treat the last loop like it was a brand new race. I had been running at a decent pace (about 9 minute miles), but now I was wet, cold, blistered, and my legs were beginning to feel like lead. Now it was time for me to be a beast. A beast is a badass fitness enthusiast who relishes pain and kicking ass. A beast grunts and hollers. A beast is unstoppable. I become a beast in kickboxing, weightlifting, studio cycling... you name it, I do it. "I am a beast!" is my fitness mantra, so when I need to find the extra energy to kick some serious ass, I start to chant it. Then I yell, grunt, and holler. The first mile wasn't the most pleasant thing I have ever done, but mile 2 went by quickly. Even the hill felt pretty good. As I approached the mile 2 sign, another runner commented on my running and asked if it was my last loop. When I told him it was, he told me to give it my all. I took off and caught up with a guy from the 50K race. He was a little startled by the beast grunts and I apologized for the sound effects. He said he understood and told me too keep hollering because I was less than a quarter mile away from the finish line. I trucked it and came in at 2:14:56. My goal was to come in under 2:15 and I just made it!
The girl collecting the shoe tags at the finish line commented that I looked like I had a lot of energy left. I felt amazing, and if my feet weren't bleeding, I would have totally kept going. This was an incredible experience for me, not only because I won my age division, but because I pushed myself past my comfort zone. My favorite yoga and spin instructors encourage the class to set an intention for our workouts. Today I decided to run my race for my friend Ned. When my legs felt like cement and my feet were on fire, I thought about the time we went running in Marin County and I got lost. I was so busy laughing to myself, that I forgot how much the pain sucked. Thinking positive thoughts and feeling the positive energy from the other runners helped me to reach my goal.
By the way, why don't people say please and thank you to the volunteers who hand out fluids? I was the only person out there who said please and thank you. You are never too tired for manners!