Monday, March 24, 2014

Step 2 of Maniac status: You cannot be sad in a tutu

Since my last post about my Shamrock Shenanigans (and step 1 of earning my Maniac stripes), I felt surprisingly sprightly. Normally I don't run until Wednesday or Thursday following a marathon, but I actually felt great on Tuesday. I packed my bag to run after work and knocked out 4 miles at a 7:49 pace. Guess my legs were itching to run fast again!

I was super busy Thursday so I ended up running 3 easy miles before work Friday at an 8:34 pace on the treadmill. Nothing felt too tight or achy and I knew come hell or high water, I was going to at least cross the finish line on my own two feet Sunday.

Saturday morning, I picked up Megan (my amazing chauffeur/support team/manicurist) to go to the expo with me.  Adam had to work all weekend. Boo! Anyway, Megan registered to run/walk the 5K--yippee! We spent about an hour at expo and picked up lots of great swag:
I even found a cute new headband for the Flying Pig:
We made pit stops at Hobby Lobby (to pick up tulle and elastic so I could make a tutu) and at Fleet Feet (to commit the cardinal sin of buying new apparel for race day and GU that I forgot to buy at the expo.

I came home to eat lunch on the patio:
And gave the Bostons doggie ice cream because, well, just because:
I got to work making my tutu while watching my bracket blow up:

After a pasta dinner, Megan came over to paint my nails and spend the night since we were leaving at 5:15am. She came up with the cute design to mimic the Marathon Maniacs logo:

I laid out my race outfit (new tank from Fleet Feet!) and tried to get some sleep:
Race day morning, I had a cup of coffee and a bagel with peanut butter. I tried to get my tummy rumbling at home, but it decided to wait until we got downtown. Fortunately, we had plenty of time to park, get situated, hit the porta potties, and chitchat before the start. 

My plan? Um..... yeah, about that....

Having run a 3:52 the week before on an elevation like this:
Made me question what my abilities to on an elevation like this one week later:
On one hand, I felt really, really good all things considering.  I recovered smartly and listened to my body.  One the other hand, even though it was an easier pace for me at Shamrock, it was still a frickin' marathon. I was navigating uncharted territory here.

So I decided that because my course PR was 3:43, I was just going to run as near to the 3:45 pace group for as long as I could hold on. Bank and bonk, right?

I wasn't running with friends this time so I popped in my ear buds and waited for the gun. Within the first mile, I spotted the 3:45 pace group sign and decided I would try to close the gap by mile 2. 

I was kind of a weird place mentally. There was a lot of self doubt and not knowing a soul of the course was disheartening. My tutu was too big to stay around my hips and was riding up around my waist. But how could I be sad wearing a tutu?! And I knew I could run/walk to the finish and still reach my Maniac goal!

By the second mile, I was running near the 3:45 group and waiting to feel warmed up. It took until about mile 4 before I started to feel loose and comfortable with my pace. Then, I started to pass some of my favorite sights on the course. Going through Little 5 Points, tackling the hill leading to the Carter Center, and the now-comfortable silence of splitting from the half-marathoners around mile 7:
 I knew I had finally hit my groove when I realized I forgot to take a GU until I was a half-mile past mile 8--I was trying to get one in every 4 miles.  Then I finally got fired up at the water station when a bunch of excited teenagers started screaming about my tutu.
Just before mile marker 10, there is an evil (one of a few) hill that the 3:45 pace leader started doing the goat shuffle on. I personally like to race the uphills and take it easy on the downs. Get the hard part over with fast I 'spose? Anyway, this hill was about a half mile long and I ended up gaining about 30 seconds or so on the pace group. Whatever. Cool. I'm just running my own race.

Snacking Sidenote: I'm not sure exactly where all the snacks were along the way, but I sure did eat a lot of "real" food on the course. Partly because calories=energy, partly because I am sucker for cute kids, and partly because I knew that it would keep me from taking this too seriously. It's really hard to maintain Type A brain while eating jelly beans in a tutu. Doable, but more difficult. I ate jelly beans, peanut butter pretzels, cut up Snickers bars, orange slices, and an extra GU. I drank Powerade (red, ew!) once by accident, but stuck to the water otherwise.

Once we got closer to the Emory campus around mile 15, I was feeling good about this race.  I was keeping a steady pace comfortably and decided it was time to make friends. I started running next to this guy from Philly, Dan, and we talked about his 50 states conquest and my Maniac-ness. We were running a nice steady clip downhill and I was relieved to chatter away happily.  Unfortunately, I dropped him when we got to the climb at mile 16 because some crazy energy surge came out of nowhere and I went with it!

There were 2 girls with 2 donkeys (yes, you read that right, donkeys) standing in their front lawn during this stretch. I yelled "I like your donkeys!!!!!!!!!" and they yelled back "I like your tutu!!!!!!".  At this point, a girl came running up alongside me and told me she thought she'd never hear that being yelled in a race. Jo and I ran together until around mile 19. She was on the conquest for 50 states as well and a joy to run with. I was pumping up the spectators and she was as smiley as a runner as me. She had a ton of kick and I was feeling the hills making my legs heavier so I sadly let my friend go racing ahead.

It started misting a little heavier at this point and I realized I was actually wanting my arm warmers.
But I kept smiling and moving my legs forward, knowing that I was going to be getting a sub-4 even if the final miles got tough.  I saw my friend Jo at the turn around point around mile 22 in Piedmont Park and we yelled at each other with big goober grins. Totally uplifting!
I crawled up the hill at mile 23 and started imagining the points where I would be on my Greenway by how many miles were left. Having just run a marathon a week ago was actually helpful in this regard. I knew not to really start pushing the pace until the final mile. The 3:45 pace group sign passed me at this point, but I kept my eye on his sign.  I got to the familiar green photo pad and hammed it up for the cameras:
Then it was time to settle into a comfortably hard pace for the finish. I still had a little bit of juice left in the tank and started passing people as I came through the final mile. The zombies had taken over and there were a lot of guys (I really didn't see any girls at this point), doing the final mile shuffle. I felt kind of jerky for being the tutu girl flying past them, but........well......
I was about to be a Maniac!
I collected my medal, water, chocolate milk, hammed it up for no less than 4 different photographers who wanted my post-race photoMegan met me at the end of the chute and then Heidi (northern lass) walked up!!!!!!! Yippee!!!! It was so, so, so awesome for her to come out and support me. She is amazing!!!!!!!!

Megan and I met Heidi at The Vortex for burgers and beers:

We bid our adieus after gorging ourselves and headed home. I chilled on the sofa, literally--icing my sore quads and rocking the compression socks.
The dogs were happy to oblige:
I checked my Garmin splits and were pleased to see they were about as steady as they could be given the hills, the week-prior marathon, and my snack stops:
Then I looked at my results and was even more pleased:
8th in my AG, 49th female, 230th overall. Neat!

I really haven't planned too much for the next few weeks. Probably 2 long runs of 16-20 miles and maintaining 25-35 miles per week depending on how I feel. I have no goals at the Pig except to have fun again!!!

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