Hello, friends! Nice to chat with you again! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? The week before Thanksgiving was full of school insanity, and then, of course, I had a big holiday week last week. Fellow teachers: why is the week before a break so much crazier than others? It always seems like there are three times as many things going on, and let’s just say the kiddos definitely react to a looming holiday and amp up the nuttiness. Of course, the three weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas break takes it to a whole new level, and the mere thought of it was enough to give me a serious case of the Sunday blues yesterday.
Seriously, we deserve hazard pay.
But let us begin at the beginning. Saturday morning before last, I woke up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (well, it was like 4:45, but that might as well be the middle of the night for the first day of Thanksgiving break) to start my ten hour journey to Birmingham. Dad and I weren’t meeting up until Monroe, LA so I had about a five hour drive by myself.
Thanks to the fortuitous timing of The Trail Show‘s new episode, I was kept entertained during that drive, and those five hours zipped by pretty quickly. I met up with Dad, we combined our stuff into one car, and headed east.
We made it to Birmingham around 4:30, and were able to hit up packet pick up right before it closed up shop for the day. After taking our obligatory t-shirt picture, we grabbed some dinner, and went to the hotel to crash. Turns out a ten hour drive can be really exhausting!
The next morning we were able to sleep in a little bit as far race days are concerned since start time wasn’t until 8. We woke up and immediately checked the temperature since we knew a cold front was expected to blow in overnight. Sure enough, the temps were hovering right around the freezing mark, and the wind was fairly strong. That meant a return to my running capris, and we busted out our long-sleeved running shirts from Omaha.
The Magic City Half Marathon starts at Regions Field, and we didn’t have any trouble getting downtown and to a parking spot. We even sat in the car for about 15 minutes to avoid spending that time in the cold weather!
About ten til 8, we made our way to the start line, took care of last minute bathroom essentials, and waited for go time. The gun sounded just a few minutes after 8, and we were off!
Right away, I knew I was in for a little bit of discomfort. I don’t know how much I’ve mentioned it, but I am a terrible breather. I just do not do it well while running, and the cold simply excarebated it. The first few miles my legs felt frozen, and I sounded like I was dying. At one point, a passing runner turned around and looked at me because I sounded so bad. I know he was worried something was actually wrong!
Our pace was pretty fast, but I started worrying fairly early that a sub-2 wasn’t going to be possible. I knew I was struggling, and I doubted my ability to keep up that pace. I decided to race sans-Garmin this time (which I’ll talk more about in another post) so Dad was solely in charge of pacing us, and he kept saying we needed to be moving a little bit faster.
Despite all of that, the 2:00 hour pacer remained in our rearview until the 8.5 mile mark. At that point, we played leap frog with the group for the next 1.5, but a steep hill finally allowed them to pull away from us. I was crushed because I saw my sub-2 slipping away.
At mile 11, Dad told me there was still a possibility we could hit my goal, but that I had to push. Just after mile 12, I saw Mom and Joel cheering us on. They along with my grandma and aunt had decided to take a quick trip to Birmingham to see our race and do a little sightseeing so they were on had to be our cheering section. All you runners out there know what a huge boost it is to see family and friends on the course, and this was no exception. I was so happy to see them, and loved that they even made a sign!
With less than a quarter mile to go, we entered the baseball field to run the warning track to the finish. At that point, we had around thirty seconds to get the sub-2, and, unfortunately, it was just too much to cover.
Official time was 2:00:41, and, perhaps, I should call this an Even Greater Almost.
It was definitely a bittersweet ending because while I did PR, I was 42 seconds short of my goal, and that was disappointing.
However, it’s time to move onward and upward, and our very last (say what?!) race for the year is in two weeks. I’ve been putting in the work, and I’m hoping that I close out 2015 with that sub-2 finish. We shall see!