Thursday, July 9, 2015

Trail Race in NYC? Sure!

I told myself I was going to take July off after a relatively intense (for me) racing schedule for the first half of the year. Ten races down, 4 new PRs. I've improved a lot, and am proud of the hard work I put in. (I've made my way from 13mi/m to about a 9:30mi/m.) I know it's time to take a short break to regroup before I start ramping back up for Philly and Honolulu. But after finding an inaugural trail 5k in NYC, I signed up with my sis. It'll be the only one for July! No time expectations. I am running this one for fun!


Worked hard for this! My first official sub 30 5K!
 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap

I feel like I am at a point in my running life, that I am finally getting to be good. Yesterday's race proved that point where I am capable of bigger challenges than I can imagine. It may sound dramatic, but it isn't. And part of me just thinks that it's because I never really tried hard enough, that I coasted through my life being just "good enough," (just because someone validated that in me a long time ago, and it sort of became my identity).

Anyway, the Airbnb Brooklyn Half was probably my most anticipated half. I love it because it is local, and because it is familiar. And it was the only half that I ran pregnant (before I knew I was), and it is also where I PRed last year. Having come off of a banner year last year, and being fairly inconsistent in training this year since Fred Lebow in January, I was a bit worried that I wouldn't have it in me to PR again, even though it was my ultimate goal. There is no other option than to give it my best no matter what.

And I believe I did.


Even though it was not run in an ideal pace or ideal weather, I pulled off a PR by close to 1:58. New PR now stands at 2:16:30.

I think if I controlled my excitement I would have probably faired better. But considering the (relatively) blazing fast pace I was going in the first half, (and knowing I would pay dearly during the second), I can't help but be proud of the mental toughness it took to accomplish this, and to be able to now dip below a 10:00mi/m regularly. I've only dreamed of this a few years ago.

The race started off with a bang. I took a Hammer gel right beforehand, and it added to the adrenaline I had in the tank. As much as I tried to pull back, I couldn't contain the energy, and ran a couple of sub 10 miles. Right after I passed the 5K mark, it started to drizzle, which was a bit of a welcome because it was getting pretty humid. Having sipped at the bottle throughout the entire way over, I made my first refill at the 3.5 mark, and proceeded the long ascending back portion of Prospect Park, which always taxed me mentally. I've only ran up the entire back portion without stopping, and that was with Kavin, whom I trained with during weekends. Right around that time I thought I saw him in front.

Also right around that time, the drizzle became steady rain, and it started to really come down. It messed with me, and I was pissed. I tried to put my headphones on, but the rain made it hard. So I said screw it and just ran pissed. Perhaps it was because I just wanted to get through that portion of the route, but I actually made it to the top of the hill near Eastern Parkway/Grand Army Plaza in good time. I realized that I was still going a bit fast, so I tried to follow someone who was running a steady 10:15, since that seemed to be what I was feeling at the time.

After looping around, I took my second gel thinking it was a good time even though my stomach didn't want it. (I realize I never really want the gels, but my legs appreciate it.) The sugar kicked in just in time for the down hill 7th and 8th miles, and against better judgment, I just flew. I knew I was going to get in trouble, but somehow I just wanted to push.

By mile 9, I knew I was in trouble. I had one more gel left, and I wanted to save it for after 10, and I also needed a water refill so I stopped. And that was when the wheels started falling off slowly. The familiar twinge of cramps started to show itself. Somewhere around 9-10 I saw a fellow runner down being tended to by paramedics. (Kavin said he saw them performing chest compressions, so I hope he is okay.) Distracted, I stepped on a pothole and almost twisted my ankle, but by then I knew it was going to be a long struggle to the finish.

I downed my last gel around Avenue S, right after the 10th mile and hoped that going a bit slower would keep the cramps at bay. I knew I had enough time in the bank, so to speak, so even if I had a couple of miles over 10:38 that I would probably still PR, though I was getting nervous it wouldn't be. I just kept willing myself forward until I saw the familiar overpasses.

But everything from mile 10 on was a struggle. My stomach didn't want that last gel. My left shin started twinging. My right toes started cramping. (I don't even know how toes can cramp up like that but they did.) I just kept moving forward.

