CIM 2019 Race Report: OTQ, baby!
Wow. Scripting this three days after crossing the end line at CIM, I’m nonetheless somewhat in shock that I’ve really gotten that sub-2:45. I knew I COULD do it, however I nonetheless can’t consider that I really did. Having run 2:44:45 and making it slightly below the wire makes this really feel much more like a real dream come true. Is that this my actual life?!? It’s!! I’ve by no means been so relieved and overjoyed to cross a end line. Phrases nearly don’t suffice, however I need to imprint that total race and particularly the final little bit of it on my thoughts to replay endlessly as a result of I can’t nonetheless consider that was what really occurred. That day felt like I used to be in a film.
Crossing that line was like a stress valve lastly got here off: not simply the ideas that I had been holding at bay for a lot of the race, but in addition months and years of wanting this, WORKING for it, and never figuring out whether or not or not it will really occur. I nonetheless simply hold holding my head in my palms and shaking my head and saying “I can’t consider it!”: it’s one factor to see different individuals run their sub-2:45, however it’s one other factor altogether when it’s you your self that has simply run your first Olympic Trials qualifying time. Simply pause and picture that feeling in your thoughts. It’s unreal, even you probably have devoted years to attaining that as a objective.
This was not some race the place I simply was floating alongside on somewhat cloud the entire means, blissfully safe in my sub-2:45. The entire thing really actually form of harm and particularly within the final 8 or so miles, I simply willed my legs to CONTINUE TO DO WHAT THEY WERE DOING. The nearer I obtained to the top, the extra the thoughts was insistent that YOU WILL CONTINUE TO RUN JUST LIKE THIS. In previous CIMs (this was my third), I’ve extraordinarily distinct reminiscences of passing mile 20, aka “the wall” as a result of issues obtained significantly grotesque after that by way of the ache degree: on this race, I principally missed that 20 mile marker, not as a result of I used to be feeling tremendous jolly however as a result of I used to be so extremely centered on the steps I used to be taking at that precise second and actually locking it in….checking to make sure I stayed proper close to the three tall pacers dressed of their black singlets with “CIM to Atlanta” and the splits printed down the again…. checking my Garmin general common tempo to make sure I used to be 6:17 or beneath (I believe it stayed 6:16 or 6:17 for actually your complete race, or at the least the again half!)….passing Mile 18 (I really thought I used to be nearer to twenty after we handed 18 and positively swore somewhat bit in my thoughts however in any other case went proper again to my inner metronome/mantra that I had going!). I keep in mind the flash of the brief crimson brick facade close to 20 to signify “the wall” and made a fast psychological be aware however in any other case stored simply churning out my “one step at a time” and “hold doing THIS” ideas. Lastly, mile 23, nearly 5k to go, every part is getting tougher, saying prayers over the past 10k to my cousin Ian: “Ian, please assist take away the ache in my quads proper now” and changing into satisfied that my quad ache was somewhat higher! Passing that brief bridge with the uphill which was slight however fairly palpable at that second, after which getting hit by a burst of rain which was similar to a delicate wave of cloud settling over us and refreshing us. If this looks like I’m blurring collectively the final 8 or so miles, that can also be what it felt like whereas I used to be experiencing it: I used to be so internally centered on my mantra of “similar to swimming” (extra on that in a bit) that I solely allowed myself fast ideas exterior of this in order that they didn’t intervene with the positivity and hope that I used to be clinging to with all my power.
Lastly, passing my Aunt Melinda at mile 25 yelling that I used to be going to do it and steeling my thoughts for the mile forward. Lastly, passing the “800m to go” signal, glancing at my watch and seeing 2:41:one thing and figuring out it may or would occur if I simply stored doing THIS. Lastly, the signal: “400m to go”. Lastly, 200m to go and I can see the clock forward of me and it says 2:44:something-low-enough-that-I-am-good! and sprinting for the road (beneath 6:00 tempo for the final 0.2!), and crossing the 2 blue and crimson timing mats with a smile on my face (and evidently, in keeping with video footage!: my arms waving like a joyful, semi-amazed, relieved, pleased pleased pleased maniac! See that on this tweet here!). I instantly needed to then lay down, in order that’s what I did, good there on my again for a couple of seconds, as a result of I used to be SO RELIEVED and TIRED and HAPPY , earlier than one other lady runner and a lady medic pulled me up (or tried to, as my legs type of gave out on the primary try). The medical lady requested if I wanted a wheelchair and I instructed her no. My subsequent mission was discovering these I had been operating with. The large stampede of ladies, whose footfalls made actual noise for the primary 10k or so, had drastically dwindled round me because the race went on. During the last 10k, I persistently noticed this woman in an orange high and ponytail with little braids in it and one woman in a Oiselle outfit with two little buns on her head. I may simply sense their vitality—we by no means needed to even say something to at least one one other however in my thoughts we have been on the identical wavelength—and tempo. We have been going to do it. I discovered Jenny and Amanda and gave them the largest hugs. Having seen the celebrations of final 12 months’s end after the actual fact (I ran 2:48:31 in 2018 at CIM), this was additionally a second I had dreamed of: to have a good time with those that had additionally made it proper with me. Subsequent, I needed to seek out Chris (I hold by accident typing his identify as “Christ”: he actually WAS a savior that day, haha!), the lead male pacer for us 2:45 girls who was the very best pacer within the historical past of pacers! Then I needed to discover my husband Phillip, who was proper there throughout the fencing separating spectators from the finishers, and who has been completely superb in supporting me on this journey.
