Monday, May 5, 2008


3:49:18 That was the final chip time, good enough for Boston.

Saturday I got up after a good night's sleep, did some laundry, got the boys' schedules organized and took off for Cincy. Had a rainy drive out, talked with a few people on the way, and listened to a book on tape. Arrived w/out any problems, checked in and went over to the Expo. Oh, when I checked in they gave me a room by the elevator, so I asked for a quieter room, and was moved to the top floor of the hotel. Very nice.

Got in and out of the Expo w/out a problem. While I was there one of the RW forumites called, Danielle, and said they were going to the Pasta Dinner shortly. Went up to meet her. Also met up with EJ, another forumite. It was exciting to meet these people in real life, but a bit odd when you think about it.

Didn't have much for dinner- RG and her DH were sitting with Kevin from Elite Runners/Walkers so we chatted a bit about Pittsburgh. When I got back to the room I ordered some pasta/bread from room service and took a bath.

At this point, I was pretty sleepy, but was still concerned about my hamstring. Some of the girls from GNO called from the Derby Party, so I got to chat with them, and say good night to Bob, which was nice.

Got some sleep, a couple of hours at a time, probably about 5 in all, which is good. Got up at 4:00, at my bagel, had some coffee, and took another epsom salt bath. Debated putting more balm on my legs, but decided against it. Was not successful with 'waste removal' which would come into play later in the day :(

Drove over to the start, parked and headed into the stadium. It was open, which was nice, b/c I got to use the women's bathroom inside. Dropped my stuff at the car, dropped some stuff at the bag drop, and went to find the 3:50 pace group just about 10 minutes before the start.

As I was getting into line, they were making an announcement that the start was going to be delayed 15 minutes due to a fire on the course. They were most likely going ot re-route us, and were working on the course certifcation. Of course I thought 'they'd better get it right, or at least a bit over, for BQ purposes'. Folks at the start were talking about this. Made one more trip to the porta-potties, but still no luck.

The 3:50 pacer, Matt started out really slowly--1st mile was 9:19. He said 'we're going to pick it up a bit,' so I ran a little bit faster, and left him behind during the 2nd mile. Mile 2 was way too fast: 8:06. Slowed down during mile 3- too much 9:43, and then made up for it in mile 4, 8:15. So, after the 1st four miles, I was on pace with 35:25, but they had been haphazard miles. The pace leader was no where to be seen. I fell in step with a fellow who was wearing a Garmin, so I figured at least he'd be on a constant pace.

The next four miles were:
8:42,8:30, 9:01- hill, 8:41. Perfect pacing in my mind. This was the hilly section of the course, I felt great-- not breathing hard. Hamstring was a bother, but not painful. Somewhere during this part, around mile 5-6 or so, I had a feeling that I was going to get my BQ. My body felt great, pacing was going well, and I just had an overall good feeling.

The next 5 miles were: 8:28,8:24,8:47 8:28 and 9:14 (1st porta-potty break). That got me to the 1/2 way point with a 1:53, 1 minute ahead of the 3:50 pace. Aside from the porta-potty break, I felt great.

I had read in the Pftizinger book that miles 13-20 were, in his words, 'no man's land' of the marathon, but the time to dig deep and hold on to your pace. I had two more porta-potty stops to make, which was frustrating, b/c after losing a minute or so, I had to work pretty hard to catch back up with the folks I was running along with. Fortunately, one guy had a bright green jacket on- he was easy to spot. There were also two women in bright pink tops running together who I was pacing with. This part of the course wound around through some neighborhoods-- great crowd support. My plan was to not get too far ahead of myself, but to maintain pace until mile 20. Miles 13-20 were: 8:21,9:04 (potty), 8:39, 8:34,8:29, 8:50 (potty), 8:34. This got me to the 20-mile mark with about a minute, 30 seconds in the bank.

At the 20-mile mark, for the first time I felt confident I was going to get my 3:50. I started passing people, which felt so awesome, and was focusing on the next person to pass. There was a stretch along a highway which was pretty desolate, and I was glad to get that over with and head back towards Cincy. Miles 20-24: 8:39, 8:26, 9:05?, and 8:40. This put me at mile 24, with still 90 seconds in the bank. I was hoping to break 3:48 at this point.

We then wound through a small park, and past sort of a warehouse section, which I found out later was part of the re-routing. When I was running through it, I was wondering, b/c the crowds had really thinned out, and usually you had great crowds during the last few miles of a big marathon. Mile 25 was 8:39, and I still had my 90 seconds. My last two splits are a bit confusing. I think the first 3:34 is from mile 25 to 25.2, then they had a timing mat, and someone was yelling 'this is what you've trained for the past 4 months, this last mile', which really hit home with me. I was still passing people at this point, and at mile 26, looked down at my watch and it read 3:47-- I started freaking out a bit-- I didn't want to miss my 3:50 by 30 seconds after all those miles of great pacing, and with a 90 second cushion. I turned on my last cylinder, and got it done.

I have that last mile split at 7:52. Final time: 3:49:18-- my chip time matched my watch time exactly! I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!!! It was such a great feeling, especially after the debacle which was the NYC marathon. I set a goal, trained my @ss off, and got it done.

Crossing the finish line, for the first time I wished DH was there to give me a big hug. I was pretty emotional, and teared up a bit into my Flying Pig towel. Got my medal, and wandered back to the finish line to see if EJ was coming in shortly.

All the while I kept wondering what happened during that last mile. Of course I was super excited, but WTF? I couldn't imagine that last 1.2 miles I was running at 9:34 pace.

Got into the car, called DH, who was thrilled for me! I had several text messages from friends/family with congratulations, which was so wonderful.

The ensuing shower, checkout and drive home were sort of anti-climatic, but it was so great getting hugs from the boys and DH. We celebrated by going to Mad Mex, and all three of them told anyone who would listen about my race. Super cute.

Just before we went to dinner, I got on RW, and someone there had posted a link to an article which said the course was long, by about 1/4 mile. So, now being me, I am waiting with bated breath to see what is going to happen. Of course I am fine for Boston, b/c I got my BQ w/out the adjustment. YEA!!!!!

So- what next? I definitely want to run the Ikea and Butler Trail half marathons this fall. If Pittsburgh is coming back next year, I might put Boston off until 2010, and do Pittsburgh in 2009. We'll see.... for now I'm just enjoying the success.

Yea me!

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