I’ll race ya…tales from the Cape Cod Marathon

I’ll race ya… Those were the last words I uttered on the course Sunday.

To the young guy I came upon in the finish chute. He looked over, I smiled and took off. Alone in the chute to the cheers of tons of strangers yelling my name. Nothing like finishing feeling like a rock star.

But let me go back to the beginning. πŸ™‚

It was an absolutely perfect fall day for my 6th marathon (and third this year). My goal was to start slow, run easy and finish strong. And to enjoy the course. And hopefully finish before the Patriots game started at 1pm. Lol

The course started and finished in downtown Falmouth in front of the Village Green. Headed out to sea, hugged the coast, crossed over through sights including cranberry bogs (one currently being harvested), a beautiful golf course and great foliage to the coast on the other side, around to the nobska lighthouse and back up the coast.

The race started with a lovely rendition of America the beautiful and a cannon shot and we were off.

It’s not easy to restrain yourself at the beginning of a race but I kept telling myself “you got a long way to go, stick with the plan”. And when I hit mile 1 at 10:31 I smiled and thought “perfect.”

The hills began early (this is a very hilly course) but were short and all followed by downs. At the top of the hill before mile 3 I spotted my husband on the sidewalk at the bottom. I slid over and gave him a high-five. And he reminded me “don’t run too fast”. πŸ™‚

At some point I ended up side by side with two other runners, one barefoot (lunatic!)0, and fell into pace with them for a few miles. It was fun to have company and people to chat with, but I needed to run alone and focus. So around mile 12 when they stopped for water I upped my pace to get ahead.

I never looked at my mile paces after the first mile. I didn’t want to be influenced. I kept it on watch time so I knew when to gel, but that was it. However, they did have clocks set up every file miles and at the half. So when I hit the halfway point in 2:16 I knew I was right where I wanted to be. And still feeling pretty good.

Around mile 15 the ugly hills started. It was a really long one and I focused and got low and used my arms as I had to to pull me up it. And was rewarded with a nice long downhill. And so it continued.

And when it gets rough you start playing games with yourself. Like “no walking before 18” to “you’re totally fine, no walking til 20”. To “you ran 21 two weeks ago, you can keep going”. And at the water stop just before mile 21 I grabbed a cup and stopped to drink it. It wasn’t walking, it was a short break where i commiserated with a woman doing the same that we’re most of the way there – we can keep going.

And keep going I did. To mile 22, where I had to walk long enough to take my gel because I was no longer coordinated enough to eat while running. Lol and then at 23 when my right shoe started making a weird flapping noise. And I started thinking “please don’t tell me my shoe broke. But I am not stopping” and I looked up and saw the hill and went yeah – we’re walking up that sucker. Not worth running it. It will hurt.

And I hit almost the top and started running. At this point a runner came past me a bit quickly. I looked over, saw her yellow bib and said “oh phew, you’re relay” she laughed and said “are you kidding me? I could never run a marathon. You people are crazy”. Yep, we kinda are.

Then on til about mile 25 when I stopped to take water. And thought this is where the grit kicks in. This is where you find out what you’re truly made of.

And then to the turn back into town. At that point (mile 25.5) I decided I would run walk to the mile 26 sign so I could easily run the rest of it.

So I made deals with myself – run to the tree, walk to the next. Of course I’d be halfway into the walk piece and start running again. I guess a 15 second walk break was enough each time.

As i neared the mile 26 sign and took one last walk break an older gentleman was walking towards me. He said “almost there – the crowds are waiting for you. Time to dance” I replied “time to drink!” And we both laughed.

But he’s right – it was time to dance. Time to take that .2 mile victory lap through the crowds. And there on the left was Kevin and Gus. I waved hello and said “hi puppy! Hi honey I love you” and grinning ear to ear headed into the chute.

Where I pulled alongside that other runner and made my challenge. Eyes on the finish, running full out (crossed the finish at a 5:56/mi pace) I crossed that magic line.

Finish time? 4:35:16. A PR by almost exactly 5 minutes. And, just about when kickoff started at the Patriots game. Lol so I hit my goals all the way around.

Yep…I love a good race. And some awesome bling. πŸ™‚IMG_6464.PNG

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