In honor of leaving no visible footprint on the earth as we ran today’s Chesapeake Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon, I will type in green- one of the complementary colors of my favored pink.
All week Mary and I, and others in the Hampton Roads Runners watched the weather forecast in hopes that the predicted thunderstorms would move to Sunday or at least hold off until after the race. Our wishes came true, as it still has really yet to rain today at all. The overcast sky provided a cooler temperature for the whole race except for the moments when the sun decided to peak it’s cheerful face out.
Mary and I started very near the starting line for this race since there were no corrals. We took off and were ahead of the 2:00 pacer for a while til Mother Nature called. I think I seriously need to be more conscious of how much water I drink the day before a race. I was so thirsty yesterday, and had nothing to drink before the race, but still had to make a pit stop at mile one. (Side note: I think this is also a side effect of my new diet.)
As we waited, the 2:00, 2:15, and 2:30 pacers passed us. We were not in line for any longer than 3 minutes, so I think these pacers were just getting into a steady groove. We quickly caught up to the 2:15 pacer after our stop, and passed him. I ran with Mary for almost four miles before I slowed up a bit. While I could’ve maintained our pace for another few miles, I knew I was not physically able to keep it for the remaining 9 miles. (Mary and I talked about adding more speed work and strength training after the race to make it easier for both of us to maintain a quicker pace.)
I was able to keep my own, slower, pace for the remainder of the race, and even managed to push with all the energy I had left to sprint the last tenth of a mile as soon as I hit the 13 mile marker. I give kudos to the guy at the 12.75 mile marker because he had a sign that said “You CAN stomp this swamp today! Keep going!” And he actually was yelling at me to keep pushing and to give it all I had because he was more than certain I could finish strong. At mile 6, I probably would’ve thrown my water cup at him, but at 12.75 miles, I smiled, shook my head in agreement, and dug in.
There is nothing more satisfying than crossing a finish line with all the power, energy, courage, and strength you have, and to have people cheer you on because you are finishing strong. Today, I literally gave it all. I could barely hold my self up as I got past the finish line, and literally leaned on a truck near the finish line until I could catch my breath. What was really thrilling was that the clock at the finish said 2:25:18 when I crossed. I knew my chip time would be a little less, but not by much since we started so close to the finish. I received my time shortly after I arrived home, and it was drum roll, please… 2:25:09!!!! I STOMPED the swamp AND my personal best time. I have another PR today that was 5 and 1/2 minutes less than my best PR, which was last year’s dismal swamp stomp! Woo-hoo! I feel pretty good after today’s run now that I have loads of water, chocolate milk, and food in my belly. YAY for another victory in my newly titled “Year of the Marathon.” Congrats to all my friends from dailymile and HRR who also STOMPED this race today! 🙂