Where oh where do I even begin?! I thought a lot during the race about how I would approach writing a recap and decided to break it up into 3 components: pre-race, the first 13.1, and the second 13.1. And…no worries, I’m not going to give an exhaustive play-by-play. Nothing screams “mark all as read” in Google Reader like a lengthy race recap! Here goes…
Matt and I drove up to Allentown on Saturday, went to the (lame) expo, and headed out for my standard pre-race dinner (pizza). I was surprisingly calm, cool, and collected. A funny thing to note: Matt was flipping channels in the hotel on Saturday and he caught a quick snippet of a bad music commerical…ya know the ones where the songs scroll on the screen while the singer sings in the background? The only words Matt heard were “come visit Boston in the Springtime”. He asked me if I heard it (I didn’t…I was busy laying out all my race day clothes like a psycho). I pretty much took that as a sign that Sunday would go well and I would get that BQ. As for visiting Boston in the Springtime, we’ll see how that goes.
Race day weather was perfect, at least for early September. Overcast the entire time with just a touch of humidity. There was even a nice breeze at some points. Sorry, Mother Nature, for calling you a bitch last week.
I was all ready to go.
I wrote some mantras on my hand to keep me focused (sidenote: this was the first time I ever did this and found it very helpful during the race).
The First 13.1
My goal was to run even splits; keeping my average pace around 8:30 for the entire race. During the first 5 miles, 8:30 pace felt ridiculously easy. It has never felt that easy! I knew it was going to be a good day right then and there 🙂 But I held back knowing full well 8:30 pace would feel hard eventually. The first 5 miles were re-routed due to flooding and they were some beautiful miles. We ran on back roads in Allentown past these gorgeous houses. There were some rolling hills but nothing substantial.
Then we moved on to the towpath. It wasn’t as muddy as I though it was going to be but I couldn’t wait to get back on paved road. It was narrow so I had to dodge a few runners and I just felt like I was working a bit harder to maintain my 8:30 pace.
I passed the halfway point around 1:50-something and smiled. My half marathon PR is 1:49 (from September 2010). I can’t wait to crush that PR in November!
Splits for the first 13 miles. Pretty consistent. I was a slave to the Garmin but it worked! I was still feeling very good.
The Second 13.1
We entered another towpath in Bethlehem for an eternity. I think we stayed on that same path for 8 miles. No spectators, just you and a few runners, and lots of labored breathing. At Mile 17, negative thoughts started to creep in. I quickly ignored them and checked my “objective” legs. They felt alright, no different than my 22-miler 2 weeks ago. So why was I suddenly doubting myself? I kept looking at my hand, where I wrote “believe”. I knew I could do this. I just needed to hang in for 9 more miles. I just focused on the mile I was currently in. I didn’t worry about the future. I also took 2-10 second walk breaks. I would stop, count to 10, and then resume running. It was such a short break but it helped tremendously.
Finally, at Mile 20, we exited the towpath and climbed a hill to paved road. I checked my pace band – I had a 2 minute cushion. I decided that once I reached Mile 22 I would allow myself a 20 second walk break (I know, I was getting a little crazy here). I looked forward to that walk break like you would not believe. It was heavenly…but extremely brief. I also thought about seeing Matt, my sister, and Hawk at the finish line. I was starting to hurt but there was NO WAY I was going to let 22 miles of hard work (and a BQ) slip away. I wanted it too badly.
Mile 23 to 24 were rather interesting. I was faced with a monster hill. My pace – no lie – slowed to a 11:00 minute mile climbing that hill. I didn’t freak out because I knew I had a cushion. I just wanted to get “up and over” that damn hill. Once I reached the top I saw and equally steep downhill. Ahhhh, thank god! As you can tell from my splits below, the only time I went outside of 8:xx pace was Mile 24.
During Mile 25, I got an awesome surprise. Some of the Mains (who? what? see here) came out to cheer me on! I couldn’t believe it! I hear all these people calling my name and then I see an orange sign saying “Cams, Cams, Cams!” (a nickname). I was floored and shocked. AND, on Friday before the race, I received a gift card for a post-race pedi from the Mains. I am blessed to have such amazing and caring friends.
The last 0.2 miles were slightly uphill. At that point I knew I had the BQ in the bag and it was so surreal. Soon I spotted my sister, Matt, and Hawk on the sidelines. My sister was screaming. I may have done a fist pump or jazz hands as I approached the finish line. I’m not sure what I did but it caused the announcer to say “here comes Kristy…she looks very happy”. I crossed that finish line in 3:43:46 and was FINALLY a Boston Qualifier. I have DREAMED about this moment for years and it was finally coming true.
I immediately start to cry, or attempted to cry. I was sobbing but no tears were coming. I guess I was dehydrated. Volunteers thought something was wrong and I just kept saying over and over “I (sob) qualified (sob) for (sob) Boston”. They couldn’t understand me so I just gave them a thumbs up. These next few pictures are priceless.
Almost forgot…my split times for the second 13.1.
