When I started training for Rock and Roll, I dreamed of hitting my Boston Qualifying time of 3:45. By race day, I was pretty sure that was out of reach, but I was confident I would come in under 4 hours.
Not so, as it turns out. Yesterday, I ran for 4:13:36 - and it was fantastic.
It rained for the entire race, it was about 45 degrees, and I made my first big splash into a puddle at mile 10. From that point on, I was officially soaked. Things actually were going well until the course went over a bridge. The bridge had two sets of metal grates to cross - and there was no way to avoid them. Typically, I'm told the race organizers will cover these grates with carpet, but they did not (maybe because of the rain?). In any case, those things are scary when they're not wet and I'm not tired. Yesterday, I had a pretty good debate with myself whether I should walk, step gingerly, or just go for it. I chose the middle option, mostly because I did not want to walk at all.
And after the two sets of grates, the course turned down by the river, which I suspect could've been quite beautiful. But the paved path was completely flooded, the course was remarked to go through a muddy patch that reminded me of a mud run Ed and I did several years ago. My legs were covered in mud, my shoes became even more disgusting, and I was officially beaten down. Ed had planned to meet me at mile 20, but after dropping both kids off at separate playdates, driving to the metro, hopping on as quickly as possible - he discovered that the metro was single tracking and he quickly realized there was no way he could get to mile 20 when I should be there. He caught a cab, but the cab was unwilling to even try to get close to the race, given all the road closures and the general mess of traffic. He ended up back on the metro, went to the finish line, and just started running the course backwards until he saw me at mile 23. My watch had stopped running around mile 21, so I had no idea how slowly I was going at this point. It was so nice to see him, but I had given up all time goals and just wanted to finish. The race organizers had started taking down mile markers (which was ridiculous, particularly considering I was in the top half of all marathon finishers - so there were a lot of people behind me who would need those signs). Thankfully, Ed was able to tell me about where we were on the course and what would happen to the finish.
I did sprint at the end, which took a lot.
In the end, I was nowhere near the speed I thought I'd be, but I'm absolutely thrilled. I trained hard going into the race, I ran hard for almost all of the race, and I learned a lot about running marathons.