When I got off work, we packed the car and headed up to Sac to get my race bib and then head over to my brothers to stay with them. I was exhausted. We had planned on going out to dinner that evening but I had no energy so we had a quiet night at home. I decided that I would try every cold/cough medicine on the planet at the same time to get rid of the damn cough. My doctor had prescribed me a pill but it wasn't doing the trick. Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but I tried Robitusin, Benadryl and the doctor prescribed cough medicine all at once. I downed them with a gin and tonic and went to bed at around 9 pm, which was really 10 pm! Way later than I usually get to bed for a race. Surprisingly I slept like a baby and didn't wake up at all coughing. LOL! :) When I woke up on race day, I felt okay, not fab, but knew I could finish the race.
First off, the race logistics for this race is just awesome. It starts at Ralley field, home of the Sac River Cats. Parking was super easy. They had warned everyone to get there early and so we got to the stadium at around 6:30. Our car was saying 42 out and it was a bit windy. So we decided to stay in the car as long as possible because of my cold. I texted Aron that I was there and she was hitting up the potties and then heading back to her car, too. I figured we would meet up at the start line. We left the car around 7:15. I really didn't have to use the rest room so we hung around near the start line. I did about a 15 min warm up job, just under the 2 miles I needed and then ditched my sweatshirt and heat blanket and lined up near the front between the 1:40 and 1:50 pace groups. I was shooting to keep 8:00 min miles but I really had no expectations. I wasn't feeling all that fab and just wanted to get the miles in.
The start line
Waiting for the start - I look happy, don't I?
At the start line I kept looking for Aron and never found her. She said she was wearing her bright blue hat but that day everyone had on a bright blue hat! So when the race started I hoped I would just see her out there. I had Ari on the bike next to me and that was a big help. I was nervous for the first time for a race when it started so knowing he was close was a big confidence booster. The first mile was uneventful and I came in right at 7:59. I felt really good and told myself to just hold it here. My second mile was even better, I came to mile 2 at 15:38. A bit fast but I was feeling really good and figured if I could hold onto this I would be fine. Just before mile three I finally saw Aron! She was looking good and strong. We checked in with each other and kept cruising. This was also before the first little "hill." It went smoothly and I picked up the pace on mile three thinking the whole time I am not going to feel this great the whole race! I was though, my legs were turning over, I wasn't coughing, the weather was perfect with my arm warmers and I just went with it. This was also an out and back spot and I saw Tara at this point lookin' strong! I hit mile 4 at 30:38 and knew I was really rockin' it and finally had embraced how great it was to be racing.
I had just looked at my watch at mile 4 and saw my time - I was really excited and finally thought that I would make a decent time and feel really good. Don't you just love that face! LOL!
Every time I looked at my Garmin, I was in the 7:40 range. I have really been working all my runs in the 7:50 range and many miles in the 7:40 range and it was finally paying off. With the great weather and the really cool course, I was nailing times I had no idea would come to me when just the night before I was feeling like crap. I guess my training was paying off even when I wasn't at my peak.
The course is really windy and you head through some really great parts of Sac. In the beginning you pass the state capital, you cross over twice the Tower Bridge and then you also head into Old Sacramento which is really cute. Around mile five we hit Old Sac and there were lots of spectators.
Running through Old Sac
Again, I was just cruising. Mile five and the first half of six were un-eventful. Around 6.55, the half way mark we charged up a little hill and all of a sudden my stomach went crazy! Like RIGHT AWAY! I had to use the bathroom and I felt sick! I was freaking out because I saw no porta potties and was so afraid I would have to pull off into the bushes! But at the same time I didn't want to loose time! Finally at 7.10 there was a bank of potties and I ran in! I got super sick! Like I was throwing up and going potty! It was awful. When I came out Ari said Aron had just passed me and that I hadn't lost too much time - about 1:45. I felt better right away. I tried at this point to take a Gu and I just couldn't get it down. I was gagging. So I threw it back to Ari and hoped for the best. I found Aron again and she had this surprised look on her face like where did you come from? LOL! We checked in with one another again and we were off. I hit mile 8 at 1:02 and change - right on target. Mile 9 we entered a gated community and it was my fastest miles in 7:18. It was great. That bathroom stop, as BAD as it was, helped me gain my speed back and then some. I was cruising along during mile 10 and hit mile 11 on the out and back portion. I was feeling okay and kept checking in with myself. But I knew that something was up. My legs weren't turning over again that easily anymore and I knew it was because I had no nutrition in me. I had got little gatorade or water down over the course of the race and when I would think about it I would gag!