Mile 12 was hard. Everything hit me at once, but knowing I was so close, I did my best to ignore the pain and nausea setting in. (I really could've used some chew to distract myself, but just started playing counting games to run/walk.) Tried not to panic when I saw I ran it at 11:02, and clicked the garmin to distance so I would stop paying attention to pace.

After the last overpass, (thank goodness we did a 10 miler a couple weeks ago so I remembered that there were three of them), I knew it was about a 1200 length before the last turn onto the boardwalk. I tried to keep as steady a pace as possible just to inch forward.

I heard someone behind me ask, "What does 800m mean?" Someone else answered back, "that means we have about half a mile left." I half turned and looked, and saw that it was the 2:15 pacer and her running group! At that point, I tried in vain to just keep up with them, but the sudden burst of speed made my right toes completely cramp up that I hobbled. I couldn't believe it! 2:15! I wanted to just glide with them, but it wasn't meant to be. The last 400m was probably the most I've ever struggled to the finish. My toes just curled and locked up, and each step forward caused pain to shoot down the back of my left leg. But somehow I just kept going until I reached the finish.

I could have cried, but quite honestly, I was just so relieved and exhausted. I really left everything out there on the course, and for that I am extremely proud.

I grabbed my hard earned medal, apple and a mylar sheet, and headed over to the MCU Stadium, which served as the family reunion area. Walked in and found a patch of astroturf in the outfield to stretch out on, and looked up my live results to confirm my new PR. At the stadium, I met up with Kavin, and while waiting for Chris and Anna, bumped into a friend, whom it was his first half. (Automatic PR!) Kavin and I discussed our performance, and were both really relieved that that was over. Finally, Chris and Anna made their way over, and we took pics inside the minor league stadium before heading to get some Nathan's hot dogs.

I'm proud of everyone that ran. Chris literally only ran 2 miles this entire year (even though we walked a good amount during the weekends), and was able to run/walk his way to the finish. Many would say that is insane, but somehow his confidence of being able to complete things, is something to be admired. Anna was sick the day before, and slept pretty much the entire day. She was dizzy and didn't eat, (only had 2 Ensures), and was still only 50/50 by 11pm, so for her to complete a half in sub optimal conditions was a monumental feat. It's safe to say that all of us earned our medals (and hot dogs)!

New Half PR ~ 2:16:30

Brian's first half. Automatic PR!

Nathan's. Best hot dogs, ever!

These are all special to me.






Sunday, April 26, 2015

La Isla vs Moving Comfort: Bra Review and Comparison

As a well-endowed woman and runner, it is often hard to find bras that hold up well to running and working out. Once I find a brand that works, I tend to just stick to it until I can find something tried and true as an alternative.

Prior to finding a single bra that worked for speed work, long distances and working out, I had to double up on bras just to minimize the bouncing. And anyone who has ever done this can tell you how utterly annoying it is. Strapping on two bras, and then having to peel them both off after a sweaty run, is just frustrating and time-consuming.

In the case of being a 34DD bra size, the Moving Comfort Fiona style bra has been a savior. The wide shoulder straps with adjustable velcro, and comfortable wire-free band around the torso, is a saving grace. I love just about everything about Moving Comfort. Well, everything except the price. The Fiona bra from Moving Comfort retails around $46 per bra. On a few rare occasions I am able to find them on sale, but 34DD sizes run out quick! I snooze, I lose. And now that I am a SAHM with limited income, the means to continue running, and making sure I have appropriate gear is even more important.

So, when someone mentioned to me about a brand called La Isla being a carbon copy at a way lesser price, I had to give it a try. I purchased the La Isla Women's High Impact Wire Free sports bra for about $19, since it seems like the closest thing to the Fiona. When it arrived two days later (thanks to Amazon Prime), I put them side by side for a photo comparison:



Top is the brand new La Isla, and bottom is the well-worn Moving Comfort Fiona.

As you can see, it looks pretty darn similar. The only real difference (besides the fact that one is new and one is in dire need of retirement) is that the inside lining is white in the Moving Comfort brand, and completely monotone in the La Isla. Both have inch-long velcro tabs that are adjustable. Both offer three hooks and loops on the back. Both are lined with the same meshy moisture wicking material inside. The differences between the two are slight. The collar area in the front is slightly wider in the Moving Comfort, and the La Isla shoulder straps are about 1/4" wider. The Moving Comfort band around the torso seems to be a smidgen thicker. And the La Isla care tags inside is long (3") where as the Moving Comfort is sort of the normal 1" square tags that most clothing have. (I'd probably snip it off.) In terms of fit, they both fit the same, (taking into account that the La Isla bra feels the same as when the Moving Comfort was new). 

