Today seems like a good day to post about running. Not only because I recently ran a great race, but because today in Boston, a great race was run. Today, a Kenyan named Mutai won the Boston Marathon in a record breaking 2:03:02. A feat that will not ‘officially’ be recorded as a world record because the course is a ‘net downhill’ race. Really? Regardless of the rules, that was a damn fast race and one that most of humanity can not even contemplate competing with.
Well, a mere 3 weeks ago, another stunning feat was achieved. In my world, it was equally as important as today’s amazing finish. Casey Elizabeth Hickman Simpson beat her goal time of 2:00 for a half marathon by FIVE MINUTES. Yes, let’s take a moment to listen to the crowd roar… (roar)
It was my Birthday. It was my Anniversary. It was the anniversary of the day I started running two years ago. If you want to know why, go back to the beginning of this blog. It was a beautiful day in Washington DC and at 4:30 am, I woke up ready to take on the National (half) Marathon. Bring. It. On.
My last race was Vegas in December ’10. I was aiming for a sub 2:00 finish. I finished in 2:00. Pretty much on the dot. If you know me, you may know that I am competitive and therefore, I was VERY VERY unhappy with that finish. To top it off, the race was part of Team Challenge which is a fundraiser for Crohns and Colitis. Colitis took a huge toll on my husband’s body and on our marriage in the recent past. So to WIN against the disease I intended to crush my goal and didn’t. I humbly accepted that the fight was still on, which actually gave me some of the motivation I needed to keep plodding away on the treadmill through the cold, dark days of winter that are required to run an early season race.
March 26th. Race conditions: perfect. COLD at 5 am. About 35 degrees. But it was kismet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kismet). I walked out of the hotel and bumped into a woman I met last year at the Disney half marathon. Oddly, we remembered each other – there were 17,000 runners and I met about 4 – one of which was Lucy. Lucy, who was standing right outside the doors of the Marriott in DC the morning of March 26th. She had already been waiting about 30 minutes for the bus, and was ready to grab a cab to the start. Lucy, who about 3 minutes later threw me in the next cab, talked to me the whole ride about how running WAS living, who knew where the holding pens were and where the bathrooms were and was able to pump me up more than I ever could by myself for the start of the race. She’s a 1:30 half runner (this was her 41st half) and she ceremoniously walked me to my start. She wished me speed, and I was ready.
The race was uneventful. Ha – that’s a lie. The race was fantastic as a runner, but the fact that I never saw a WALL in my near future made it pretty easy (i.e. uneventful). The crowd was the best ever. There were people EVERYWHERE. They were cheering, rapping, hi-fiving, laughing, yelling and all-around being awesome. The sights were amazing. The nation’s Capital. Every monument ever made to commemorate our great country. The cherry blossoms just showing their early, flushed pink faces. It was perfection.
And the ONLY difference between this, my 6th half marathon, and all the rest, was one simple thing. Self fuel. I carried my own bottle of Cytomax and I said to myself for the first 6 miles “this is fueling the next 6” and I have to believe that was the difference. I never bonked I never felt like I was maxed out.
When I crossed the finish I felt like I could keep going and was confident in a negative split, which I delivered. I felt like I had wings and it didn’t end. I crossed the finish and for the first time, I said BRING ON THE NEXT 13.1!
So today, records were broken. And for me, three weeks ago, records were broken. Boston is in my future. I guarantee it.