Race: GW Marathon Relay
Date: Feb 18, 2013
Location: Greenbelt, MD
Race Type: Marathon relay: 7.4 miles
I'd like to think of this race as my #1 bipolar race! there were some really high "highs" and some really low "lows." And, as I watched everything unfold, it was quite interesting.
I was excited about this race as it would be my first ever relay and I was partnered up with two pretty awesome runners - Erica & Maureen.
I knew this was going to be a tough race with temperatures in the low 20's and winds gusting from 20-30 mph! YIKES! But, only a few weeks ago I had run 6 miles in very similar temps and my leg of this race was only 7.4 miles. So, I was confident. The only problem was my training hadn't taken me up and down a bunch of hills nor had the wind gusts been quite so strong on that day.
My hamstrings have been an issue for the past few months and I haven't made it to the doctor - something I would totally have told someone ELSE to do. (Note: I did get a referral to go to a doctor last Friday! Brownie points?). With my hamstrings all tied up in knots, I've really only had a few training runs since Jan 1st but, hey, I've run this distance a million times so SURELY it wouldn't be a problem!
If I'm honest, the bulk of my day was less about racing and more about cheering! My lovely relay partners had 9.6 and 9.2 miles respectively. Since the race was three big loops, Team Z had one cheer station set up and we ROCKED THE Z (and, of course, I rocked the big green Z wig...hey, it was warmer than my running hat!).
When it was time for me to run I was all prepared! I took off with a good pace and was feeling great. The beginning of my loop was a short downhill and I thought to myself "Awesome, I love downhills! This is going to be a great race!" Yeah, that lasted for about a minute! I then saw a slight uphill...then another downhill...and an uphill...yeah, you get the point. It was a rolling course (which, of course I knew because I had read Coach Alexis' emails before the race!). I just figured those "rolling hills" he mentioned couldn't possibly be much different than the WOD trail I train on most of the time. But, as I told my relay partners several times on the trip to the race - once you cross over into Maryland it's a different world in many, MANY ways...and this was just one of those ways!
Anyway, with the hamstring issues, IT band issues, cold, wind, snow, etc...this race just wasn't working for me! And, at certain points, I walked the hills...but not for long...it was too dang cold to stop moving! However, during one of my walking points a girl came alongside of me who really made my day. Her name was Carly and she was 17 years old running her first marathon (poor girl - not the greatest "first time friendly" race!). She was from PA and was in cross country and track so she had a good foundation of running. But, as she told me, she really underestimated a marathon! Walking up the hill, we decided to start running close to the top in anticipation for our next downhill. As it turned out, that downhill was our downhill into transition. So, I quickly moved ahead of her. Her dad had joined her by this time and commented how strong I was as I was passing them. I said, Oh, I'm just getting ahead of her so I can have my team cheer for her up ahead. So, as I came up to the Team Z cheer team I announced for them to cheer for Carly - a first time marathoner who was 17 years old. The crowd began cheering in typical Z fashion and it helped push Carly through that moment in time.
As it turns out, I was at the finish line when Carly finished. Her parents were so grateful for Team Z's cheers and her mom said when she heard my announcement at transition she actually began crying. It was so very touching for her...and Carly's dad. As Carly crossed the finish line, I couldn't help it...I began crying like a big baby. I was so thrilled for her to complete this goal. She then came over and gave me a big hug while her mom snapped away with the camera. We were all in tears!
I remember my first marathon. I remember those feelings of crossing the finish line. And, with that, my day was made!