So fit is one thing. How well did it work for a run and a high intensity workout? Being that this arrived on a cross training day, I tested it out with this awesome HIIT workout, which put the bra to work immediately with dreaded burpees. And I did notice a little movement, but not enough to distract me from the workout.
Gave it a rinse, and let it air dry, and two days later took it out for an 8 mile run (in preparation for the Brooklyn Half coming up). And I gotta say I did not notice my boobs, which is awesome! The boobs were secure, and the run was fantastic. And at $19, I am completely satisfied with the La Isla bra, and totally psyched that I'm not shelling out more money than I have to. (By the way, if this review helped you, please feel free to use the above links to purchase the bras reviewed. Did I mention that I am a SAHM with very limited income?) 

I also purchased a racer back style bra from La Isla, and will test that out as well in a future run, but for now, I am pretty excited that this new one fits so I can rotate out the old Moving Comfort. I'm pretty sure this will be the bra for my PR chase in a few weeks!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

More Half Recap

Word of advice (to myself): Don't take a five hour energy shot right before a half.

I can hear the voices now, "nothing new on race day!" And yet, I decided to throw caution into the wind and just do something I thought would help enhance my race because I lacked proper rest the night before. Talk about stupid. You'd think that with all the time I've run before, that I would not make such a rookie mistake, but oh well. It happens.

The night before, I took Mac over to my mom's place, and stayed over. Chris had a softball game early in the morning at the same time as my race, so this arrangement for my mom to watch her, works out. My sis, Anna was running, and stayed over as well, so we were both able to head out to Central Park together. Having to sleep with a toddler on the same bed means no real rest. It's more like several cat naps between waking up. Mac wasn't totally comfortable. And as luck would have it, she was having teething issues so there were several incidents of ear piercing screams in the middle of the night. I must remember to pack children's Tylenol next time just in case.

Woke up as quietly as possible, (though about 20 minutes before we were about to leave, Mac wakes up in one of her moods, and freaked out my parents and sis, who have never seen such an episode. Calmed her down, gave her milk, and gently ushered her back to bed. (Told my mom this was pretty much normal on most days, and that she would wake up between 6:45-7:15, though she must have been tired because she woke up at 8:30!)  Anyway, had some oatmeal and left around 7am with Anna. We stopped at a drug store to pick up the 5 hour energy. I keep hearing good things about it, so I figured that it could either help or hurt spectacularly. Unfortunately for me, it was spectacularly bad. I took it right before entering the corral, and even before the national anthem was done, I knew it was a bad idea. I got lightheaded and my heart started racing.

The race started out decent enough, but I couldn't control my pace. It was just all over the place. I had a blistering 9:37 at the third mile leading up the the first pass at the dreaded Harlem Hill. Around mile 4, I began to feel the now familiar tightness in my left hamstring, and I plugged along until it felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. At that point, I pretty much knew I was in trouble, and had to decide quickly, do I finish slowly and conservatively or do I just DNF? As much as I wanted to DNF, I couldn't justify it. The race was $80, and I was already out there. Barring major injury, (which from assessing with adjustments on course), I was going to just finish no matter what. Putting all notions of PRing aside, I just cruised. The shot affected me so badly that I didn't even fuel as I normally would, which added to the misery. It got to the point where I started craving Gatorade, which I never want to drink unless I am desperate... and well, by that point (mile 8), I was pretty freakin desperate. Anyway, I completed the race, but it was ugly. My splits ranged from 9:37 (mile 3) to 13:00 (mile 11) with most in the 10s-11s. Despite the fact that it was one of my poorer performances, it was my third best time for a half (2:26:59), so I'll take it. One thing I won't ever take again is a 5 hour shot! I mean, no one needs 8000% of Vitamin B at once!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Road to Chicago

I WILL BE GREAT

I had a mantra going into this marathon: I will be great. 
I will (I will do this. I will improve. I will become better. I will finish.) 
Be great (by challenging myself, by working towards a new goal.)

I will be great.
I will.
Be great.

There were so many things surrounding this full that I used as motivation. Three years ago when I ran my last marathon, I was a completely different person. I wasn't serious. I didn't take my health seriously. I didn't run with purpose. Back then my training was marginal at best. I talked a good game, but when it came down to it, I coasted my way through. 

