I was feeling pretty good as we started the second half of the race, but I was starting to feel the wear and tear of the first 13.1 miles. I knew we were well off our Boston goal pace, but again I didn’t focus on that too much. The original plan was to pick up the pace after the halfway point. I tried to do that and was probably successful for a mile or two. But ultimately the mile splits kept coming in around the 8:40 mark. Around mile 17 or 18 my feet felt like they were on fire — another sign of the increasing mileage. I tried to put it out of my mind, but it was around this time I told Marcy that the current pace was all I had to give at the moment…that I would not be “picking it up” any time soon. She said “okay” in a reassuring tone and we continued our journey out to Maniyunk. Our pace began to slow by a few seconds each mile between 16 and 22, but not too bad. But once we reached mile 22 I did some basic math (amazing!!!). No, this wasn’t going to be the day that I qualify for Boston, but this was going to be a big PR for me. So at mile 22 I began to relax, which is very early for me. I normally don’t feel any sense of relief until I’m inside the mile 24 marker. So I said to Marcy, “Okay, we will hang tough until Mile 23 and then…” and Marcy quickly responded, “And then we’ll hang tough to 24.” This was the first sign that perhaps Marcy and I weren’t feeling quite the same. And at mile 24 Marcy encouraged me to run “MY race”. With very few words I knew what she meant. During previous conversations we discussed that we would part ways if need be on race day. She was not pacing me and I was not pacing her.
So at mile 24 Marcy and I separated for the first time in the whole race. I gave it all I had….which was really just holding pace!!! I was really tired and my legs felt like cement. The slightest bit of panic started to creep into my non-functioning brain. But immediately I thought to myself, “NO! This is perfect. THIS is what I trained for. I trained for THESE last few miles when I would feel like crap and my legs would feel like cement. This is why I logged so many miles, Yassos, hill repeats, long tempo runs. My training wasn’t going to make these miles feel any less bad. My training made me strong enough to push through…to keep going and never give up…to know deep down that I CAN DO IT.” These are the thoughts that got me through the last two miles. At mile 26 I saw my watch read 3:47:something. I knew I had about 2 minutes to get to the finish and still break 3:50. But it’s easy to underestimate how long it takes to go .2 miles. So I thought to myself, you better move your ass!!!!
So I gave the last .2 miles the best sprint I could muster. Finish time: 3:49:24!!!!!!! I broke 3:50 and took about 3 and half minutes off my previous PR! I was thrilled. After taking a few steps I turned around and looked for Marcy. Within moments I saw her approaching the finish line…smiling as usual! She finished just one minute behind me. Even though this was a huge PR for her, Marcy’s first question was “Did you break 3:50?” I said yes and showed her my watch. She was as excited about my time as I was!
Overall it was a great day. I got to run a marathon with my sister!! How cool is that!!???!! I broke 3:50 and set a big PR! I ran a good race – keeping a consistent pace and not dying at the end. I came out uninjured and had fun. I met almost all of my goals for the day. No, I didn’t get my BQ time. But I am not discouraged. This just gives me more proof that I will get there someday. I look forward to keep on trying!!!