Last night I was going to write a post on my pre-race rituals, but those rituals got interrupted by something that might need become a new pre-race ritual:
I typically would never eat this before a long run, but I have no willpower when it comes to an invitation for froyo. At least this was the ‘small’ cup compared to my usual bucket. Plus candy corn can always fuel me for a run…I ❤ candy corn.
After fueling with probiotics and extra sugar, I prepped all my stuff for the race, which is a necessary race eve ritual
I do this to avoid scrambling race morning. Getting out of bed at 5am is hard enough as is. This step was important last night because I almost forgot to everything except my running shoes and socks. Almost forgot my race bib, timing chip, body glide, Accel Gel…yeah. Setting everything out the night before helps prevent potential race morning disasters.
Typically I set goals for races. This is the first half marathon I have ran that I have experience running before (last year). I knew the course, I knew what to expect and what I needed to do. My goals for this race were to 1) beat my time from last year 2) stay relaxed 3) have a good run and 4) enjoy the race. I didn’t want pressure of a PR, I just needed a solid run. Check, check, check and CHECK.
Before races I usually get butterflies, psyched, nerves, you name it, but this time around I didn’t. I’m not sure why but I am definitely not complaining. I didn’t miss those butterflies one bit! 5am rolled around way too soon, and I pulled myself together in a haggard fashion. It was nice being able to ride with my mom and dad to the race, so on the way I was able to listen to some jams, say lots of prayers, and drift in and out of sleep. I also focused on staying calm and relaxed through the morning. Nothing like being half asleep to stay relaxed.
Three rituals I did follow this morning included immediately getting in the lines for portapotties, warming up, and getting back in line for the portapotties because for some reason relieving oneself is…relieving? Ok so I do get those little bitty nerves right before a race and two bathroom trips helps. No matter how nervous I get, at least I wouldn’t pee myself.
I decided to hang with the 2:25 pacers at the start of the race. In Texas, I know I started out too fast and in order to have a good run today, I knew the importance of not blasting across the start line like a bull on charge. My pacers, Mary and Gretta were hilarious. They were both wearing wings, cheering and the jokes and sarcasm started less than five minutes into the run. Gretta was my comical relief, and we have a very similar sense of humor. Read: sarcastic, quick, witty and punny.
The course is great with the exception of a few
hells hills at miles 3 and 4, when my quads were yelling at me, but I showed them who was boss. After that, this race went by super fast. What? We’ve been running for an hour and a half? Running sans watch finally broke my terrible habit of looking at my time every 5 minutes during a run, and I was fully enjoying this race.
Around mile 9, Gretta asked us who had found their inner Kenyans, and as she pushed us to keep a steady pace ahead of her, she gave us homework: to make up our own Kenyan names. Something to pass time? Sure! Why not. My Kenyan name is officially: Bih Azbuhddi. Just sound it out.
Around mile 9-10 is where I used to crap out/hit the wall/walk. But this time, at mile 10 I caught the most amazing runner’s high. I hadn’t looked at my watch, knew there was only 5k left to run, and came upon the most glorious downhill ever. I just kept going and going like Forrest. Probably all those prayers I were doing the trick.
At mile 12 I allowed myself to look at my watch, and I’m glad I did. I was at 2:11 and flabberghasted. What?!?! I WANT A PR! RUN KELSEY! Then I was like, wait. Don’t be mad if you don’t PR, but push it to the end. I wanted a solid run and that’s what I was getting. From mile 12 I hauled Bih Azbuhddi. I kept telling myself, “Strong is all you have when you’ve used up all your weak. Run this with your heart Kelsey, run it with your heart.” Because I had already used what I had stored up in my legs and mind. I don’t think I have ever ran that hard in my life, I know I must have looked wretched, but pain is not cute. And I finished. In 2:21:10…seven minutes faster than my time last year, 5 minutes faster than I planned on finishing, and sixteen seconds short of a 13.1 PR.
I. am. elated. I could not have imagined or asked for a better race; everything was perfect. The weather, the people, the pacers, it was SO good.
I also have the best parent cheerleaders ever…they mean so much to me! No you may not rent them out, they are all mine, not to share.
Finally, please get as much of a laugh out of this as I did. This 110% accurately describes how I felt upon immediately crossing the finish line, I’m just glad it was broadcast for all of Kansas City to see.