I was thinking about this because I went into this year's race with a bad cold and some doubts about how I'd feel on race day. Luckily, the worst of my symptoms began to clear up by Friday and by Sunday I was breathing easy, and finally coughing up some nasty junk.
On the Friday before the race, we drove down to Boynton to see my sister and Gordon, who just got engaged. We enjoyed a late dinner with them and spent the night there. On Saturday, we headed down to Fort Lauderdale. As usual, the plan was to meet up with Oden, whose house we'd be staying at again, then grab lunch and hit the expo.
|This year I signed "I'm back, baby!"|
|Playing some classic Mario Kart. We also played on the new Nintendo Switch and it was really fun!|
Race day dawned early. I was up at 4am and avoided checking the weather. I knew it was going to be warm and humid. There was no point in worrying about it. I still hadn't chosen my full race outfit because of the forecast, but I had options. I had my usual breakfast (GF oatmeal with PB2 and honey, plus some coffee and a glass of water with Emergen-C mixed in) and got dressed. Matt and I left Oden's at 5am for the short drive to the start.
Weirdly, once we got to the corrals, I felt better. This was familiar. I used the porta-potty, took some pictures, and got right back in line to use it again. I made the rash (but smart) decision to strip off my tank top. I was already warm! I didn't want to carry it with me the entire race.
|My #1 fan|
The moment I crossed the start line and began to run, I was overcome with emotion. I immediately felt really good and steady; all my fears and doubts and overthinking stopped. I just felt wonderful. I'd been counting on this race to make me feel like the whole CECS "journey" is at an end, and I was hyperaware that the first step of this race meant I was finally, finally, in the last moments of that damn chapter of my running story. In a couple hours, two years of struggle would be behind me.
I held back tears for the entire first mile.
|The spot where Matt and Oden planned to set up shop. I would pass them three times on the course if they stayed in that area.|
|This race has amazing views!|
|Around mile 6.5|
I grabbed a cup of water.
I had completed every long run of training without water. I was really well hydrated and had taken salt before the start. I didn't need water, but wanted to rinse my mouth. I should have just popped in my second piece of gum. The minute I slowed down to take a drink, I knew getting back into a rhythm would be tough; the mental seal was broken.
Between miles 10 and 13 I took a few short walk breaks and had some more water. I stole some ice from an open bag at one of the stops. I never felt bad about walking; again, I didn't have a real goal in mind. I saw the 2:15 pacer pass me but she stayed within view, so I had an idea that even if my GPS had gotten screwy in the nature preserve, I was still setting a good overall pace. My lower legs felt a little stiff in a very this is tough work why are we doing this kind of way, but not in a we are rocks that can't be run through and you're having a recurrence of compartment syndrome way.
|Around mile 11|
|Coming toward the finish|
|Honestly the prettiest medal I have, I think!|
|Best sister ever!|
|I have the BEST cheer squad! I do not take it for granted that they get up early every year to make this race special for me!|
|Blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, hash browns...just what I wanted!|