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Mercedes Marathon

Merecedes Half Marathon 2014

Saturday night was my normal pre race shuffle of laying out my outfit (had to decide what to wear first!), gathering all of my stuff to take, making my race playlist, etc.

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When I got off the interstate, so much adrenaline coursed through me that I thought I was going to vomit. And they had roads closed that they don’t normally have closed, and so parking was super fun.

Meredith was going to ride down with me, but she woke up late and didn’t want to make me late for meeting my fellow Resolute Runners… We look cold.  photo RRMercedes_zps46497964.jpg

 

I found my C-town buddies staying warm inside Boutwell Auditorium.

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We walked to the start line about 10 minutes before the race started and I lined up with the 4 hour marathon pacer. My plan was to stay with her, but keep an eye on my watch and stay as close to 9:05 as I could.
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The gun went off and I had a brain fart and started my watch early… so much for it being time reliable at that point. After about 3-4 miles, I realized what a bad decision I made with wearing long sleeves.. should have done a tank for sure. I was feeling good though, staying with the pacer. She was a little fast, clocking those miles in the 8:50′s and between miles 5-6 and I decided to do what my coach told me, and back off. I still had a long way to go. I hit the 10K split in 54 minutes, which is a PR for that. I made through 5 points, no problem, but when I hit the Highlands, my brace came untied and I had to stop and tie it, and I basically lost all momentum at that point. I couldn’t rally. Miles 7 and 8 were my slowest. I switched my watch view to pace instead of time/distance so I could keep an eye on my pace. I tried to make up lost time on a hill (so smart! Not.) and told myself “do not let your pace get above a 9:30″ and I just watched it creep up and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I knew at that point, that the sub 2 was gone from my grasp.

I tried to hold on to the fact that I could still PR and I’ve never cursed anything more than I did running at mile 12. That last mile will get you. I crossed the finish line to cheers from some RR teammates and that made me smile. I PR’d with a 2:02:30.

I can’t say enough of the online support that I receive via Instagram and Twitter. You people rock!!!

I was so proud of Katelyn, who ran her first half yesterday and killed it.

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Jo Ann, Katelyn, and myself post race… Jo Ann is a rock star runner.
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It’s safe to say that post race, Katelyn and I had fun. This is basically all that we did. I told her we were lucky that her mom doesn’t know how to Vine or else there would be so interesting videos out there of our dancing.
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I’m trying to be okay with not breaking my 2 hour time goal. I keep playing a lot of “what if” scenarios in my head, which makes it hard. I’m going to run Tuscaloosa in 3 weeks, so we are hoping it happens there. By the time I got home yesterday, Coach Ann had already sent me my training, so we’ve got some work over the next 3 weeks to prepare. I refuse to turn 30 without hitting sub 2.

I felt like I had been hit with a baseball bat after I got home yesterday. I took two naps. You know that achy-can’t-get-comfortable-feeling like you get with the flu? That’s how I felt. My lower back is sore from my phone in my spi-belt– I should stop running with my phone, honestly. My feet are ridiculously tender and I have blood blisters… thank the lord it isn’t flip flop weather! I also chaffed pretty bad in a area that no woman wants to be chaffed. I guess I will be spending some quality time with my foam roller this week since my hamstrings are like rocks.

I’m going to be honest. When I got home, and after I had taken my first nap and showered (in that order. Hubs called me gross.), I uploaded my splits and started looking and analyzing (what? C’mon. You know you do it too.) and I just started crying. I was so disappointed that I let it slip through my fingers.

Ever had a race like that? That just took a complete nose dive halfway through?? How did you recover?

Mercedes Half Marathon

I have officially completed 1/3 of my Spring half marathons and let me tell you, I am still floating on cloud 9 about this race.

I was sort of (okay a LOT) freaking out about it. The pressure I was putting on myself to sub 2:15 this race was INSANE. I got a surprise in the mail from Mary (which. when she told me she was sending me something, I was totally expecting a funny saying on a pair of thong underwear that we kept seeing in Key West.) on Thursday, and tears were in my eyes when I opened it. The bracelet says WWCD? What would Clowney Do? Getting that bracelet from Mary, helped me calm the eff down and realize that I could do this. It may not be this weekend, but it was coming.

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I knew the weather was going to be cold and everyone kept telling me it was going to be 25 at the start. I knew I would need some throw away clothing for along the course. I decided on the piece of clothing I have owned the longest. I know Philly was glad to see it go, since it came from an ex-boyfriend 13 years ago, but at one time, it was the only sweatshirt I owned.

