A new PR (personal record) for me! I finished the GSO marathon today somewhere around the 4:20 or 4:21 mark. Can't tell exactly because I forgot to stop my watch at the finish line and results won't be posted online for 48 hours. But I beat my Kiawah time of 4:27 and am pleased.
The hills. Oh Lord, the hills. God and I became close on the last half of the race as I faced down some of those bad boys. By the last 6 miles, I didn't see anyone running them. We all just trudged to the top and forced ourselves to start jogging again on the downhills.
Overall, the race went well for me. I was running 9 minute miles or just under for the first part of the course. That is known as "banking minutes." The second part of the course, when you slow down, is when you withdraw them. It was funny around mile 9 or 10 when we were running through a neighborhood and crowds of people lined the streets and shouted "Go Dena! Great job, Dena! We love you, Dena!!!" Took me a moment to realize the woman directly in front of me was named Dena and lived in that block. Still, I appreciated the cheers.
I have learned that mile 15-16 is my mental block. That's where I slowed in Kiawah, and that's where I slowed today. Started doing a little bit of walking and by mile 18, was doing quite a bit of walking. I still haven't figured out how I beat my Kiawah time as I feel like I did more walking today than in December. But, I was able to powerwalk it, so maybe that made the difference.
Around mile 21, I started thinking about giving up running. Thought about how much free time I'd have, and how I would never have to feel like this ever again. I recall similar thoughts at Kiawah.
My friend Dave, the ultramarathoner, met me at mile 20 and jogged with me about a half-mile and then also met me about a mile out from the finish. Here's how tired I was: There is a corner you round near the finish and it's maybe 3/10ths of a mile to the finish on a very mild incline. I could see the finish line. I could see my friends who had already finished, cheering me. I could NOT make myself run until the very last tenth of a mile. In my tired mental/physical state, putting it all out there just did not seem worth it to me.
Blair finished his first half-marathon and I am very proud! He didn't take a single sip of water the entire way, which always worries me. (I passed a red-headed kid about mile 16 with a salt-covered face--totally dehydrated.) He got sick after the marathon, which probably came from eating/drinking on a burnt stomach. I had nausea and stomach cramps as well, so we left soon after I finished. Came home and threw ourselves into bed, got up and ate like there was no tomorrow, then went back to bed.
The weather held. 70's and sunny, but not too hot. A nice breeze that sometimes turned into a wind working against you. GREAT volunteers--friendly, outgoing, helpful, and enthusiastic. I was impressed. The HEED energy drink stayed down okay, but I noticed it left me thirsty. After drinking it, I'd have water, and a half-mile out be thirsty again.
And that was the marathon. I'll post pictures and official time as they become available. The target now is the Richmond, VA marathon in November. I WILL break 4 hours or die trying. Onward!