I have done Disney multiple times and I can never resist the urge to take pictures. It is also a fun race, so it is hard to get a really sense of your training and time. After running Goofy, I had a bad taste in my mouth. I worked hard but I was not sure that it showed up on my results.
Then, you talk to
runners your friends, one here… another one there. And somehow, you get reminded that there is a race not too far out, also flat. And it is a short drive from Atlanta. Of course, I signed up. I texted my good friend (the same one from the Mimosas, yes…) telling her I was doing it. I walked away from the phone. By the time I got back (took 3 minutes), she had replied:
- “I will think about it”
- “Will we sleep there?”
- “Oh well, I signed up“
It is always easier to have someone to suffer with during training. But it ended up that we only run 3 times together. In fact, I did my 20 mile run alone on a windy, cold day. For some reason, this training cycle was different. I learned to listen to my body in different ways, I pushed a little bit more and whenever it was time to go, I tried really hard to shut my head off. No complains, I kept repeating to myself. It worked most of times.
Keeping the mileage up was easy. But I started feeling an annoying pain on the ball of my left foot. It annoyed enough to schedule a specialist and found out a stress fracture and Achilles inflammation 3 weeks prior the race. Doctor made me wear a piece of foam on my foot (to take pressure of the stress fracture), told me to stretch and ice every day. Bad right? Well, yeah. The only good news was what I wanted to hear: he allowed me to run but not push it if it hurt. I did everything as he prescribed (well.. almost everything. I still forget to stretch). Luckily, the pain went away in a couple of days. (I am still wearing the pad. Another 3 weeks to go.)
RACE WEEKEND RECAP, the reason why you are reading this: Doctor authorized running!
DAY BEFORE: I took half a day at work on Friday, enjoyed a nice bowl of pasta for lunch. Oh I also had dessert and bread. I really take advantage of the carbo loading. Met my friends to go to Albany right after lunch. The race was on Saturday and we had to get the number till 9pm. It took us about 3 hours to get to the Albany, we made it on time.
Everyone was starving. We had pasta and went straight to hotel. To rest and Find out that Oprah had finished a Marathon in 4:29 and then, that became a thing we had to beat. It also helped that my coach told me that 4:20 should be my goal. I was afraid with the foot issues but I decided to give a try, if anyone knows that I am capable of doing… that is my coach!
THE DAY OF: Woke up at 5:30. I had my usual breakfast: orange juice and bagel. Left the hotel at 6:10 and we were at the start way early, around 6:30. Being used to Disney 3 am preparation, this felt pretty awesome. Albany marathon is small, just like the city and that was perfect. There was parking across from the start line, no bathroom lines. It had only an elite feeling. If you don’t get intimidated by Boston qualifiers, you will love it. It was awesome, really awesome. I had enough time to meet Melinda, the 4:20 pacer. Her favorite quote was: “well behaved women rarely make history”…. One of my favorites too, I had to stick around.
The 4:20 (Melinda’s) group was not too big, but there were some of us. I want to say about 20ish people. Boom! The race starts and my plan was to keep her by my side all the time. It would help me not go too fast in the beginning. Even pace, that is how a good marathon is run, I kept repeating in my head. Melinda was an awesome pacer, very talkative and outgoing person. I enjoyed a lot running with her. Keeping her next to me was easy for the first 20 miles as expected. Then, at miles 21, I looked around and I am the group: it is me and Melinda. We are still talking and I say: “Is too early to say that I am feeling good about this?”
Then comes mile 23, my pace went up 15 seconds, Melinda was no longer next to me. I was hurting but I was coming. Melinda came back to delivered a message. A message that would change me forever: “Can you picture when you are running back home and you are 3 miles away from home? Where are you?”. Oh Melinda! I couldn’t have done with you. That right there was essential, I immediately shift gears and “went home”. I left her. She was no longer next to me, she was now behind me. I crossed the finished line at 4:18:56. A minute later she comes and I thank her, I give her a big sweaty hug. I feel that after chatting for 4 hours, we were friends. Thank you Melinda, you changed my race finishing forever. Albany Marathon, a PR by 40 minutes?!?! But who is counting?? I had fun!
- Breakfast: Bagel, cream cheese and orange juice
- Prior race: 1/2 Honey Stinger Caramel Waffle
- During the race:
- 1 Huma Chia Gel every 5 miles, flavors: mango(3), strawberry (1)
- Water every 2 miles (race provided)
- Gatorade on mile 24.