Elite for a Day
As I mentioned in the last post, I was all alone in the starting corral. If the elites were there, I had no idea where. Leprechaun Bob counted down my time and off I went. All alone, except for my two escorts. One stayed with me and one road up ahead to keep the course clear.
|Here I am just after the start. Full of energy and smiling.|
I ran like I had planned, steady and as even paced as I can get. The course was lonely and sparsely lined with spectators. Actually, I am pretty sure these people had no idea why I was running by myself. Has the race even started? One guy almost stepped in front of me while he was trying to get across the course. I did see my friend Jim about mile 1 and then again at mile 3. That was nice surprise. When I passed him at mile 3, he called my husband and said something about me not looking as strong as I did at mile 1. Shocker. I am not sure what gave him that idea. Probably my exhausted look and labored breathing. I just took it mile by mile and tried to stay on pace and I was doing a pretty good job of it.
Just before mile 4 the course crosses from the boardwalk onto Atlantic Ave. The crowd was big now and people were cheering for me! It was such an amazing feeling seeing my family, friends, and total strangers cheering me on. I was almost done and I could draw on the energy of the crowd, so I thought. As I moved north the crowd disappeared and there is a break in the buildings which created a huge wind tunnel. I knew it was there and it still got me. My pace s-l-o-w-e-d, A LOT.
When I got to the turn that takes you back on the board walk, I had roughly a half mile to go. The wind tunnel was gone and I picked my pace back up for that last stretch to the finish. This is where I started to get nervous and wished it was over. I have run a lot of races at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. They all end at the Hilton where King Neptune's statue is located. I could see him in the distance, holding his trident. The problem is, that damn statue never seems to get closer. It stays a speck in the distance taunting you!
With about a quarter mile to go, I remember Jerry passing me going north on his golf cart. He cheered me on and said something like, "Keep going, you've got this!" Not two seconds later he comes flying back by me and yells "You need to MOVE!!!"
I managed to look over my shoulder and saw the police escort's lights as the elites turned onto the boardwalk, soon the police passed right by me. I thought it was over, but they had left the elites to battle it out. What I didn't know at the time, was that when I hit mile 4, I had about a 1:30 buffer if I kept on pace. My subsequent slowdown at the wind tunnel ate a huge chunk of this buffer. I had to dig deep and move as fast as my legs, lungs, and mind would let me.
I could hear Leprechaun Bob, he was cheering me on. I can't remember exactly what it was that he was saying, but I new the closer I got that I was going to do it! A smile so big took over my face as I crossed the finish line. A smile that I couldn't stop smiling for 4 days. True story!
I took a knee wanting a second to breath and thank God, but I almost got run over by the two elites who were fighting it out for second place, that's right second place! As I was hugging people, the only thing I could say was that "I did it."
Time for the pictures to do that talking for me...
|Patrick gave me my medal. I so wish I had a better picture of this. He is in the white jacket in front of Connor.|
|Having a celebratory beer!|
|Mike and my father-in-law Gene.|
|Photo bomb :)|
|Some of my MRTT group.|
If you aren't sick of seeing my pictures and reading my story, J&A made a video. It is AWESOME and I pretty sure the 550 of the 575 views are mine, lol!
Thanks again to J&A Racing, my family, friends, and everyone that cheered me on! It was an amazing experience! Thank you!!!