|Photo by Elaine Acosta|
No rest. Tired legs. All that I can think of is "30k less than last weekend!" and that makes it sound reasonable for me to be here.
This morning, I woke up with the skin around my eyes swollen and raw. It feels like I have a bad sunburn, that I somehow got while sleeping. This happens a few times each year, and most consistently in the first week of March. After months of test and many doctors visits, it was concluded that I have a faulty immune system (that could be related to the damage done by my chemotherapy). My body gets confused and attacks itself at random. It used to be worse. I used to become covered in hives and have trouble breathing. Once my throat started closing up. At least once per year I am getting shot up in the ER with steroids. I am not in pursuit of a more conclusive diagnosis. I have had over 200+ needles to try to find what I am reacting to and nothing was identified. So, I consider my faulty autoimmune system the price I have to pay to be alive and that price in my mine is quiet small.
I pre-registered for this race. Had I not, I would have likely stayed home because the last time I had a puffy face and ran it did get worse. However, the time before that running made it better. The time before that I was not running at all and I had a reaction. My running and my autoimmune disorder simply co-exist and do not seem to bother each other. Regardless, I called John Phelan on the way to the race and told him that if I start to feel bad, then I may need him to take me to the ER. However, on the drive over the swelling seemed to be calming down somewhat since I first woke up and that made me feel better. The raw, burning skin sensation around my eyes and eye lids was still present, but at least I no longer looked like a monster.
I knew this was could go either way. My plan was to hover just sub-7:00 and see how that felt. My last 10 miler was 6:53 and I wanted to hit that pace for the 20k, but I did just race a 50k hard last weekend. I could very easily crash. I needed to see how long I could hang on!
Weather said low 30s but I still felt cold. I wore way too much to the starting line and ditched half of it before lining up. I broke out a new pair of Brooks T7's and opted to go with my now lucky (as opposed to geeky) capri pants and calve sleeves in lieu of tights. I had a long sleeve tech shirt and knew it was going to be too warm for me as the temps rose.
Gun goes off. I try to settle in with a pack of guys I know run about my pace when I am running really great. We made our way up the incline, heading out towards the first turn around. M1-6:51
I was surprised that I felt so comfortable. I found I was bouncing down below 6:40 at times, but knew I would not hold that for 12.4. I would rather speed up than fade, so I settled down. Someone commented about my capri pants, stating that she had the same pair. She did. She made a few more comments about how she loved Brooks gear. A guys ahead said how much he loved the shoes. I thought it was funny to be caught up in the middle of a Brooks love fest and I really did not say much at all. I was trying to stay focused and in tune with my body. I wasn't sure if my throat would start to swell or my legs would suddenly become jello. Also, a sub-7 pace tends to be a little bit to fast for me to hold up my end of a conversation. I felt good and just did not want to waste any energy. M2-6:53
I sat on a pack of runners for many of the middle miles. Actually I was just out of reach of them but moving close to their speed. I could see they were slowly creeping away from me, but I knew that if I pushed a little harder this early, it would be too fast. I planned to just run MY pace and feel comfortable until last 15k. M3-6:53, M4-6:51, M5-6:50, M6-6:52.
I still had the pack in range and felt pretty good. I saw my 5k split at 20:58 and my 10k split at 42:10. Just a small fade, but pretty close! I wanted to see about getting to the 15k in under 1:04 (which I believe is still my 15k PR). I had a gel tucked in my sports bra and decided I might as well take it. M7-6:55.
As we started to round the turn around I realized I was gaining on the small pack I was trailing. Again, I did not alter my comfortable pace because felt good and knew I was running well. I just ran MY race and since I was not fading, I was reeling in those who started to fade a bit. I passed some of that pack while a few pulled ahead. M8-6:56
As the temperature began to warm slightly I could feel I was sweating a lot. I decided with just under a half hour to go, I would ditch my long sleeve near the start finish line. It was the best move I could have made. I felt so much better and ready to try to finish fast. You can't decided to run in a sports bra in the cold and not run fast (without getting cold, and/or simply looking a bit like an idiot ;) LOL). So to not look like an idiot, I tried to run fast. :) M9-6:53 (15k was sub-1:04)
I felt strong and took advantage of any fast parts of the course. I wanted to get this over with fast. I started counting down the mileage, ignoring that 0.4. Ten miles done, 2 to go! I knew there was a small uphill just after the downhill after the turn around. After that uphill I hoped to have something to offer. M10-6:46, M11-65:55, M12-6:53
I realize that I actually did not have as much of a kick as I had hoped. I was tired and just happy to still be running sub-7's. I got my speed up as I got closer to the finish, running that last .4 the fastest of the day. Last 0.4 - 2:52
Time: 1:25:22 (6:53 pace)
OA Place: 93
I can't end this without saying Congratulations to John Phelan, who ran a 50k PR last weekend and joined me today to run pretty close to his half marathon PR today! Great job John!