Wednesday, October 12, 2011

F8 Spells...Fate

2011 Twin Cities Marathon - 2:32.55

A fews days after I ran Twin Cities Marathon, my Dad asks "You know what F8 sounds like, don't you?"  Me, "Um, no..." He says, "Fate."

F8 was my bib number for TCM.  I thought that people rhyming "eight" with "great" during the race was clever, but now I know it was fate to run a 10 minute PR, finish top 3, and be top American.

Race weekend started out as a whirlwind.  Stephanie Rothstein, Ben Bruce and I arrived on Thursday night for the Friday press conference (Steph for the USA 10 mile Champs).  This was my first press conference, so not only did I have to represent myself well during, but I also had to not let any extra pressure get to me.  Greg and I talked all week leading into the race about staying relaxed and not letting myself sabotage my race before I even stepped on the starting line.

On Friday, the majority of our team and Greg arrived.  Another added element to the weekend was that Twin Cities was also playing host to the men's and women's USA 10 mile Championships, creating even more excitement with lots of USATF officials and elite athlete events to attend.  Maybe it was a blessing in disguise to be so busy and with little time to ponder the upcoming race.

Saturday brought the technical meeting, finishing my fluid bottles, and a personal course tour with Nobi and Greg.  It was nice not having to view the course from a big yellow school bus for 3 hours.  Thank you Nobi!  The course was winding for a majority of the race, so running tangents would be of upmost importance.  And let's not forget the last 10k, which begins a 5 mile climb before plummeting to the finish at the capitol.

My standard Barbie fluid bottle.  I use a combination of 
Hammer products throughout the race.  I actually missed
my bottle at mile 12, but I couldn't let that enter my mind.

Sunday Funday!!  Note: I stole that from a good friend.  It was a typical race morning in many ways...catch the bus to shuttle to the start, yep the big yellow one, then sit downstairs in a large room until it's time to warm up.  Luckily, I had a partner in crime.  Katie Koski and I kept each other company and warmed up together.

You can see why this is "The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon
in America."  Photo by TCM.

After the gun went off, I quickly found myself in 8th place.  I started slower than I expected the first couple of miles, just under 6 min pace, but I found my groove and locked in for the long haul.  The fun part was, after mile 1, I started passing people with the occasional race with a masters male.  I'm confident that from mile 1 to mile 26.2 no one passed me (with the exception of the sprint finish).

I had to have faith that the women in front of me would come back.  This didn't start happening until a little over halfway.  My pace seemed quick, but I kept telling myself to stay relaxed and roll with it.  Eventually, I was locked into 4th place.  I figured that was where I'd stay, as it was nearing the last 10k and I hadn't seen any women in a while, although Greg told me around mile 20 there was someone up ahead slowing.

Practicing staying calm, cool and collected.
Photo by TCM.

I continued to pass the men, and finally I caught the 3rd place woman after mile 23.  To everyone's surprise, I was also closing on 2nd place.  With a mile to go, she was in my sights.  I caught and passed her at the crest of the hill with less than 800m to go.  She fought back though and just out-kicked me right before the line. Afterwards, I was thinking, "really, 26.2 miles and it comes to a sprint finish?"

Greg and I post-race in the elite tent.
Photo by Stephanie Rothstein.

Going into the race we had a time range we knew was possible and a goal of finishing on the podium.  After awards, there was no time to stop.  It was back to the hotel, shower and off to the airport.  A side note, as soon as I crossed the finish line, I had a TCM volunteer stuck to my side.  For a while, I didn't know if it was for drug testing or something else.  It turns out, he had to make sure I made it to the awards stand.

Waiting for awards and being interviewed.
Photo by Stephanie Rothstein.

Brett Gotcher, Aaron Braun, and Scott Smith represented adidas well with everyone finishing in the top 10 in the USA 10 miles Champs.  Brett was 3rd and Aaron finished his season 2nd overall in the USA Running Circuit.  Jordan Horn and Danny Mercado also qualified for the marathon Olympic Trials with their sub-65 half-marathons the same day at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in Virginia.  Kellyn Johnson won the Jim Click 8k as a tune-up for Tufts 10k.  A solid day!

Fate was indeed at work on October 2nd, 2011.