I opted not to eat anything, I had carb loaded sufficiently the night before: Pizza, baked potato and one dark beer (I know... it sounds like I was carb loading for a marathon, not a half, but whatev). I did pop a dose of Immodium AD though (just as a little insurance policy... I didn't realize till I got home after the race that the pills expired in 2006. Doh!).
Imagine my surprise, when I swung by Vandy-Montana's place to pick him up and out walked this:
You can't tell very well by the picture (yeah, I was not about to get out of the car and take his picture... it was raining), but Vandy-Montana was dressed like a bum. A real life street urchin. He had on the bum gloves (you know the ones with the fingers cut out), a flannel shirt, and a thick plastic-y waterproof jacket. Oh yeah... and shorts. (At least they weren't jorts). All he needed was a brown paper bag for his gatorade. It was a hilarious get-up. Luckily, he shed most of it (except the bum gloves) before the start of the race.
The best thing about this race... is that I learned a lot from it. Let's go over what I learned, shall we?
1. The more layers you have on during a rainy, cold race... the more layers you have to be soaking wet. A rain jacket is fine to wear during a training run when it's cold and rainy, but for a race... not so much. I felt incredibly bogged down by my rain jacket because it was holding about a quart of water in it during the race. I wanted to take the jacket off after about 2 miles in, but I knew that having it around my waist was just going to annoy me more. Lesson Learned: Wearing one layer of form-fitting clothes for a rainy race, is probably best.
2. When you want to PR in a race, it's helpful to know what splits you should be hitting. Sometimes, I am a total ditz. I mean, it didn't even occur to me to look up what my mile splits should be. And honestly, it didn't occur to me, until I rounded the corner at the finish and saw the time clock for the first time. I wore my watch and kept track of my splits and they sounded really good to me, but alas... if I'd only known what I was SUPPOSED to be hitting. Lesson Learned: Know your splits, for chrissakes!
3. I really need a freaking Garmin 305. I'm very electronically challenged and so when I get my Timex Ironman watch on and ready to start recording splits, I can't do anything else to it, for fear of losing my splits or messing something up, so I could never find out what my total time was. Or I might could have figured out that I needed to speed up more at the end. Lesson Learned: I really need a freaking Garmin 305.
4. There might be little kids around you when you see the time clock for the first time... so, watch your language. Ummm.. yeah, so there I was... completely oblivious that I was like a minute off of a PR, thinking that I was in fact PRing by about that much, or more. And as soon as I could make out that time clock, I kinda yelled out a pretty bad expletive. Lesson Learned: I really need a freaking Garmin 305.
5. At least I'm consistent. I finished with a 1:50:51. Less than a minute slower than my PR. Lesson Learned: I really need a freaking Garmin 305!
6. Apparently, throwing up Jazz Hands to the photographer isn't good enough to get your photo taken. I mean. Seriously? I was rocking those jazz hands, too. Lesson Learned: Double Thumbs Up is still the way to go.
7. Immodium AD works... at least for the first 11.5 miles. So, yeah... I didn't have any stomach issues, until around 11.5 and while it was uncomfortable at certain times... it wasn't unbearable. Lesson Learned: Immodium AD is not a crutch that I want to get used to... need to work these problems out naturally.
All in all, it wasn't my best race, but it wasn't my worst either. The most disappointing fact was that all along, I kept thinking... oh yeah, I'm definitely going to PR. I thought my mile splits were faster than they were in the last half marathon, but apparently they weren't. I did push myself pretty hard during the race, but I KNOW that I could have made up a minute somewhere on the course. So when I saw that race clock and it was already at 1:50+, I was PISSED.
But, I am happy that I was consistent and I still finished at a time that is on par to get me that 3:59 marathon. I did keep thinking all along, though... "Thank God, I don't have to run this fast during the marathon." That was like my mantra for the day.
Shout out to Vandy-Montana, who KILLED his previous PR with a 1:36:06. Nice work.