Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Marathon Success: Week 26

Today I'd love to tell you about my first 30K (18.6) race in detail. The race was part of the warm up series for the Houston Marathon. It was also 10 minutes away, so pretty much in our training grounds. I must tell you first that I prayed for 20 weeks and God provided the registration fee as well as new tennis shoes for this race. I am so thankful! I am so grateful to all the people who helped get to and through this race!

The day before: 
It's official!
I picked up by race bib from the running store. It felt like it was really, really official then! I also stopped at a few garage sales on the way there. I actually found a great deal on a Christmas toy!
My kids are lots of fun. All the time :)
The kids and I had Pizza and salad for dinner. Hanging out with the kids was actually the perfect thing to do before race day. I noticed it was super early when they went to bed so I watched a little TV and had granola with yogurt. I also made sure to get EVERYTHING ready for race day. I also got my kids' clothes ready for church the next day. The deal was that I went to the race by myself and my husband took the kids to church.
Pre-Race:
The morning of the race I had my usual breakfast: coffee and fruit. Soon my dear running coach arrived so we went to the race together. She has been a blessing: very encouraging and filled with wisdom for this newbie runner.
Once I arrived at City Center, I looked for our Running Group's tent. I went inside and thought: "SCORE!" There were 3 headers, chairs, places for us to leave our bags and 4 massage tables for after the race. They do treat us like royalty at our running group.
What a blessing! I quickly found a lot of folks and a friend who runs around the same pace as myself. A group of us went to the restroom inside one of the hotels and that's when I saw how many people were there for the race. I'm guessing around 1,200! There were runners of all shapes and sizes. It's fun to be part of such diverse community. It was also great to see what I call "runners' fashion." People had on the coolest gear out there! The most interesting outfit I saw was a guy who was running on khaki shorts, a v-neck t-shirt an Toms. I don't know how he came up with that but it was an interesting choice!
The 30K:
I started the run with one of my buddies and we ran together for half of the race. I decided to use the restroom then I noticed my pants were falling so I told her to go on while I fixed my inconvenient wardrobe malfunction. 
There was a No Headphones Rule in effect which meant I did a lot of talking in the course with different folks but mostly with my running group buddies. Their encouragement was like gold! The most interesting person I talked to was Denise, a Houston runner who started running to deal with her husband's cancer. He's now in remission (thank God!) and she kept the habit of running. She's also a therapist, which meant she was super encouraging and a joy to talk to on the course. I also talked to a guy from my running group who was cussing and told me 'shoot me now, this is hell!' when I was trying to encourage him to keep going. Different people react differently to encouragement I guess! It was super funny. 
The horrific running pic. Yep.
The finish was the most challenging part of this race. Folks, according to my Garmin I ran way more than 18.6 miles (which is just fine with me). It took every mental and emotional stamina I took to finish. I recited prayers, scripture and I told myself outloud: "Cintia, you have been training for this so you will not stop and walk, you will run through this finish line." I guess it worked because at 3:26:45.1 I finished my first 30K. Thank God!

My calves were super sore at the end and I was super cold. My hands never got warm. I think it was 32 degrees out there the whole time but nothing like the last training run I had. Thank God my running group had 4 massage tables ready for us when we finished. I got my medal and the t-shirt as well as a goodie bag and headed to the tent. As you can see I stayed close to the warmer until it was my time to get a massage.
Thank God for one more race!
Getting a massage on achy calves is not fun but it got me back on my feet so I could walk to Starbucks with my running buddy who actually encouraged me to join the group. We got a spinach wrap and coffee. It was divine! 
Thankful for this accomplishment. God is good!
My takeaways from my second Texas race (and longest race to this date) are:
• Being prepared the night before pays off;
• Running with friends is the best thing ever;
• Being part of my running group has been a blessing beyond measure;
• Massages after long runs are God sent;
• Yes, I would do it all over again!

Recovering from this race has been good. The massage, as well as two great nights of sleep were enough for me to get out there this morning. I had the privilege of training with a friend I met locally. She often qualifies for Boston and trains by herself. She was also recovering from the 30K and slowed down so we could run together for 3 miles.  
It was cold out there but oh, it was so worth it!
I'm already setting running goals for next season. I know I haven't ran the marathon yet but in my heart I have and I will. I like goals because they keep me going. The 30K and this morning's run gave me inspiration to dream more, set higher goals and see where I can go from here.
This weekend is the next to last super long runs we have then tapper starts. The marathon is almost here and I can't wait to conquer those miles.

Previously in this Series:
Weeks 1-10
Weeks 14-20
Week 21
Week 22
Week 23
Week 25
Marathon Training Basics (Video)

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