It's nearly 5 months later!! How did we get here!?... Before I go into my excuses, let me tell you about the race. It would not be fair otherwise.
Basically, it was amazing!!... I never felt nervous (other than a little wave of adrenaline when we missed our freeway exit, but that was solved by an illegal u-turn). I started the race with Holly but her pace was a wee bit too fast for me so I worked my way over to the side and slowed down. The light was so amazing at that time of the morning, the air was so perfect. I felt so emotional. I got choked up several times in the first few miles. It felt so surreal. I was starting on a journey of 13.1 miles! There were bands at many points along the way. There were people out there cheering us on... at 7am!... I felt so good. I ran my first mile faster than planned (a rookie mistake!) even though I tried to be conscious of it. I guess the adrenaline had me feeling too good. I tried to slow but still paced too fast. The race was an 'out and back' which meant that of my group, since I was the slowest, I would be able to see them as they were on their return. It was really amazing to see the elite runners... I think I was at mile 4 when they were returning. I nearly made myself dizzy and sick trying to look for my friends in the 6,000 faces coming the opposite way - but I saw all except one and cheered them. For the first 8 miles I think I felt like I was floating. It was so good. Then at mile 8, the turnaround, I realized that I would not see any more friends, that it was just me here on out. Around mile 9 it started getting hard. At mile 11 it got really hard. At mile 12 it was really, really hard and I wanted to walk so badly. I tried negotiating... remember the voices I talked about?!... Loud and clear: "you'll finish, you're here. who cares if you walk the last mile". The reply: "you can slow your pace, stop and stretch but you can NOT WALK. You did not run 12 miles in training to walk the last mile in the actual RACE". Period. Agony. I thought my legs would cramp up. Walking was actually more painful than running. I thought I had nothing left. Nothing. But then I hit mile 13... only .1 to go and I took off like a gazelle. I'm not joking. I have no idea where the reserves were, perhaps it was pure adrenaline. But I started sprinting. I passed several runners. I got emotional again. I soaked in the moment. The people cheering on the sidelines. The feeling of exhaustion combined with exhilaration. There it was, the finish line. I did it. I did it. I could barely breath and a woman with a camera puts me in front of an official backdrop for a photo. I managed a very shaky smile and a very cheesy thumbs up. The comes the snack tables. I hear Holly call my name, we hug and cry. Very emotional. We manage to find some other friends, head back to the rental spot and celebrate.
There. That was the race in a nutshell. It was amazing. Then life took off and I felt like a tidal wave came over me. I ran a few times after and it felt great. But work got busy, a part time job demanded full time efforts and time flew by. The weather was cold, wet and stormy. My muscles faded, body fat accumulated. It was depressing. I had a faded memory of how good I had felt when I was training. I wanted it back. I recently quit the 'part time' job. The sun came out (literally). And I got out all my running clothes again. I managed to run twice last week. Just short 2.5 mile runs. Miserable. But yesterday, I don't know what got into me, I signed up for two half marathons. The Bizz Johnson in October and the SF Half in July. I feel panic now. But it got me out running this morning. Took Lola and went around Lake Merritt. Not fun, but I did it.
And in the end, when I climbed back into my car, I was pleased to feel an old friend; fatigue.