By mile 11.5 I felt like someone had taken my batteries out and I had shut down. I was struggling. All of a sudden, Aron comes up behind me and taps my arm and pulls me with her. I needed that sooooo bad! (thanks Aron) and I began to run with her. At mile 12 there was a little uphill that just wore me out, but I had Aron with me and just stayed with her. She was running at a good clip and I knew we were on track for a decent time. Before the bathroom stop, I had a sub 1:40 in the bank no problem, after mile 11.5 when everything changed I was just hoping to finish. I stuck with Aron the rest of the race. At around mile 12.75 she took off with about 10 seconds on me. I tried to chase her down and stick with her but I knew she was in PR territory so I let her go and just held on to my clip. At the mile 13 marker you could see the finish inside Ralley field and I took off. I ran as fast as I could! I saw Aron cross and I finished right behind her!
Garmin: 13.05 miles 1:42:56 7:51/mile pace
Official Stats: 13.1 miles
1:42:47 7:51/mile pace
366 overall, 29/989 age group.
When we crossed Aron and I gave each other a big hug! She did awesome and she saved my butt out there. I had ran a great race but she did pull me through at mile 11.5. I felt great after I crossed the finish line. I wasn't drained. But I think the lack of nutrition really did a number on me, along with throwing up everything I had in me including my breakfast. My tank was empty. I ran a great race, and I know now that my training is paying off. I had no expectations and I ran by feel instead of the pressure of the clock - all a runner could ask for.
Best running sherpa ever!
This was a great course. For the first time I paid attention to what I was running past and through because I wasn't a slave to my Garmin. The course turns a lot which you would think would be crappy, but it was always changing and it made for it to feel like it was going by fast. I learned a lot out there, too. a) don't take every cold medicine known to man the night before a race - I think that is what caught up with me at mile 7. b) don't be a slave to the Garmin and enjoy your race surroundings. I really just tried to soak it all in and not pay attention to my legs. I just ran and enjoyed it.
My fam came out to cheer me on, I was so happy! We didn't stick around long as I was getting cold easily. The race temps were great, low 50's but after we stopped running it was cold! We headed to my favorite breakfast spot in Sac, Tower Cafe to fuel up since I still had around 5 left for the day to try and get in.
My big Bro Michael and nephew William at breakfast
My SIL Suz and Michael
Ari, aka running sherpa and me
Best support crew ever!
I fueled up on French Toast and fruit and we headed back to Elk Grove. I wanted to let my tummy settle a bit and then I hit the road for another 5 SLOW miles. They weren't too painful, but my stomach was full. I finished the day with 19.95 miles, just short of my 20 - I'll take it.
I didn't ice bath or anything since my legs felt fine. They weren't really sore or tired, so I put on my recovery socks and called it a day. Today in fact, I feel great and am looking forward to going home after work for a quick recovery run.
I finished the week strong, even though I fought this cold. It's getting better, the cough isn't every 60 seconds and aside from the lack of sleep due to the time change, I feel pretty darn good for hitting 50 miles this week.
I have to have another big shout out to Aron for waking me up and pulling me at mile 11 - THANKS GIRLY! You knew just what I needed! Congrats on the PR, too! Tara, Layla and Page also did rockin' times, congrats girls! I'm off to catch up on everybody's weekend of races!
Happy Monday and Happy Running!