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I packed my bag the night before, because, well, that 4 am wake up call was NOT my friend.

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These numbers blow my mind. Too early and TOO cold.

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We made it downtown to wait inside Boutwell to stay warm. Shannon was running her first full and my goal was to stay with her and Kelly and knock out as many 9:40 miles as we could.

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The corrals were crazy busy and we ended up hanging on the sidewalk until the gun went off and people starting moving. I decided to shed the sweatshirt before crossing the start line since temperature wise, I was comfortable in it what I had on. Yes, I said goodbye to it. Sue me. I was sad to see the sweatshirt go!

Maleah snapped this pic of us-I love how caught off guard I am.

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We started out conservative.. especially for us. 10:00 first mile. I’ll be honest.. I was a little mad. I know how I do in races, and I tend to fall apart around mile 10-11. I needed to have those good times in the beginning to make up for a crappy ending.

Now, since I can’t read an elevation chart, a friend so nicely told me, “Once you reach the Chevron in 5 points, it’s all downhill from there.” This course is generally flat, minus miles 4-6 with some steep climbs. I saw the Chevron, and just beyond said Chevron, was a hill. LIAR, I said in head. But then, I came through 5 points and there was another Chevron and it was literally starting a downhill.. so. Yeah. My bad. Right after the 10K split was a hill and I just kept pushing up it (yep. Me. I pushed myself UP A HILL.) and lost Kelly and Shannon around that point. I kept holding back with them because I was afraid I would need to push later from them.

I did walk through my first water station that was uphill and Kelly and Shannon caught back up with me. We ran through the Highlands for a little bit.. just long enough to spot Dad and Karen! I ran over and gave my dad a kiss, all while Karen was screaming “That’s our daughter, Rachel!! Right there! Run Rachel!” and people were turning around and cheering. Definitely a racing highlight for me. Dad and Karen always come out to support races, no matter how big or small and it means so much to have them there.

Karen snapped this pic..

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I think mile 9 was a good bit of downhills and I took a GU at that point. I was still feeling good, still had some left in the tank and I was holding out for that final stretch. At one point, I looked around and realized, I was in the presence of mostly men and I just started weaving in and out of people, picking me feet up. It felt good. No matter how many races I run, mile 10-11 is ALWAYS the longest and the hardest. You wouldn’t think it’d be that way. You’ve hit double digits, and you have less than a 5K left. I believe this was the point that I did some bad math in my head and thought I was going to come in around 2 hours, but I realized, even if I feel off and had to run walk the last 2 miles, I was going to make that sub 2:15 goal. That got the adrenaline pumping again, and it helped me pick up my step– I started seeing 9:15′s and 9:14′s for those final miles. I kicked it up through the shoot, and crossed the finish line with a clock time of 2:09. By the time I made it through the finishers shoot, the texts and tweets were coming through. I had broken both goals I set for myself this year. A sub 2:15 and a sub 2:10.

I called Dad but they were still stuck over on Highland. I called John and he informed me that I was smart to come in around when the wheelchair racers finished, because I had a tv finish. :)

I found Donnie when he got done and we went over to Boutwell for the after party..

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Jim N Nick’s provided the post race food.. and if you know me, you know I do NOT eat BBQ. But I happily ate this pulled pork sandwich.

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I was on cloud 9 all day. I couldn’t believe what I had accomplished. I also couldn’t believe the outpour of support from twitter and Instagram. Seriously.. blog friends ROCK.

Me and my medal! And all of my Lululemon glory, I might add.

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Donnie and I drank and chatted for a while until it was time for Shannon and Kelly to finish. I don’t ever get to spectate races, and it’s nothing short of amazing watching those relay teams and individuals cross a marathon finish line. Some are elated, some are struggling, but they are all badasses in my opinion.

Me, Shannon, and Kelly

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Me and more beer… lesson learned. Beer is proper post race hydration. No matter how yummy.

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I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this goal. My next goal is obviously a sub 2, or as close to it as I can get for Nike in April. I’ve got one more half in two weeks, and the goal there is to finish. As of today, I still have no desire to do a full marathon, but the desire to complete a 70.3 is growing, so I think that will be the next big goal.. probably for 2014. The year of my 30th birthday.

Mercedes was a great course and honestly, the best I have ever felt physically and mentally through an entire race. I guess all that hill training paid off. :)

My official time was 2:06:37.

Thank you for all of the support that y’all have given me.. it feels amazing to get that sub 2:15 monkey off my back.

 

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