I was at the end of a long training cycle that started in June, and it was all about to come down to just over three hours, and then the season would be done.
Elyse after her full marathon.
Was I nervous? There were the normal pre-race jitters, but I tried to keep them at bay as I went through my pre-race routine. Besides, I knew I wasn't really going into the race alone - I had much support from friends and training partners, and I was confident that my running coach, lululemon Ambassador Mike Hamberger, had me well trained. I was read to go.
I had two goals in this race:
1. to stay relaxed and have as much fun as possible, and
2. to run a 3:10 marathon
I knew what all of my split times had to be for each mile, and all of my training runs had shown that this was in the realm of possibilities. I lined up in my corral, and the gun went off. My first mile should have been a 7:15, but I ended up hitting the first mile split in 6:38. Way too fast! Instead of panicking I re-adjusted my pace, but I never ended up slowing down to that 7:15 pace. By mile 15, I was three minutes ahead of where I needed to be in order to run 3:10, and by the last 10k I was nearly four minutes ahead of goal, so I just held the pace until the end. I ended up running 3:06, over an eight minute personal best time, and finished 24th!
One of my favorite moments was passing the Philadelphia lululemon cheering section. It was definitely the loudest and most exciting! I was looking forward to seeing the lululemon crew all race, and hearing them during the last 10k was exactly what I needed to keep me on target.
For me, being able to run well and be myself at the same time is of the utmost importance, and this was a race where I really tested that. I am learning that I don't need to put a lot of pressure on myself to be a serious runner, but that I can be fun and my natural friendly self at races, while achieving new personal bests at the same time. I can be focused in a race and be taken seriously as a competitor, but still wear a cute outfit and pearls! I can finish in the top 1% of a major marathon and have the most fun doing it. I can smile at crowds cheering and still remain focused and in the moment with each mile. Hence, I ended up putting it all in stride, and really enjoyed each and every moment of the race. And all of the cheering for the girl racing in pearls didn't hurt, either!
Lastly, this was not a solo effort by any means. I attribute much of my success to many pre-race pep talks by my training partner, the guidance of my coach, all of the great training runs with the lululemon and Washington run clubs, and the inspiration of my amazing run mentors and friends!
Elyse's running journey has truly been inspiring. Read her first blog post back in April, there’s nothing like your first time.