We all started to slowly move. I looked out the window and it didn't seem to be raining.
We ate, got dressed and headed down to the lobby to meet our team for 5:45.
It was raining.
|In the lobby.|
We walked to the subway which was already crowded. We were on it for, I think, twenty minutes. It felt like a life time. The stop we got off was just a couple blocks to our D-Nation tent. The beauty of being part of this team was the tent, the food, the water, the gels, private porta potties and personal bag check.
|Subway station silliness.|
Because the rain was so bad, most people huddled under the tent which made it very difficult to move around. I really just wanted to start running and was getting annoyed at all the standing around.
Our corrals were colored coded and again, one of the really nice things about our tent, it was placed at the starting line. I learned from last year that I didn't have to actually line up in our corral, we could just walk to the start when our color toed the line.
|Will and Stephanie|
|Me and Stephanie|
|Brandi, Stephanie, Jeremy|
|Packed like sardines!|
|Andy, Larry, Stephanie|
|Linda being interviewed.|
|Larry being interviewed.|
|Brandi and I|
Because of the rain, one of the D-Nation volunteers gathered each color together by waving a corresponding flag and walked us to the start. It was very nice!
We cheered on the first runners and I waited patiently until the yellow flag was flying. When we got to the opening of the fence to get in, the very tail end of the gray corral was running past us. And then I saw three pink bibs, which were supposed to be in the last corral, pass us. That was my green light. With enough room for us to get in, I said to Therese and Brandi, "Let's go." Honestly, I couldn't wait another minute.
Because we were in the very back of the gray corral, there was a lot of room. We didn't go out too fast and we weren't being held up because it was too crowded like last year.
Brandi is a coach and she really wanted to help me reach my PR. I was happy to have her there. Therese was my saving grace at Philly and I was just so happy to have her running with me again. I wanted a PR, but this is a really fun race and I still wanted to have fun. You all know me, I talk. So I started up a conversation mostly to get to know Brandi better. I literally only met her the night before.
I am guessing it is hard to "coach" someone you don't know. What was great was she kept me focused on running. I rarely looked at my watch and didn't need to. She knew exactly where we were, where we were going, and how we needed to get there. She was perfect at keeping me on pace.
I started the race with my rain poncho on. Why not stay as dry as possible for as long as you can, right? When it came time to toss it, she took it from me so I could keep running straight and not have to dodge people to get it to the side of the road. I really appreciated that and know she will be successful as a coach.
|Pretty much the start of the race.|
I have to say, the people cheering were awesome despite the rain. My favorite sign of the day read, "There is a 30% chance that it is raining right now."
I ran really well for the first four miles with a fuel plan of taking a gel at miles four and seven.
Mile one, 10:28
Mile two, 10:26
Mile three, 10:31
Mile four, 10:32
Mile five you have to go around city hall. It seems the road got more crowded here. We had to dodge a few people. It was my slowest mile, 10:43.
|Clearly, having a good time.|
|Pretty sure, we have the best bottoms and socks on the course.|
|Love this pic of Andy and Will with our Sub 30 Flag.|
I wanted to finish strong and also negative split the last part of the race. I do know I looked at my watch and the girls said to just focus on running. I know I sneaked a peek a couple times and even ran ahead a bit before getting hit with "traffic."
Mile eight was back to a 10:30. But Brandi knew and let me know that a PR was in the bag baring any major hiccup. I felt I still needed to run faster though.
At this part of the race, it started to get crowded. The last three corrals, gray, yellow and pink, are the biggest ones. Even though we technically started in gray, people were slowing down. Some were even walking. It was so challenging getting around everyone but we managed and mile nine we ran a 10:02.
Brandi or Therese or maybe it was both of them said, "One more mile!" I knew from last year that running on the left appeared to be less crowded, plus we run past our team tent and people may be there cheer us on. That is where we ran the last mile.
I felt good mentally and physically. I knew I could continue to run well. With the finish line in sight, I was all smiles. Mile ten, 9:55.
I have to tell you, we hit the mat and traffic stopped. I had to push, very nicely, two girls out of the way to make sure I got across it. This is the problem with 43,000 runners.
Therese, Brandi and I hugged and took some pictures. My official finish time was 1:44:32. That is a 1:26 PR. Remember though, I thought my PR was 1:48. At this point, I thought I had a four minute PR and I told everyone!
Immediately after stopping, we got cold. This is the worst part of the race and where they really lose me. You are in a traffic jam for at least ten minutes before you get water, food and medal. Once we got into the field and headed to our tent, we finally saw a volunteer handing out heat sheets. In my very humble opinion, on a day like that, that should have been one of the first things we got, especially with the slow moving crowd.
|Warm in the tent.|
Once back to the tent, it was so nice to see other team members and hear about their races and PR's. We had a lot! Finally in dry clothes, (thank you D-nation for the changing tents) we got food. While we were eating, one of our teammates and my roommate was calling to say she was lost. Well, forty minutes later, we got Emily to the tent and in dry clothes. Honestly though, that should have never happened. There needs to be a better way. More signs and higher signs would be a good start.
From there we did the trek to the train station. I remembered that the walk was long, so I packed an umbrella with me. One of my better decisions.
We packed in like sardines on the last express train. I didn't really feel warm again until after my shower.
The plan was to meet in the pub at two and celebrate and talk about our races. More on that in the next blog...
Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole