I don't quite know where to start in talking about this race. It was, quite simply, perfect. Perfect conditions. Perfect people. Perfect result.
I felt relaxed beforehand, which was odd as I am usually a bundle of nerves, but a good thing nonetheless! I spent the day before drinking plenty of water, mixed with Endura rehydrate to give plenty of magnesium and other goodies to my muscles. I ate my carbs, and my favourite pre race meal (pizzzzzzza, mmmm). I went to bed early, and I slept well. My sleep was full of dreams but even my dreams felt good, positive.
I woke up a little before my alarm went off, which is just as well, as I had managed to set the alarm for PM, not AM. What a nightmare that could have been if I were a heavier sleeper!
I showered, nommed some toast, and dressed in my default running outfit of black tech capris (I've worn those so much I have a tan line where they end)and my oversized MDC '10 tech shirt (which makes me feel a bit skinnier, but in reality probably makes me look fat), Thorlo fatties, and my Kayanos, so basically the outfit I'd done almost all of my long runs in, and I knew it would stand up to the test.
My Oscardog cracked it because he wanted to go running, and I wished I could take him with me, sometimes he is sooo much easier to deal with when he has a few k's in his legs.
I packed up my gear, and my super support team (aka devoted fiance) drove me into town for the 7am start. We parked the car, I used the loo at his work (much nicer than port-a-potties) and then walked down to the start.
I felt excited as soon as I started to see other runners. It was a feeling like fear, but not fear, so it must have been excitement.
As usual the wait in the corrals was interminable, but then it all started to happen, and we were off.
I'd put my phone on airplane mode, which I thought would just stop calls/messages etc coming in, but it also prevented my GPS from working, so I didn't have the usual announcement popping up each kilometre to tell me how I was going. I quickly decided that that was a good thing, and to just 'fly blind' and give it everything I had. Likewise, I ignored and eventually turned off my walk/run interval timer.
I ran more of this race than I have of any race. I took about a third or less of the walk breaks I normally would, and just gunned it as much as I was able.
The first five k's were, as always, poo. When you have to run 20+ k's, the first five are just blerggggghhh.
I was thirsty. I drank at every single water station, slurping down water and air alternately. I nommed my gels at pretty good intervals. And I ran.
People passed me, and I passed people. Sometimes I felt strong, other times I felt like I would be running forever and felt pretty sorry for myself. I ran up a hill growling like an animal. 'Eye of the tiger' came on and I said a swear before sprinting for a full half a k. I admired the elites as they streaked past, their beautiful gazelle like strides, but felt no envy. I was running my race, and they just weren't in it. Through it all I plodded on. I remember trotting down a hill and thinking to myself, 'Heyyy, you're going DOWNHILL. This is where you gain those minutes, this is where you make some ground. Let the hill do it for you, idjit!'
But then I knew that it wasn't much further. Five k's more, four more.....then pelting down a slope towards the finish. A photographer took my picture and I felt my smile growing bigger and bigger, an insane clown smile, to the point that the photographer looked around his camera at me and smiled too.
A hundred metres from the finish there were people everywhere, shouting and excited. I must have been tired because I thought I knew them, I thought they were my friends and that they were shouting "Go Jo! Go Jo!" Of course they were just shouting "GO GO GO", lols. I was searching everywhere for my fiance, and then I spotted him smiling at me, looking proud as he snapped a picture.
My eyes were on the clock as I bolted for the finish, realising I'd finished just on 2:45, and that that time was from the gun, not from my actual start!
So far my recovery is proving slow and challenging, with lots of walking and stretching. It's funny, you run all that way, then take a week off to rest, and all I can think about is running.
The part I can't quite wrap my head around yet is that it all went so, so well. I had a dream. I worked for it. I trained myself like an athlete, and I became one. I set goals, and I surpassed them.
5km-00:38:59 10km-01:16:40 Half Way-01:20:18 15km-01:54:15 20km-02:32:22
I am so, so pleased with my results. Watch this space, I'm only just getting started.