The Tuesday before the race, I ran Yasso 800's. They predicted a 3:08 marathon time and it was on a terribly windy day, with actual barricades that had been blown on to the track that were too heavy for me to move as I sprinted past.
Thursday, I went on a hill run for nearly two hours with SR. When we returned my calf and right hip were killing me. This meant I needed two things: at least one class of Bikram yoga and a wicked massage on the knot in my right calf. I managed to find time for both on Friday. I am so happy to have found a talented sports massage therapist in Næstved - who not only dug really deep, but also used acupuncture needles to loosen the knot in my leg. Her quote "I have never seen a knot that big - in a leg!" I told her that SR and I had been worried the knot was an extra bone. She wasn't sure if I was joking. Neither was I.
The day of the race, SR still didn't know if he was going to go for a PR or run slow and pace me.
|SR in cold, wet, beachy parking lot, almost ready for race start.|
It felt like we knew almost everyone there, that is until all of the runners of the half marathon, quarter marathon, 5k and kids race started showing up. Well over 500 runners in all.
A good friend of ours from Næstved, Morten Pihlsbech, said he was planning on running at 3:10 pace and wanted to pace me. He said his friend Mikkel wanted to help. Our plan was to run at 4.:35 min/mile all the way. Great! This was exactly what I needed on this terribly windy day.
At the startline, another woman, Louise, asked if she could run with us. I asked what her goal time was. She said 3:26. I've never been one to feign well, anything, so I simpy said we'd be running at 3:10 pace and she was welcome to run along.
Soon we were off into the head wind and I hid the whole of my existence in the small of Morten's back. Louise on the other hand did not seem much for the drafting idea. Right around 1km she dropped back. I was carefully eyeing my watch and we were doing 4:15 min per km. It felt okay, but then again, this was breakneck speed for an entire marathon. I couldn't do this, even if it meant saying good bye to my pacers after only 3km. I let go as soon as we were out of the headwind. At this point, SR was still right ahead of me and I simply imagined he was starting out easy, taking time to devise a plan. I do wish he'd start out fast from the start! It makes me so nervous when he does that!
The rest of my race went basically like this: (the route is 1 quarter marathon run 4 times)
Loop 1: 46:40
Loop 2 (half marathon): 1:34:06 (figured I was right on track for a 3:10 marathon here)
Loop 3: oh my lord, let the rain come down - and the wind!! How can there be so much rain and wind at once?! (this is the Danish Afteryear in it's full glory - afteryear/efterår does mean Fall or course). There was not a soul I could draft off of and there was still a woman (not Louise) just minutes behind me. Can't remember my time on this loop...
Loop 4: I'm not sure if it was pain in my right leg that was holding me back or just extreme stiffness. My pace was slowing. I think I am pretty good at ignoring those pain signals from my leg, but it was like the legt just wasn't working right.
Then - with 3km left to go - I TOOK A WRONG TURN. This was the 4th time I had run the route and yet I still took a wrong turn. I pretty quickly realized, but knew that what had looked to be a huge PR was now a PR in jeopardy! I could not afford to make any more mistakes now.
Finish Line Phenomenon
I am sure a lot of you have heard of the phenonmenon of athletes seeing the finish line and then collapsing before crossing it. (this famously happened to Brian Morrisson who was about to win Western States but collapsed on the track). I was rounding the corner to the finish with ½km to go and I lost control of the muscles in my neck. My head whipped back and I blacked out. I propped my head up with my hands and I could see light again. I was terrified, yet I knew I could not fall over now. I held my head up with my hands all the way across the finish line. And my time was 3:16:20. What a weird way to set a PR.
|I still had the wherewithall to try to take my hand away from my neck for the camera as I neared the finish line.|
|Here I am with Tanja from Germany (2nd) and Louise (3rd). I won a 600 kr. gift certificate to Ski&Run!|
All in all, a wonderful morning. We were among friends and had a chance to run a race together, which we always really enjoy.
In other news, we are as ever attempting to plan our future. SR got this in an email yesterday and I had to share.
The above is apparently the ideal life of a Hospitalist physician. In Illinois. Okay - has Dr. Dad seriously spent so much time in scrubs that he does not realize his t-shirt is three sizes too big? And what about their bikes? They are all going to end up with knee problems because their seats are so low!!! And he's a DOCTOR:
Is this our future?
I have such a negative view of the medical world right now. "They are all pawns in the hands of big drug companies" is something I can be found saying at least daily about other physicians. And yet living with me is a physician and my husband who saves peoples' lives from cancer on a daily basis.
And yet - I am drawn to the idea of being a Bikram yoga teacher. I am simply amazed by the healing power it seems to have. In fact, I am so addicted to it that I wonder if somehow I am being brainwashed. I would love to do research on the efficacy of it for healing in sports injuries and many other muskuloskeletal conditions come to mind that I am certain it would help with. I looked in to prior research related to Bikram yoga - and I found one group of researchers - in Fort Collins, CO. I couldn't help but seeing this as some sort of sign that - yes - we are supposed to move there. Ane I know SR is interested - as long as he can find a good job there.