Monday, December 14, 2015

The Dallas Marathon was [insert adjective here]

I haven’t yet come up with the ideal way to describe this race. I vacillate among:

Disappointing. I missed my sub-3:00 goal time that I know I had the fitness for, after doing everything right.

Amazing! I placed 2nd overall female in the event, behind one of the only women I am okay with losing to (my awesome training partner).

Heartbreaking. I lost it all in the final 3 miles, and I am usually a really good negative split marathoner.

Inspiring. I ran a PR of 3:01:45, 2:02 faster than I’ve ever run a marathon.

Unkind. It was rainy and windy, but on the other hand I didn’t run 23 miles in a snowstorm in training for nothing!

Bittersweet. A solid PR, a 2nd overall placing, but no sub-3:00.

A blessing. Being out there and running injury-free is the biggest blessing I could have!

The short version of the race:

My training partner, Jamie, and I went into this event with sub-3:00 goals and plans to pace together. We knew that one of us would be stronger at the end, and we knew it would pretty much come down to who had the better day because we are pretty evenly matched and trade off wins when we race. After the crowds thinned and we settled into pace, everything ran smoothly!  We were right on our goal pace through the 10K, the half, and the 20-mile mark.

We were also leading the females in the race as early as the 5K mark, but we had no idea that we were! In hindsight, at one point a man said what we thought was “Top 10 women” and we decided that he must have actually said “Top 2 women”.  Hah.

We were right on pace and side by side at mile 20, but I could tell that Jamie was going to be stronger than me in the final 6.2. I knew my sub-3:00 could go either way depending on how hard the next few miles got, but I was a little scared because I felt at 20 how I usually feel at 22-23 (like I have 3-4 miles left in me at that pace giving 110%). Jamie was pushing and I was hanging on from mile 20-22. At 21 I told her that she was stronger and to go, and she encouraged me that I was strong too. I was able to hold on to her and a solid 6:40-6:45 pace until about 22.5, and then I couldn’t quite hang on. Mile 22 was still 6:50, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold onto that pace for the final 3. I hung on the best I could, but it wasn’t pretty for the final 3 miles. I promised myself the ground or the medical tent if I could just keep moving! With a mile left I knew my sub-3:00 was out the window, but that I would still PR and that alone kept me from walking.

As I neared the finish, the race announcer said, “Here comes our 2nd overall female finisher, Sara! She is our first woman finisher’s training partner!” At that point I was most excited to hear that Jamie had won the marathon! I had no idea I was going to be 2nd overall female! It was so different than my win at the Bass Pro Marathon in November where I heard “first lady”/”first female”, etc. every few feet! Jamie said she didn’t know she was leading until near the end as well.  I was so proud of Jamie, but scrolling through a range of emotions for myself and what I knew would not be a sub-3:00 finish.

Crossing the finishing line and seeing my 3:01 was a bittersweet moment.  Near tears of happiness for the PR, and near tears of disappointment for not being able to hold on for a 2:59. I didn’t have much time to think about it because Jamie and a few race officials were waiting for me. Jamie and I were whisked off to a press conference, and the race officials called my husband and then went to retrieve him from the family meeting area to join us. You can see my amazing training partner, and read quotes from both of us here:

Perhaps the best way to describe Dallas is: An amazing step in my journey, and not the end. I will run another marathon, and I will get that sub-3:00. When our plans don’t work out, it’s because God has better ones. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11  I can't wait to see what's next!

We were interviewed in the press room post-race!

Fun at the expo

Official PR chip-time was 3:01:45

Garmin splits 1

Garmin splits 2

My training partner is a stud!

Bling (overall awards are mailed)

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