What a great weekend. First off, this happened:
That would be me and Meb. Pretty incredible, amazing, once in a lifetime, etc. but I’ll start at the beginning.
Saturday morning I left with Steve at 8:30 and swallowed a big dose of mom guilt about missing Jasper’s belt test. We made it to Dallas uneventfully. One key point about the weekend was 100% chance of thunderstorms so ponchos were purchased on the way up. I wasn’t excited about running 26 miles in a downpour but this was my last attempt at a goal race this year, so I was doing pretty good with a suck it up attitude. Steph made it in from the airport and we trekked to the expo in some muggy, dreary weather. But not before this:
The expo was pretty standard and wasn’t too crowded. Steve wandered off to look at shoes and Stephanie and I were in line to buy gels when he called saying Meb was there signing race bibs. I knew he was there along with other elites to run a half marathon relay as a tempo run and create a little buzz around the race. I didn’t know there would be an expo appearance we raced over to Steve only to discover that Meb’s manager had declared the autograph line closed and we missed it by just a minute ( and the line was only a few people long). A couple more people shoved past the manager disregarding his request. As Meb was leaving, the manager grabbed us and said we could take a picture with him “since you guys followed the rules, you can get a selfie with Meb.” How cool is that? I was so excited all I could get out is “I’m a huge fan!” I think Meb said thanks…but I was starstruck. Good thing Stephanie could get the picture because I don’t think I could have pulled off a very good selfie. It was the highlight of my race weekend for sure. I may have to send out another round of photo Christmas cards….hehe. It also put on the pressure…one cannot have a bad marathon when they get a picture with Meb at said marathon.
Next they announced Deena Kastor was available to meet fans so we went off on more celebrity hunting. I don’t know if people really knew who she was or what because no one was really there. I was super excited to get a picture with her, but I have to confess I was way more excited for Meb. But this is pretty cool:
She was super tiny and I could really tell how lean the elites are even compared to a very fit recreational athlete. They just have a lifetime of living as an athlete 24/7. And it shows in their body composition for sure.
After a fun afternoon of playing Spot It at the hotel and a very nice prerace dinner with a perfect peanut butter dessert, it was time for a restless night of my typical horrible prerace sleep.
Onto race day! We weren’t excited for a 100% chance of rain forecast. Ponchos it was:
We waited until the last minute in the hotel listening to the rain come down and when we couldn’t wait any longer we headed out……into nothing. No rain! Throughout the he whole race it would mist and spit rain but no downpour. What incredible luck. Another small miracle this weekend.
I had readjusted my “A” goal to 3:50. A good chunk under 4:00 was my “B” goal and the “C” goal was 3:59:59. I hadn’t seen my marathon time start with a “3” in three years. It was time. My plan was simple: never, ever look at my watch and see a “9”for the first number in my current pace. It had to be an “8”. If I could do that, I hit at least the B goal.
That lasted for about 4 miles and I was spending too much time staring at my watch and not enough time at the beautiful homes on the course. This course weaves through what is probably some the most expensive real estate in Texas. I switched over to cumulative time and it made for fewer watch checks. I was pretty happy once I got to Turtle Creek and things were very pretty from here on out. I hit my stride at 10 miles and felt like I was in a good rhythm. I always felt like I was working but not straining. Tummy was good, gels were agreeing with me. Hit the best part, White Rock lake, and life was still good. At mile 16 I chatted with a runner I’d been swapping places with for awhile and we agreed to help each other out to keep on pace for sub 4. We were both running very even splits. We’d check in every mile or so. Course continued to be just lovely (I actually preferred this course to the old all the way around the lake). At 20 we both hit a little wall but remained on pace. At 22 I knew we had sub 4 locked in but by how much? She pulled ahead a bit and I ended up at 3:54. I was thrilled. I felt I ran a smart race with perfectly even splits and I had nothing left. I don’t say this to brag but just to say I got it right this time…..I get it wrong a lot in racing, but this time I was right, but I also got a day in my favor. Marathons are months of work for one day and you never know what will happen, but sometimes you get lucky and everything falls into place.
The best part of the weekend was time with friends. I miss seeing my running buddies. I spent more time laughing than not this weekend.
Today was a world of pain and queasiness all day but I sorta knew that would be the case.
Dallas may have to become my annual race. Good course, good organization easy to travel to (3 1/2 hour drive did hurt though). And Meb! So cool. And I broke my 4:00 curse, Thank you Steve and Stephanie. Couldn’t have done it without you guys.