I had an obnoxious taper week before CIM, all my taper runs were significantly slower than my usual recovery pace, my legs were super heavy, I had headaches, I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning (usually I'm a morning person) and I felt like my muscles were tingling from running withdrawals. I wasn't going to lose focus a week before the marathon so I kept reading over my training log from the last 5 months to remind myself how prepared I was to PR, but I was still frustrated and anxious about how rough I was feeling. In January, I wrote my goal: "Break 2:40" on a #DestroyCreate tag and hung it from my 2016 Oiselle Olympic Trials team photo. I looked at this nearly every day to remind myself to stay focused; I was going to fight to earn a sub 2:40 marathon.
When I got on the bus to the start line, my Dad waved goodbye and said: “Today is the day you get to shine.” I thought about what my Dad said the entire bus ride to the start.
When did I know it was going to be a good day? 6:15am when I took my first step of my 1 mile warm-up. My legs felt like a bounding deer, my stomach wasn't gurgling and my shoulders were relaxed. I probably looked mischievous, because I felt like I knew a secret: I was going to have a GREAT DAY.
Before the race started, I turned around and looked at the mass of runners behind me. I find it inspiring to see all types of runners hungry to reach their goals; standing on the start-line. Then, I gazed ahead as far as I could see the course in the distance. I pictured myself soaring over the pavement in pure bliss.
Once the race started I felt all the built up energy from my taper week unleash. It was hard to hold back. My goal pace of 6:05 pace felt way too slow; this was exciting and scary at the same time. Each mile split was faster than my goal paces; I saw a couple low 5:50 miles and put on the brakes. Andie and I matched strides and smiles for the first half as we rolled over the hills. It was really fun to run with a teammate especially as we passed Oiselle Nesters and Volée. I couldn’t stop smiling. The Oiselle Cowbell Corner energy was electric!
The last 3 miles were the most challenging, but I was prepared for the pain. Going through the finish line was a flood of emotions plus the instant need to use the bathroom. There was no secret. I didn’t do anything too fancy. I worked the hardest I ever have and ran the paces I practiced.