Third time is a charm, right? I had the most amazing run yesterday, and I did it. I broke the two hour mark.
I was hoping to break two hours at the Women Rock Half Marathon. I missed it by like 8 seconds. So, despite the fact that I don't like to train for more than one half marathon a year, I signed up for the Monster Dash. I figured that because it was a similar course to the Women Rock one, I would have be prepared for the two hills. And let's be honest, I wanted the cool jacket. I became even more excited for the race when my friends Holly and Kelly signed up for it...THEIR FIRST ONE!!! Unfortunately, medical issues during the last two months have kept me from training the way I wanted. I only got in a handful of long runs, and I had to skip at least one run almost every single week. I completely stopped any cross training I did over the summer. Long story short, I pretty much gave up hope that I would get my goal time. I went to the race just wanting to enjoy myself. I found the 2 hour pacer because I knew her from my previous teaching job, but I made a deal that if it wasn't fun, I would slow down.
Then I met Jessica right before the end of Mile #1. She started asking me questions, and we just continued to run together. I mentioned that my goal was to break two hours, and she pledged to get me there if I wanted. I was astonished because I knew she was faster than me. She had just completed the TC Marathon in a time I can only dream about. But then she told me her goal...to find someone to talk with the whole race. I told her that if she could get me to that finish line in 2 hours, I was her gal.
So we stayed together. We slowed down a bit when I needed to, but she was able to watch her watch and know if we were slowing down too much. I made her look behind her a few times to make sure the 2 hour pacer was still out of sight, but otherwise I just trusted her to help me make my goal. I also told her that I might kiss her if we crossed the finish line in time:)
We chatted about kids, pregnancy, our jobs, and of course running. Both of us are teachers, and both of us are currently experiencing the joys of running with our own children. Miles kept flying by. The wall I normally hit around mile 11 came and went. We even paced about a 9:15 up the hill at mile 11. When we first saw the finish line, she looked at me and told me her watch said we had been running for 1:55. She told me there was NO WAY it would take us five minutes to finish. It was then that I officially knew we were going to make my goal time.
Crossing the finish line was incredible. I enjoyed EVERY moment of that run, and it felt so good to finally reach a goal I set over a year ago. I was thrilled to take a picture with Jessica and exchange contact information. I couldn't have planned a better race or running partner.
To make the day even better, I was fortunate enough to still have energy left to walk back about a half mile to wait for Holly and Kelly to come through. I was able to cheer on runners who looked depleted. I could inform them that as soon as they turned a corner, the finish line would be in sight. I cheered for a few minutes, and Monster Kelly and Monster Holly came into sight. I hopped back into the race and got to run them to the finish line. Again. I repeat. I couldn't have orchestrated a better race if I tried.