In addition to the awesome orange sign, the Mains also made BQ letters for me. I later asked them what would they do with the letters had I not BQ’d. They said they would have hid them from me. How great is this?!
division (F 18 to 34): 28/90
There is still a permanent smile on my face. I think it will be there for quite a while!
I cannot thank you enough for the encouraging comments, tweets, and messages. The blogging community is really incredible and I’m so happy to be a part of it.
To my family and friends…I am so lucky and fortunate. You have all been an amazing support system and I could NOT have done it without you.
Now comes the hard part…registering!
Pink Runner says
Oh my goodness I couldn’t be happier for you!!! Love that they would have probably thrown out the BQ signs 🙂 Great race recap and your splits were amazing! I can’t imagine that kind of pressure! Now you can take a break from running a 20 miler every weekend! YAY!
Congrats on a great race and super-consistent pacing! Will have my fingers crossed for your Boston registration!
I loved reading this!! I want to get you a shirt that says “Even if I take walk breaks, I’m fast enough to qualify for Boston, bitches!”
The “bitches” part is optional. 🙂
I think the “bitches” part is absolutely mandatory!
LOVE this! What a great idea! And, I agree, bitches is mandatory!!
OH MY GOD – where do I begin?? I am honestly nearly tearing up reading this, I am just SO excited for you! You must be over the moon! You worked so hard for so long for this and I’m thrilled that you did it! What an inspiration! It sounds like you have amazing friends and family – having them surprise you at mile 25 must have been just incredible! In addition to running superfast, your splits are so consistent, which I find so impressive. An they barely even rised during a huge hill climb! You used so many good techniques that I will be stealing for sure during my next marathon. Congrats, Kristy!! I knew you could do it!
I love that you had a plan and you stuck with it and it worked! Congrats on a fabulous round of training and the PERFECT race – it was executed perfectly and everything came together perfectly, including the weather that looked so questionable all week! I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of such a great race! I’m glad you didn’t give in to the temptation to run faster in the early miles when they felt so easy. And that you didn’t let the negative thoughts overcome you at mile 17! Way to go!
BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ! BQ!
I am so floored that writing “Believe” on your hand worked! You need to go tell the people over at “Believe I Am!” Maybe I’ll do that for NYC.
I think you trained and raced smartly, and it paid off!
ahhhhhhhh!!! reading this seriously almost had tears in my eyes! i am SO excited for you! you ran such a great race and totally earned that BQ!!!! congrats!!!
awesome awesome awesome! Super consistent pacing too! Impressive! Now I also know the story of the BQ letters 🙂
I also like the word believe. I have charm that I wear on a necklace that says Believe. Granted I can’t see it while running, but I know it’s there!
awesome race recap! i hope you’ve been on cloud nine all week. you worked SO HARD for this and totally deserve it. you did such a great job of keeping your pace consistent. your training clearly showed!
yayyy!! So, so excited for you. I love the photo of you with a big smile at mile 26 – that is hard to pull off sometimes 🙂 I hope you get to register for Boston this year because there is no one more deserving. Amazing job, lady.
Hope you’re recovering well this week!
Oh gosh lady. I was looking for the perfect “before I go to bed post to read” and this was absolutely it. I teared up just reading this. You deserve to register next week. but even if you dont get to, you did i, your there. so amazing. congrats a million times over. you get to wear that smile for as long as you want 🙂
Congrats, that’s so awesome! I’m pretty sure I saw you during the race. It was my friend’s first marathon so I ran 18.5 of it with her (my long run day in my training for the NYC marathon).
Really?! You should have said hello 🙂
You’re a good friend! What did u think of the course?
It was around the 18 or 19 mile point – I felt kind of awkward, but I should have said hi! I ran the full marathon last year, and it was my first one. It was raining! Ahh! This year, I enjoyed the course more because it wasn’t raining but it still seems kind of like tunnel vision on the towpath. I am really looking forward to the crowds at NYC (which will be my 2nd marathon), and hoping for a sub 4 finish. 🙂
Alli @ alli learns life says
great recap!! so excited for you!
fingers crossed for Boston!
I read this last night while I was in bed but it was too hard to type something up on my iPhone! This was the perfect race recap and your pictures were beautiful. I nearly cried for you when I saw that picture of you crossing that finish line. I hope to follow in your footsteps one day and qualify for Boston. You deserve it because you’ve worked so incredibly hard. I cannot wait to read about your training for Boston — BTW, I love that the hardest part is registering… not running the 26.2 miles at a certain time!!! ;o)
Frank Finch says
You and Matt should come down to Roanoke and run the Blue Ridge marathon. Did you run any marathons since Lehigh Valley? Good luck, great job…
Mary (Sisters Running the Kitchen) says
Hey! I am debating whether or not to sign up for this marathon. I really want a BQ so I can run Boston in 2015 as my current BQ is from 2012. Do you think this was a tough course in comparison to the Philly marathon? Do you think running on the tow path slowed you down….did you train in similar conditions? Thanks!!