Back from Cleveland and I had a blast! Before I left I looked up my bib number and I really like it because it had "18" on the end. I had a dream I ran a 4:18:00 and was hoping this was a sign. My last marathon was a 4:23:10 so a 4:18 would have been a sweet improvement!
I left Danville around 12:30 on Friday and was on my first out of state road trip! The drive was great and I made it to Cleveland early enough to go out for Mexican with Monica so I was a happy girl! We made plans the next day to see the sights of Cleveland. I had an awesome tour guide. I was able to see the really nice parts of Cleveland, go to the West Side Market and eat a famous cupcake from Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson AND get some sweet deals at an outlet mall in Aurora.
Check out our yummy pasta:
Above is the only race day pictures I have since it rained the whole time! Monica and I met a group of her friends at the Embassy Suites and it was the great place to start a race because there were nice bathrooms : ) We walked straight down to the finish line and did not have to wait outside in the misty, cool weather for long. It was a huge race so we had to get in the corral close to the 4:45 pace group : ( When we took off we knew we had some work to do!
Mile 1-3: (10:05, 9:19. 9:11) Elbow to elbow and trying to fight for some room. These miles went by super fast and Monica and I were still together. Can you tell the first mile was packed!
Mile 3-Mile 6 (9:59, 9:36, 9:45) Somewhere after mile 3 I realized I had to pee so I hopped over in the bushes with the guys! I think it annoys them when I do that but I am not a porta potty kind of girl. These miles also went fast and I honestly felt like I had been running maybe 20 minutes. Monica told me to go on ahead and mile 6 so took off. We had already caught and passed the 4:30 group so I told myself I was running to catch the 4:15 group. I honestly thought it was impossible because I was trying not to pay attention to time or pace and just have fun. I took a Gu right before mile 6 and noticed I had lost my second Gu during my bathroom stop. Luckily they were giving out Gus later so I grabbed a second one then.
Mile 7-11 (9:15, 9:33, 9:36, 9:13, 9:05) There were quite a few spectators during this part so that helped a lot. The race course is not something to go on and on about so I was simply getting by on spectators and playing games in my head. I felt so good it was scary! I knew I needed to slow down but I kept running too fast. So I wasn't too shocked when I came down the big bridge and found the 4:15 group At this point I told myself I HAD to slow down and stay with the 4:15 group.
Mile 12-Mile 19 (9:20, 9:23, 9:29,9:44, 9:30, 9:44, 9:34, 9:32) This is when the impossible happened! I met a guy that talked MORE than me. I had been getting by on "ear hustling" and not actually talking myself until I met Tony. He was driving me nuts but he wanted to stay with the 4:15 group too so I ran beside him for a while and I think it helped pass the time. When I passed 15 I was wondering if the I would start hurting like I usually do. At every mile marker I would just kind of do a body check and tell myself one more mile at this pace and I will slow down if I have to. I also had to hit the bushes again at mile 19.5! Guess I was hydrated enough and getting enough fluids. Might have been the rain too because it really picked up around mile 14. I ate my 6 cliff blocks during this time.
Mile 20 - 26.2 (9:44, 9:45, 9:58, 9:45, 9:43, 9:27, 10:09, 3:08 (last .4) At mile 20 it was time to count it down! I had some starbursts and the race Gu but I was not feeling like I needed to eat so I passed. For awhile I just hung at the back of the 4:15 pace group and enjoyed listening to people talk. I knew I had Monica meeting me at 22 so I had that to look forward too! However, she was not at 22 or 23 : ( and I was starting to get worried. I never hit a wall and the pain was never bad but I obviously had the "just want to be done" feeling going on! We hit a couple good down hills but Cleveland likes to run up overpasses and that was getting on my nerves. We did run my Lake Erie around mile 22ish and it was gorgeous for the whole 6 minutes we had a view. Tried to eat starbursts jellybeans but they had too much flavor for me. Mile 24 I found Monica and we were ready to knock out 2 more miles! Not sure how I was a 10:09 that last mile because I was flying downhill to the finish! Either way I felt great and was super pumped when I passed the 4:15 at a water stop and never saw them again. I did not believe for a minute I was that fast and figured they were a crappy pace group or something BUT when I crossed the finish line my watch said 4:12:44
I was in shock! Not only did I finish faster than I though possible but I felt great! Unfortunately the rain was coming down and it was super cold and windy as we walked back to the truck. We even had a slight scare when we found the parking garage locked up (but a security guard was on duty). Then it was time to hit the shower and hop in my truck for a 7 hour drive home. That was the worst part since I was having post run belly issues and had to make a couple of pit stops. Eating was impossible that day so I having my celebration dinner Monday night with my parents. It will be Mexican of course. I also have a Jennifer cookie from On the Rise that Monica told me was the best cookie ever and she was right. I told myself I could have a Jennifer cookie when I was done and also told myself I could get my new tattoo if I broke 4:15. Looks like my foot will be getting a new addition.
What is next? I am thinking Erie PA in September for my next full. Other than I am not sure but we all know I will not go 3 months without racing at all : ) I wish there was a close, cheap full this summer but I have not found one. Thanks for reading!