Providence Rhode Races – the road to a PR

I have a new favorite number. It’s 4:23:37. 

That, my friends, is my new marathon PR. 🙂

I read something recently that said it’s what you do in the offseason that sets the base for your training. And I spent the offseason building speed and building strength. And that translated so well into my marathon training. 

My long runs all came in under my goal pace. I kept up with my strength training and speedwork. I tried to master the art of quick recovery. 

And it all came together. And it gave me confidence. 

This was my 7th marathon and the first one I wasn’t nervous for. No freak outs. No doubt. Just absolute faith that I was going to PR.  

And others knew it too. I got a lot of “you are so going to do it” the week before the race. And instead of “I hope so” I replied with “yeah, I am”. 

And then there were the signs…Friday night? A shooting star. Saturday morning? Our first hummingbird of the year.  

And my friend kicked asphalt at her 5k and set a PR! Yay Karen!!!!

So Sunday morning, when I toed that start line beside my sole sister, coach and cheerleader Lori, I knew magic was about to happen. 

I spent the first 15 miles under my goal pace. But wasn’t running hard, just confidently. I knew the pace would slow a little once I started using water stops. And as the sun and the temps rose, my pace would slow a little too. 

I only checked the time once. As we crossed mile 13. And was happy with it. In fact only six miles were slower than my goal pace.  As expected. But my faster miles were enough above it to compensate. 

I tried to only walk at water stops. But there was a hilly section that was inevitable.  In fact one hill was so steep I wasn’t sure I could even walk it. Lol

But that too shall pass. And to the girl that came flying up it running and passed us? Wow – impressive!

After the mile 25 water stop it was all business.  I hurt. I was having trouble controlling my breathing, my rib cage hurt and I wanted it over. I didn’t want to stop. I just wanted to be done. 

And I embraced the pain. The lesson we are taught as runners to “get comfortable being uncomfortable”. I sucked it up. And this was where having a pacer came in so handy. Because she wouldn’t let me give up on myself. She knew what I was capable of and made sure I knew it too. And mile 26? Our fastest since mile 17. Lol

And when we turned the corner to the clock I almost fainted. It was under 4:24. And I never looked at Lori. Or the crowd to see if Kevin was there. I stared at that clock, trying to beat every last second I could. I kicked harder than I knew was possible and crossed the finish. 

Got my medal, and almost returned some blue Gatorade to the course. Lol That, my friends, is how you know you have wrenched every last drop out of yourself. 🙂

Thank you to the volunteer and emt who were concerned. But it was just that sudden stop that did me in. A water and a little walking and I was fine. And grinning.  And repeating “holy f@ck”. 

Because I did it. I really did it. I didn’t just break 4:30. I didn’t just take out that asterisk. I beat my dream goal of 4:24.  I got a 4:23:37. 

Side notes…

Having a friend who is so much faster than you that she can stop to say hi to people she knows, take photos along the course and even of you from behind and catch up easily is awesome. It really made me laugh. And laughter during a marathon is a very good thing. 

Also funny? The “mile 26. Just kidding” sign at mile 10. 

And this morning, I hung my medal with the others and said “ladies and gentlemen. This is PR”. And then I turned to my Boston marathon shadow box, where the 4:26 “projected finish” certificate sits. I pointed to it and said softly “I win”. 

   
     

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