Maybe it's because I am older now. Maybe having a child changed my perspective. Or maybe it's because the thought of challenging myself both physically and mentally is the only way I can feel like I am making the most of this body with the limited time I have on this earth. Whatever the case, something fundamentally shifted in my mind last year.

When I clicked submit on the Chicago marathon lottery registration last February, I just knew. I knew this year will be different. This marathon will be different.

It's worth noting that the shift was caused by a low point in my running/personal life. Fresh out of the "new motherhood" phase, I was overweight and out of shape. I ran a half close to a year after giving birth, and finished with an abysmal result. I was embarrassed.

The fact that I crashed and burned wasn't the issue, but that I used my new status as an excuse to disregard my own health. Humbled and humiliated, I joined online running groups for motivation, and found people whose enthusiasm for running and working out to be infectious.

You can say that I started training for Chicago even before I knew I was chosen to run, even before I decided to enter the lottery. I sought redemption for that abysmal half by immediately signing up for another, one that would toughen my resolve. I started strength training in earnest, and cleaned up my eating habits (for the most part). I started running and working out in the winter, something I have never done before.

Three months after the abysmal half, in the dead of January, I found my redemption by running a new PR, a cycle that repeated itself over and over this year. The distances varied, but the results were the same. One by one the old records fell. Part of me was amazed that I would find so much improvement in such a short period of time. And part of me cursed my younger self for not trying harder.

I set aside what I thought I knew, and relearned the basics of base building, started incorporating speed work and reprogrammed my schedule. If you're reading this, then you pretty much knew how my training went, so I'll spare you the details...

THE LESS THAN IDEAL

Traveling out of town for a marathon is a daunting event: fly in. Run to expo. Check into hotel. Find food. And try to get enough hydration and rest before race day. Add in a group and you have a few logistical issues to balance.

The Friday night before flying in, I only managed 5 hours of sleep. Saturday I was up at 5:30am for an 8:30 flight. In my mind, the only things on my agenda was to head to the expo, meet up with the LOCM crew, find some food, lay out my gear, and call it a day. And while that was essentially what happened, everything took way longer than I had planned. Having made arrangements for accommodation with a group, I should have taken into account that incorporating the schedules of 8 other people would result in a less than ideal situation for individual prep time. Not wanting to be selfish, I just went with the flow. However, this caused me to be on my feet for way longer than I had anticipated. I also didn't get a proper meal in until very late into the evening, when my legs were screaming at me from the flight and from running around. Up until about 8pm, the only food I ate was an airport croissant, a cup of coffee, a bagel and a banana. I did manage however, to keep hydrated by carrying my water bottle everywhere.

I was up for over 16 hours, on my feet for way too long. I also had plans to get bread and PB nearby, but tossed that decision aside to chance the free breakfast at the hotel. (And when they ran out of coffee, and only had bagels and muffins left, thanked the heavens silently that I at least had the sense to stop into a 7/11 to grab bananas, almonds, coconut water and pretzels "just in case.") 


Needless to say, the entire time leading before the race was taxing both physically and mentally, but once I was able to ritualistically lay out my gear, I was able to relax. I fell asleep around 11:15pm, and actually slept fairly well until the alarm went off five and a half hours later. 

Armed with two bananas, a bagel, a quarter cup of coffee and a bag of pretzels, I headed out of the hotel and approached a runner who was trying to hail a taxi, and asked if she would mind sharing a ride to the start, to which she happily accepted. The cab driver was only able to drive us about three blocks over before informing us that the roads were already being closed off, and that we'd have to walk the rest of the way. It's worth noting that within those three blocks, we almost got into a car accident because some idiot was driving the wrong way, and if it weren't for the quick foot of our cabbie breaking, I probably wouldn't have made it to the starting line. (It's funny now, but the only thought I had in my mind at the time was, "Oh hell no, I need to run this race!")

After walking to the entrance gates, and sharing running stories, my fellow car accident escapee and I bid each other a good race. She headed to her corral, and I walked over to mine where I happily met up with our fearless LOCM leader, and later on, H, my fellow NYer. I stuffed down the bagel, bananas, and half a bag of pretzels, made a last porta potty run, and prayed that the less than ideal previous 24 hours will not play a big part in the next 5. But I knew it would. The question was how it was going to play out. 