The Race Itself
I actually evenly break up the heck out of this one. This was not primarily the plan: I actually didn’t also have a plan besides that I needed to make sure I settled right into a tempo that felt sustainable and in that candy spot of effort (and never simply run what others round me have been operating) after which to hope that this candy spot tempo ended up being 6:17 or beneath. Heading into this, it made me nearly somewhat nervous that I didn’t fairly have a plan besides to see how I felt and run by how I felt, however in my previous marathon experiences, forcing a tempo that occurs to be simply ever so barely quicker than that race day candy spot zone solely comes again to chew you within the butt! I didn’t map out going into this that mile X is extra downhill or mile Y is extra uphill, so I ought to besides to be somewhat bit quicker or slower for sure miles, and so on. and so on. Nonetheless, I did know the final lay of the land from operating CIM beforehand, in each 2015 and 2018. I do think about that to be a giant benefit. I remembered the course effectively sufficient, particularly since I had run it simply the 12 months earlier than, to grasp what I used to be getting myself into.
I truthfully couldn’t have gone out quicker than I did as there have been such enormous crowds round me that I used to be boxed in from entrance, again, and either side for the primary few miles. This may increasingly have even been to my profit because it stored me proper on the precise tempo of that 2:45 as an alternative of ambitiously gunning for a 2:42 or one thing! I used to be proper across the pacers the entire means—at one level, truthfully, I’m not even positive when, however perhaps round mile 7-9 or so, I obtained somewhat forward of the pacers and thought “No, no, that is tougher! Get again there with them!!!” There isn’t a means I’d have made it if I had charged on forward. Chris, the lead pacer, did the very best job each speaking with us about the place we have been pace-wise and time-wise your complete time. I knew he was making an attempt to run precisely 2:45 or as near the wire as he may, so it actually helped over the past 5k to know that if I used to be a tiny bit forward of him I used to be protected.
My miles have been all between 6:08 and 6:20, however the nice majority have been in a a lot nearer vary (I ran 9 miles at both 6:14 or 6:15). My slowest mile was 6:21.2 for mile 13 (usually a mile the place I’ve felt the early pangs of “uh oh”), and my quickest two miles (the one ones 6:10 or beneath) have been mile 11 (6:08.5) and mile 23 (6:09.8). I believe my pickup at mile 23 needed to do with Chris asserting that we have been EXACTLY on tempo right down to the second round then.
Under, splits! Ignore the top as I didn’t cease my watch proper on the line. As a substitute I celebrated, lay on the bottom for a bit, hugged individuals, smiled till my face felt like it will fall off, and THEN stopped my watch. My final 0.2 mi. was really round 5:50/mile tempo. (Click on to enlarge.)
Under, tempo and coronary heart price charts and the overlapping chart. No thought why my coronary heart price went up randomly across the 2:05 mark however hey, it went again down! (Click on on picture to enlarge.)
Issues that Proved Insanely Useful to Me:
1.) The Sport of Swimming.
That is going to sound so goofy, however marathons are like that: you by no means know what thought, nevertheless foolish it would seem to an outsider, is basically going to make your psychological state and thus your bodily state for the race.
On the elite athlete technical assembly the day earlier than the race, Danielle, the lead elite coordinator, requested Chris, the top pacer for the two:45 girls’s group if he’d wish to say a couple of phrases. Properly, Chris goes up there to the rostrum and lo and behold, his t-shirt reads “Boost Swimming”. Fortunately, I had moved from the again of the room to one of many very first tables (I noticed fellow Cville runners Charlie Harm and Carter Norbo up entrance and went to hitch them) so I used to be in a position to really learn it. This simply made me really feel SO significantly better that Chris was a swimmer! What have been the probabilities of that! And that he would put on a swimming shirt to this assembly so I’d even know this!? Unreal. It simply felt like the celebrities have been aligning. Additionally Chris was so peppy and enthusiastic and even introduced us his customized singlet to indicate all us women what the three pacers could be carrying. He additionally defined that he was planning on operating the “crimson line” of straight 6:17s the entire means. Chris simply jogged my memory of just a few man who’d be in your swim staff whilst you have been rising up who simply knew how one can get individuals fired up in your lane on a regular basis! He made us all snort, and I used to be actually already getting tears in my eyes whereas I used to be laughing at his jokes (this exhibits you the way nervous I actually was). After the assembly, I went over and launched myself to Chris and instructed him how I swim too!
