The morning came early, earlier even than it usually comes on race day. You see, I had decided that my “stomach issues” come as the result of not taking part in my normal daily ritual of coffee and “morning constitutional.” So, I woke up at 4:00 am, trudged downstairs, switched on the news, and dutifully ate my toast with peanut butter, banana, and slurped my coffee.
I’ve never been more relaxed before a race… I think it had something to do with not rushing around, and of course, partaking in my usual ritual. I think it also had something to do with the fact that my Mama was there – this would be the first time she’d see me run. Isn’t she cute?!
We made our way to the parking lot right by the starting line and found a spot with no problem before seeking refuge from the cold in the Indiana Convention Center. I casually made my way to the start with just a few minutes til the gun was to go off, and said goodbye to Ian and my Mama.
Going into the race, I planned to race for a PR, knowing that although I had just set a PR at the Nationwide Columbus half marathon, I had a lot more in me. For me, this race was the perfect example of flexible goal setting. In my mind, I was hoping for anywhere around 2:10 – 2:15.
The gun went off, and just before I passed the start line, I saw my Mama and Ian, yelling and laughing, and I gotta say… it was the perfect jump start. The first mile passed by in just over 10 minutes – about 10:01. I thought to myself, “hmm, that may be too fast, Janene.”
Then the second mile passed in another 10 minutes, and the third in just under 10 minutes…. and I felt great. No horrible feelings in the tummy, fresh legs, and lungs that barely even felt like they were getting worked. It was at this point that I realized 2:10 was absolutely possible.
A few miles later, I passed the 10k mark in just under 1:01 and change, faster than my week-old 10k PR. I hit mile 7 in 1:08, and with faulty mathematical logic, though that perhaps even 1:58 was in my grasp, thinking that I only had 5 miles left. Math fail. But still, it was then that I realized sub-2:10 was in the cards, assuming no blow-ups.
As a side note, I found it kinda hilarious that I ended up calling Ian a few times during the race, to make sure he and my mom were in places where she could actually see me… I was WAY ahead of schedule, so much so that Ian was pretty skeptical… boy, did I show him. At this point, I knew that Ian and Mom were just after mile 12, and I decided that I would stay the course until about miles 10 -11, and then pick up the pace for a strong finish.
Around mile 11, I started to feel the fatigue of sub-10 minute miles, but knowing that they were so close kept me going. Then, just after mile 12, I saw Ian standing on a street corner, and my Mom running up behind him, yelling my name, beaming and telling me I looked great!
It’s amazing how much of a burst in energy you get from seeing your family! Having them at mile 12 was perfect timing… just as my legs were getting tired, I had that surge of energy to carry me through to the finish. At this point, I realized that if I pushed it, I could go sub 2:08…!!!
So that’s what I decided to do… I kept up the pace, turned a few corners, picked it up as I saw the finish…and VOILA –I didn’t think that a half marathon at a sub-10 pace was in the cards this year…. but I was so wrong. It’s amazing how fast I can run when I’m not afraid I’m going to poop my pants with every step!
And of course, a HUGE thanks to Ian and my Mama – without their amazing support, this would not have been such an amazing race. And, my Mama LOVED it! I was worried she’d get bored, or too cold, but I should have known better – she loves people & crowds, and Ian said she was just chatting up a storm with all the other spectators, and cheering on other runners… I think she’s hooked, too!
The day after the race, Ian and I took the dog for a walk, and I chatted his ear off about it all – the race, my hopes for future races, and running in general. I think this was a huge breakthrough for me, both simply in figuring out my digestive issues and pre-race ritual, and in terms of what I’m actually capable of. I see BIG things in my running future… I can’t wait to share them with you, but for just a little while longer, I’d like to keep them as my (not-so-little) secrets… stay tuned!