Inside the Race

I knew, even though or maybe because I had taken the early start, that I was probably not going to be finishing the race in under two hours and 30 minutes.  My goal in my mind was to finish and, hopefully, in under three hours.  I was sure I could do it!

I had talked with several of the runners also taking the early start.  One was sure that I would only see her at the start, not because I was fast but because she just knew.  I finally hooked up with two runners from Montgomery, NY.  Funny thing, I use to have relatives in Montgomery.  One of my ex’s sister’s married into a family from there.

Anyway, I ran a little slower at the beginning.  I knew I needed to start off a bit slower.  I would need what little energy I conserved at the beginning for the end as I wanted to spring across the finish line – doesn’t every racer want to look good going across the finish?  I caught up with the two women from Montgomery about a mile and a half in at the first water stop.  I was at 17 minutes, not really a slow start for me but I was feeling good.

The ladies from Montgomery hadn’t been training as much as I had so they were sure we would be fine together.  And we stayed together for a good portion of the race.  We were together as the real “racers” came barreling past us.  We received a lot of “good jobs” together as others who started at 10 am passed us and knew we were early starters.  Both women were younger than I was but Karen was injured and Donna hadn’t run in weeks.  At what I thought was 8.5 miles but was probably closer to just about 8 miles, I told the two of them to go ahead.  I needed to slow down a bit.

At about mile 9.5 I had an asthma attack.  I seriously didn’t think I was going to get that next breathe in.  My doctor and I will have a serious discussion about this soon.  I did what I have told my daughter to do many times.  I slowed to a walk, straightened my arms out over my head and took several short breathes, then deep ones as I could.  Once I could breathe again, I started running.

As I hit mile 11, I realized I was going to do it.  Even though I may talk a good game, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head that said I could stop.  I might not actually finish but by mile 11, I was positive I would finish.  Kristy and her running partner Dan passed me about mile 12.  I was trying hard as I came up to mile 13 to not cry.

Reaching a goal that you have set and worked for is an emotional moment.  I crossed the finish line and knew that I had finished under the time I had set for myself.  I was thinking I would go talk to Kristy and Dan but I couldn’t.  I knew I was going to cry.  It took a lot to get through the hotel to my room before truly letting go.  I texted a good friend to let him know my time.

And one last mess – I am totally not sure what is up with my photo ability in the last post.  I am going to put up a couple of pictures of what I came home with.

Quarter Zip Windbreaker

Close Up of Logo

The Goodie Bag on top of the Windbreaker with my Number

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28 thoughts on “Inside the Race

  1. Congratulations, Nicki! It’s so interesting that even 10 miles into the race, there was still a voice telling you that you could stop. I’m so glad you didn’t listen to it.

    I guess because I know that feeling of crying after such an accomplishment, reading that part made my eyes well up. Such an amazing feeling.

    Congratulations again.

  2. Fantastic Nicki! I don’t know if this was true for you or not, but when I keep telling myself that it’s OK for me stop if I want to, it just makes me feel calm and I keep going. It sort of puts everything in perspective and then I don’t have to worry about the outcome. And the outcome is always better than I imagined. Weird how that works. Many congrats to you!

    • Thanks, Patty! Knowing that the option is there does calm me. It also makes me want to swear at myself for considering it.

  3. Congratulations!! Finishing is emotional; I completely understand. It sounds like the whole experience (other than your asthma attack) was wonderful. How was the course? I debated running this half and I left it on the list for next year as as possibility. Congratulations again.

    • Thanks, Suzy. The course was challenging, lots of hills. I train on lots of hills so that part didn’t bother me. I am running in Ithaca in April so will then have something to compare to.

  4. From one athletic asthmatic to another, I’m happy you made it and achieved your goals! I don’t know how your asthma looks on regular days, but I was in and out of hospitals throughout high school and a pretty sickly kid from age 11 on. I always thought that being fit would be out of the question for me. Guess what? With a few pre-exercise puffs of Albuterol (and Singulair, Theophyllin and Symbicort on a daily basis) I’m indistinguishable from other people.

    • Thanks, Linda. The asthma is exercise-induced. On a day-in, day-out basis, I have no symptoms. The dr and I have toyed with Albuterol – which my daughter does use – but I have resisted until now. This was scary but manageable through techniques I have been taught.

  5. Congratulations, Nicki. I know exactly what you mean. IN ALL OF IT. Getting passed, slowing down, speeding up, fighting the demons in your head, crying during the last half-mile, and afterward.

    Congratulations. You really really DID IT!

  6. I’ve been meaning to get over here to read about your experience… I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come by! I’m so impressed Nicki and even got a little teary eyed reading about it. You must have been SO proud. And with an asthma attack in the middle? You’re an inspiration. I hope to run with you one day!! Congratulations!

    • Thanks, Becca. I am not fast but have a few plans for working on that, too. Training for my next half has already started.

  7. Congrats! I know the feeling of reaching the point where I know I can finish my goal and it is wonderful. I am so impressed, running has always frightened me a little because my legs turn out and I look kind of weird doing it, but you are starting to make me think I should give it a try.

  8. Wow. Seriously – wow! I heard a quote the other day (at the gym, I think, so it might have been some twisted advertising effort) that said “There is no such thing as strength, only strength of will.” You truly have willpower and a strong heart – no matter how much you trained, it is about pushing yourself to keep going in the moment when all you want to do is stop.

    Bravo!!

  9. Nicki

    Great posts (all 3 of them) – between the “shyness,” (takes me a long time of “observing others” before I open up – which often is interpreted as being bitchy), exercise induced asthma (I have it too although it is much more controlled now – the more in shape I am, the better it is, so keep it up girl!), and the crying ( I wanted to cry in much the same way that you describe after my first marathon) I think we are somewhat alike!

    In other words, I am kinda opposite of Kristy! Haha!

    Great job on Sunday – I am glad you chose Celebrate Life as your first half. It was great spending time with you and getting to know you.

    I’ll be at the Vestal 20 – you?

    Kathleen (CLHM Race Director)

    • Kathleen – thanks for stopping by and taking time to read all three. I can see you are Kristy as sort of opposites. LOL!

      I am glad I got to spend time with you. I am thinking that the Vestal 20 will be my June race. Didn’t have one on the calendar yet. :)

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