But first, let me take a selfie...

MILES 1-18

The first half was a blur. I honestly don't remember much of the early miles other than the fact that I felt really good. I was conscious of going out too fast, so I tried to pull back whenever I realized I was quick stepping it. I had trouble reading the garmin, (which I knew would be the case from reading course feedback), so I tried to go by feel. It didn't seem hot, but I stuck to my hydration strategy, and refilled at mile 5 and 10 like I always did. However, the first sign of trouble came between miles 8 and 9. I felt the familiar twinge of a cramp threat on my left calf. I wrestled with the decision, and ultimately decided pop a Tylenol in just to see if I can hold off any cramping. (That twinge gave me flashbacks of mile 10 at MCM when all the running around the day before caused a leg cramp.)

I do remember I got super excited when I got to the halfway point, and thinking to myself that I'm actually running straight through. The first time I actually took a walk break was around the 17.5 mark, and I purposely did that because I knew I was going to get myself in trouble if I didn't reel it in and refocus. Realizing I hit 2:25 for the first half, I knew I had a little time in the bank so to speak. There would be no negative splitting on this day... 

MILES 19-26

From 19 on, the wheels pretty much started to fall off. I held on as much as I could, but I could feel my legs getting heavier. At certain points, I started adding more walking in just to try and head off the quads, which were beginning to seize up in a way that I've never experienced before, and wondered if the rolling hills training versus fast and flat course running caused this new phenomenon. After reaching mile 22 and popping a third Tylenol, I was about to let go of my sub 5 hour B goal, but for some reason thought about people on suicide missions, and how they just don't give up without a fight, and how their spirit just drives them to their final goal. (Chalk this one up for the glycogen store depletion.) As macabre as that sounded, it gave me a new mantra to focus on...

NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT

Through the entire race, I semi-followed people who had pace numbers on their backs. From mile 22 on, I bounced back and forth between a lady with chevron capris (4:55) and two neon green TFK runners (5:00). Each time I slowed down to a walk, I thought to myself, "not without a fight," and started running again. I got angry. And then I got focused. I came too far to just let go, and that thought sustained me for the last 4 miles. 

Around mile 24, I got lightheaded. Not without a fight. 

Around mile 25, I got angry again. Not without a fight. 

By the time the "1 More Mile" sign appeared, I had used up everything in the tank, and was running on fumes. The last 800 meters seemed almost as long as the first 13 miles. I crossed the finish line with everything I had, and was immediately overwhelmed by all the feelings that had built up over the last several hours. 

A lady in the crowd calls out, "5:05:30! Great job!" And I accepted that as my time, along with my medal and beer. Funny thing was, somewhere along the way, I realized that it didn't even matter what time I finished at, because I was already proud of what I had accomplished. It wasn't until I sat down and checked my messages that I saw a screenshot of my official time, and got crazy excited that I had attained my B goal that I cried some more. The beer tasted extra good after that!


I literally got chills when I saw that.


Oh, and for those that wondered, I did have my celebratory donut in the end! (Seems to work, so why change it now?!)


Caramel Pumpkin Pecan donut courtesy of Glazed and Infused



The splits. (I can't believe I did a couple of sub 10s.)










Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fred Lebow Half Marathon Recap

Grete's Gallop used to be my favorite half outside of the NYC Half. But the race I ran in October was one not really worth recapping. Let's just say the excuses of yesteryear reared its ugly head, and I was happy to have even finished in under 3 hours.

From the moment I crossed the finish line of GG, I knew I had to redeem myself. I signed up for Fred Lebow this past Sunday, knowing it would be harsh. I needed the mental and physical punishment of training in cold weather. I've done this race before and came in third to last, knowing how brutal it can be in January. I needed it to get disciplined again and to focus on how well I know I can do. Let's face it; I've been a slacker all my life, and once in a while I have to throw in these types of challenges to wake myself up. Grete Waitz and Fred Lebow. Two legends that gave us this gift of running in the city. I have to pay homage and not take such things for granted.

Using HH's Intermediate 1 plan to train was something I've never done before. I always used Novice because of my pace. This time, I forced myself to step up to the plate and train in earnest, paying attention to things I never did back in the day. Things like tempo runs and hill repeats. And strength training.

