Monday, December 14, 2009

now i believe it

So this weekend was the Dallas White Rock Marathon, and what a great weekend it was! There weren't as many Landrunners participating as there were in 2008 (only three that I know of), but we still had a fun time. Upon our arrival into Dallas, we headed straight for the expo where we promptly picked up the race packets, tested out our acting skills, chastised our friend for skipping out on announcing this year, and tried unsuccessfully to stalk Bill Rodgers....typical expo activities, really. That evening was much more low key than last year's White Rock Eve. There were NO Brazilian soccer players in the immediate area and the wine consumed was limited to the tiny samples from the wine guy at Whole Foods. I even tried to go to bed early, but insomnia kept me up watching reruns of Law & Order SVU. At least it was the good L&O series, though. Anyway, I finally caught a couple of hours of sleep before bounding out of bed, wide-ass awake at 3:45 a.m. - two and a half hours before the alarm was set to go off! With very little sleep and a whole lot of time to kill, I made my way down to the lobby in search of some coffee. Of course they operate on reasonable hours and the breakfast room didn't open until 6:00. The kind front-desk lady did offer me one of those awesome Doubletree Hotel cookies, an apology for being unable to caffeinate me, and directions to the nearest place with fresh coffee. Quick sidebar here... If you've never had one of the famous Doubletree Hotel cookies, you are missing out! It's so good that I saved the package with the list of ingredients so I could try to replicate it, and this is coming from someone who would rather have an extra hunk of bread or glass of wine for dessert! Okay, so it's 4:00 and I'm heading out for coffee and to fill my car up. By the time I make it back to the hotel, other runners are starting to stir, so I chat a bit with a man and his kid while they wait for his wife to come down. Finally it's time to throw on the shorts and head to the start line with zippy Christmas music blaring all the way over.

It's chilly to me, which means it's perfect for most everyone else. Very little wind and no drizzle already makes for much better running conditions than last year. As the gun goes off, I start repeating my Tulsa plan to myself - run the first six miles slowly, walk the next, and repeat. I'm still, yes STILL, trying to be smart. I need good running karma for my body since I have a lot to make up for from throwing it into that ultra a few weeks ago. I feel too good, though. My legs have missed the hills, there is no pain, and they don't want the slow, boring miles that Dr. Tom has prescribed. I compromise and settle into what feels like about a 9:00 pace next to this intriguing set of runners who invited me into their conversation. Nearly to the six mile mark, the guy says to his friend "We're doing great...holding between 8:23 and 8:33 pace." My comment was something along the lines of "Holy fuck, Dr. Tom would have my head!" and I back off. Okay, so intelligence comes and goes with me...

Once again, I'm reasoning with myself. Since I slowed down as soon as I heard the pace, I can go ahead and run the next two and then take a walk break. It didn't hurt. I ran to the eight mile mark. I walked mile eight. Okay, so it wasn't the original plan, but it was definitely preplanned. I'd conjured it up TWO WHOLE MILES ago! At the tenth mile, I entered back into a run, but quickly forced another walk break even though running felt better. I wanted to be able to fly down the Katy trail to the finish line without my conscience screaming at me. Wasting no time once I hit the end of the walking point, I sped up and started picking my people to catch. If you're a runner, you know what I mean. It's one of the oldest mind games out there, but somehow it works every time. I chase and catch my targets all the way to the end. I feel fast and nauseous and wonderful, and I'm completely clueless about my time until I round the corner onto the straightaway that takes me to the finish line. That's where my blurry eyes notice the clock says 2:10:33. It's over ten minutes slower than last year, given the injury plaguing me since the middle of the summer, I'll happily take it. Not only that, but for the first time I actually believe that I can make it to Boston one day.

1 comment:

Willie said...

This is the first time I've read this post. Somehow I missed it.
Great recap of a great race. You should still believe.