"One good thing about music, once it hits you, you feel no pain"
I had no race plan for today. I had no idea what to expect. I've never run as many miles as I have been in training and I did not taper for this race. I did not want it to interfere with training. And then I felt a cold coming on the night before. I did not have my heart set on a PR, but I figured if I did get out there and feel like actually racing, there was a good chance I would given my training over the last few months.
I decided to run with music today, something I've never done during a race. I got to the start and ramped it up as loud as it could go. I don't know why...it just felt right. The race started, and I immediately got into a zone like I've never entered before. I opened it up and let it rip for the first mile and felt freaking amazing. Free. Stress-free. Worry-free. Happy. Like myself. It was great. The first mile flew by in 7:03. Umm..oops. I guess I'll slow it down a bit...I have nothing to prove.
Then I didn't check my watch again till the corner right after mile 3. Again, I was in the zone, listening to my songs, singing along a bit (sorry if you were near me, I'm sure I was obnoxious). Mile 3 heartrate - just at lactate. Perfect. I don't remember much from mile 3 to 5, but I remember thinking that I was tearing through the downhills. I have never been a good downhill runner, but for some reason, today I was able to open it up and pass quite a few people on the downs. It felt right.
|Mile 5 - in the zoneeeee!|
I got to mile 5 and "woke up" from my zone just in time to see that dreaded turny hill that had always signaled the beginning of my slow demise the previous four time I have run this race. I took some deep breaths, turned up the music again, and charged ahead. Hmm...not as bad as I remember it...and heart rate still at lactate.
Again, I zoned out until I got to the Beach to Beacon start (6.5ish?? maybe??) And then the strangest thing happened. For just a few seconds, I thought the wheels were coming off. Literally though..just a few seconds. Four years ago, my grandfather passed away while I was running this race. I was on my way back home to CT to see him after the race, knowing that he wasn't doing well. I never made it home in time to see him. The last two years running this race have been very hard knowing that he passed while I was running it. But this year, I didn't even remember. There were no tears at the start. But in those seconds I felt the wheels come off, he popped into my head and I smiled. Maybe I was a lot more tired than I thought...but I swear he told me he was proud of me because of how hard I worked. He was the hardest worker I have ever met. Immediately I got back into my zone. Matthew popped into my head quickly too. Wheels back on. In an instant.
|Mile 8 let's get this done!|
I kept trucking through and the miles were going by like crazy. At mile 8 I had a burst of energy and started passing people (that has NEVER happened to my at mile 8 of this race). Mile 8 had always been where the I start to struggle big time at this race. I felt a burst of confidence growing in me that maybe, just maybe, I would be able to keep pace till the end. I saw the mile 9 sign and thought "shit, that burst came a bit too early."
And then it happened. Freaking "Ramble On." Oh, Led Zeppelin. You, like my Grandpa, never fail to pick me up right when I need you. I swear to God if "Fool in the Rain" had come on at the particular moment, I may just have ran a 6 minute mile just to make that the last song of this race. I yipped out a quick "F*CK YEA" (sorrryyyy to anyone near me, it was a complete impulse) and freaking ran. Right as the song finished I saw Dee ahead working traffic which motivated me to keep on moving through. I gave Dee the thumbs up and ran through that ah-maz-ing downhill finish. I rounded the corner and saw 1:13:41 on the clock and gave another involuntary "F*CK YEA." (again, sorry...family friendly event, I know, I know) finishing in 1:13:44 (gun time).
|BOOM last mile! RAMBLE ON!|
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled about a three minute PR on this course. But I am WAY more thrilled about how I felt. AWESOME. Awesome and STRONG. The wheels stayed on. My heart rate stayed at lactate, and even a little below in my slower miles (6 and 7). I enjoyed every single mile of this race...and every single note sang. I have two loves - two hobbies that I am passionate about. Running and music. Singing is sadly something I don't do much anymore, but god do I still love it. Music + Running = feel no pain. Thanks Bob Marley. Oh, and thanks Led Zeppelin. I rambled on, and I sang my song and I was going round the world....
"Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear
How years ago in days of old when magic filled the air
'twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, mm-I met a girl so fair
but Gollum and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her
her, her, yeah, and ain't nothin' I can do...."