Within the span of 12 weeks, I was able to drop the rest of the baby weight and gain a whole new confidence. It's been a while since I actually felt sexy. That wasn't my focus, but it certainly was a positive side effect of doing so much.

 And my pace got a lot faster, my recovery times a lot shorter.

Somehow, something finally clicked.



Race day was the coldest day I've ever run in. Period. It never got above 18ยบ. Even with 2 pairs of compression pants, 2 wicking layers, 3 base and active layers, Chris' down vest, gloves, wool headband, it wasn't enough. Secretly vowed to myself to get appropriate winter gear. I got to the runner's village at 7am to pick up my bib. For the next hour I ran from the porta potties back to the village to baggage to corral. Once in the corrals I was doing lots of shuffling to keep warm, wondering how on earth can the guy next to me wear one pair of shorts in this weather.



The race started, and the first few miles were fast out of the gate because it was so freakin cold out. My mile 5 the winds picked up. For some reason, that back stretch of the loop in Central Park is one of the hardest for me. It could be the rolling hills right after Harlem Hill, which I actually prepared for doing the loops at Prospect. Decided to take a gel then and realized I didn't like the chocolate Gu like I used to. Either that or it was too cold for my liking, but it did the trick. I picked up my pace on miles 6 and 7 completing the first loop of the course. In all honesty, those two miles felt the best. I caught myself thinking that I finally settled in, at the halfway point.

The next several miles I felt the familiar twinge of the right hamstring and wondered if I had done enough during training to push through it. It didn't hurt, but it was making its presence known. I think I held back a bit, but quite honestly, the bitter winds just have a way of amplifying all these minor issues. By the time I reached mile 11, I thought I was going to break. No sooner than I asked myself what else do I have in the tank? The wind whips directly head on. Back stretch after Harlem Hill again was where the mental battle happened. My thoughts started to get the better of me. I thought that sub 2:30 goal was slipping away slowly, and I was trying not to unravel.

For the next several miles I reeled my thoughts in and zoned out. Treat it like a training run. You've done this plenty of times. So what that it's a little (a lot) colder than what you're used to? You're almost done. I remember seeing the clock somewhere around mile 11 and thought it would be really close. I started playing games, doing everything I can to push ahead. Don't let that lady pass you! Imagine a giant hook and hook onto that guy running by. He'll pull you along! I used just about every mental trick in the book to stop myself from walking. I gave permission to drop the sub 2:30 goal and focused on just beating my PB.

Then when I was just about to accept the goal readjustment, at the last turn, a giant clock appears, reading 2:31xx. Then suddenly it dawned on me that I was RIGHT there! I started about 5 minutes after the gun! That goal is still within reach! As soon as I thought that, a random volunteer shouted, "Look straight up ahead and give it everything you've got!" My legs responded to both the revelation and random shouter, and I charged up the hill with this surge of inner strength. Somewhere in between the deeps breaths I heard them announce my name but I was so focused on crossing the line that I broke down when I did.

I thought I'd only cry at marathon finishes, but there was something special about this race, and all the effort I put into it.

Of course, walking out of the park after a half marathon in sub zero temperatures was another reason to cry. But I digress...


Official time: 2:27:10

6:44 off my fastest, which was back in 2011 when I was training for the full. I'll take it!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New PB! Poland Spring 5M Marathon Kickoff

When I got to Central Park this morning, I thought to myself, "This is great PB weather." Guess what? I got that PB!

48 degrees
50% humidity
5mph wind

I have to say the credit goes to my friend Judy. Judy is a part of the group that ran NYCM 2011. (During someone's birthday dinner outing in 2010, a bunch of us got drunk and started talking marathons. Next thing we knew, we all agreed, went through the training, and ran it.)

Judy is usually a lot faster than me,  but today, she was within my sights. She passed me around mile 2, and I just kept my eyes on her the whole time. I took short, quick walks during the uphills, used the downhills to tuck in and speed up, and kept my pace until the end.

By mile 4 I caught up and we ran the last mile in together, but we were both spent. I pushed the entire last mile. There were grandstands set up for next week's marathon and it added to my fuel. I gave it everything during the last 800m and sprinted as fast as I could to the finish, (almost to the point of throwing up), and was rewarded by a new record!

Time: 58:08

I beat my personal best (this exact race back in 2007 when I was actually training for my first marathon) by 1:10. Almost unheard of for me!