We were lining up for the race when I saw my neighbor, Glenn. Glenn has been running since Labor Day and has lost a lot of weight along the way. This was his first race, and he is prepping for the Shamrock Marathon next month. I have no doubt that he will accomplish his goal.
Before the race, Josh suggested I give him my Garmin so I wouldn't be obsessing over how we were doing. I could just trust him to guide me and run. Sacrificing my GPS system was a little tough, but I knew it was the right call. Before I knew it, we were off! No turning back now.
The next few pictures are all from the Potomac River Running Website. They take amazing professional photos of their races, upload them super-quick, and let you download them for free. They are AWESOME. The photo below is at the start of the race on the track. Josh & I are in the middle (I'm the second pink top from the left).
Soon the mass of runners thinned out and we were able to pass people and pick up the pace. Mile 2 was completed in 10:33, which I did not know. All I knew was my calves were aching and I was breathing too hard to talk much. Josh distracted me by telling me about the to-do list systems he was currently using. Yes, I am a geek and this was an effective distraction. We hit a steep hill and I walked for a few moments to catch my breath. At the top of the hill Josh started running again - he was not going to let me walk. He said reassuringly, "just keep running."
The picture above was taken just before the final steep hill, the one that brings you out of the woods and back to the high school. I may be smiling, but that is only because I see my favorite photographer in front of me, the one that always seems to get a good shot of me no matter how miserable I feel. And at this moment, I was feeling pretty rough. As we approached the hill, I heard Freddy and Rick cheering us on from the top of the hill. Josh wisely said to me, "Don't let Freddy see you walk up this hill." As much as I wanted to walk, there was no way I was going to do it in front of my little boy. So up we ran. I thought I might throw up. But I was okay.
We reached the track, where I had less than a quarter mile to go. I mentally told myself it was just like last Tuesday at track practice, I just had a little ways to go around the track. We passed the 3-mile marker. I still did not know the time, but Josh knew we were deeper into negative splits territory, having just completed a 10:07 mile. We rounded the last curve. I wanted to speed up but felt like I couldn't. Josh later told me I did speed up and I just couldn't tell. I couldn't make out the clock until we were almost at the finish line. My face lit up with shock and elation.
I had just run 32:56! A PR and more than a minute faster than my stretch goal! I was truly stunned. I wouldn't have been able to push myself that consistently for the duration of the race without my brother's guidance. I am so very grateful to him for helping me achieve this milestone. I will need to make some mental adjustments to learn how to do it next time when I'm on my own. I felt so proud! We took a post-race celebratory picture with Freddy and Gina - hooray!