We ran in a team for our hospital. I lined up next to a teammate, a competitive runner I was friends with from medical school. I have a secret long-standing goal of wanting to beat him in a race (little did I know today would be the day). SR, of course, lined up at the front. He was, after all, the winner of this event last year.
The gun went off. As I started running, I just kept thinking about how I needed to keep a 7:08 pace the whole race. That was the fastest we figured I was capable of for 13.1 miles. I ran the first mile in 6:45 and felt really good. Somehow I believed I could keep it up. The second mile was even faster. It was a straight path over mud and bridges, mud and bridges. The miles flew by at first, but then I slowed down to a more than 7 minutes per mile pace. My knee started hurting and I found myself just wanting the race to be over. The knee has really been bothering me since the ultra 3 weeks ago. But, it wasn't just my knee; I was tired, really tired.
Aren't these races supposed to be fun??? Two women passed me. I was crushed. I kept telling myself to try to enjoy the race and do my best. But I wanted to get to the end to see SR and get home to see The Bois. I put the same Nik og Jay song on over and over to put myself in a trance, trying to go the same speed until the end and not get passed by another woman.
I finished in pain, in 6th place. 3 places higher than last year! I guess I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a good time.
My time was a minute and a half slower this year: 1h36m on the button, but it was most likely slower conditions. I was shocked to see the male winner of the race two years ago come in right behind me.
It took me a second to remember what I was doing and where I was. I realized SR would be around there somewhere. Then I spotted him. Step son and step daughter were there, too along with their mom. They got to see their dad win the race. SR seemed happier about that fact than about actually winning the race.
The most amazing part of the race was that someone found our camera at the end of the trail, where it had been sitting for a week (we thought we had lost it). They turned it on and saw a picture of SR, knew who he was and handed it to him.
On the way home, SR mentioned he was disappointed in both of us. His time was also a couple minutes slower than last year. He's the only person I know who would be disappointed in himself after winning such a big race. And he said he thought I could have gotten second. He just pushes both of us because he believes we can do well. And it makes us train harder. But all I knew was I was worn out; it was the ultra three weeks ago, the weight loss and, of course, The Bois. But, in the end, I'd be much more worn out if I didn't have the joy of running.
We gathered The Bois from the babysitter and went to take a nap. SR fell asleep immediately. I was so exhausted but buzzing from the race; I couldn't sleep. I just sobbed. I don't really know why.
I did think about how much I like ultras in contrast to half marathons. Today I missed the long, meandering trails through beautiful landscape. Maybe I'll focus more on ultras in the future (I've always felt I'd be more cut out for those) . We actually did just sign up for the 50k on Angel Island by San Francisco in July. Needless to say I'm excited about that.