Then through the race, Chris ended up being the lead pacer I used to be closest to so I primarily tried to attach myself to him. As soon as I noticed I used to be tailing him, I additionally instructed him “I’m the swimmer!” For at the least 3-4 miles, someplace round 18-23, I actually ran immediately behind him. At one level I even instructed him I used to be going to make use of him as a windblocker and he instructed me to go for it. At perhaps 23ish, he instructed us he was EXACTLY at 2:45 right down to the second. I’m pretty positive that is what brought about my 6:09 mile for mile 23, when all surrounding miles have been extra like 6:14-6:16. I’m actually glad I did this as making it by 15 seconds (or 12 seconds for those who go by gun time) is horrifying sufficient!! No want to chop it even nearer!
As I stated, through the center miles there, round 12-16, I used to be NOT SURE how this was all going to play out. As soon as I noticed Chris proper there and realized I used to be staying proper close to the pacers I simply tried to maintain myself on them since I knew that was my shot. Being close to Chris the swimmer made me really feel higher. One way or the other the thought got here to me to do that race “similar to swimming”: this grew to become my mantra for actually 70+ minutes of this race. I simply thought this time and again and over with my stride. I knew it will be essential to not assume too onerous about what I used to be making an attempt to do through the race itself, particularly as a result of this was NOT feeling straightforward. I needed to crowd out all different attainable ideas besides the right here and now, and probably the most useful right here and now thought was “similar to swimming.” I assumed to myself, faux it is a swim observe. If this have been a swim observe and also you have been simply knocking out 100 frees on an interval, you’d have the ability to do the identical time time and again and could be simply crushing it. I used my confidence from the pool and that I’ve felt all fall in my swim exercises to hold over right here. In case you’re studying this and questioning the place all this swimming enterprise is coming from: swimming was my first sport, earlier than operating, and I’ve by no means stopped loving to swim, even whereas I ran in faculty at Notre Dame—in truth, although I did all my straightforward doubles within the pool throughout my Notre Dame operating days, I nonetheless actually missed swimming competitively and coaching extra intensely on the swim finish of issues, and I think about the largest plus of operating post-collegiately to be my means to swim as a lot or as onerous as I’d like! Swimming to me is simply magic in the way it makes me so pleased. It was my yoga earlier than I did yoga, and it grew to become a key not simply to my coaching this fall, but in addition to my race right here in a giant psychological/bodily means!
One different random good swimming associated signal for me on Saturday: swimming as on TV the day earlier than the race! Swimming isn’t on TV! I actually loved watching the US Open from my lodge room and it helped calm me down and jogged my memory that I’d not be the one swimmer on the market the subsequent day!
2.) My Cousin Ian
Ian has been a giant a part of my operating journey over the previous a number of years. In 2013, we misplaced Ian to suicide. He was in his early 30s. He was at all times somebody I vastly seemed as much as, particularly as I’m the oldest of 4 children so he was form of like my older sibling that I by no means had. It was extraordinarily onerous for me to cope with Ian’s demise. For a lot of nights I lay awake in mattress and cried myself to sleep. Phillip, my now-husband then-boyfriend, couldn’t work out how one can console me. I really even had hassle speaking to (even to say it to) any of my pals for months however would simply get slowed down in an terrible feeling state.
Someday within the fall of 2013, I used to be registered for a somewhat small 10k out in Waynesboro, a city about 30 min. from Charlottesville. As soon as I obtained to the race, I simply felt emotionally HORRIBLE. Simply very very depressed. The sky was so gray and I simply felt like the entire world was weighing upon me with Ian not being right here any extra. I went to go decide up my bib quantity on the registration desk and paused to place the pins in proper there. Subsequent to me, appeared a person with a hoodie pulled up. The registration individual requested him his identify. He stated “Ian Fisher.” That is my cousin’s precise identify, right down to the final identify. At this second, I felt a peaceful come over me and knew Ian was okay and telling me he was okay. Experiencing a suicide of a member of the family felt lots like dropping religion on this planet; this expertise helped me retrieve that religion. Through the race, I needed to fend off a lady proper behind me and was speaking to Ian in my head the entire time. I ended up successful the 10k! I know Ian helped me win that race. Wanting again on that race, that was a real turning level in my operating profession. From that race ahead, I obtained nearer and nearer after which lastly surpassed my faculty instances, whereas beforehand to that I had truthfully been struggling to run a 19 minute 5k whereas in grad college and having bizarre and protracted well being points. (I ran the Tinkerbell Half in Ian’s honor and raised $1000 for the American Basis for Suicide Prevention in 2015. Although I used to be the second lady to complete, I met my objective of beating the earlier course report… by precisely 1 second. Extra on that on this weblog submit right here.)
Final 12 months after I missed the OTQ at CIM, I instantly deliberate on coming again for 2019. I discovered the date of the race for 2019 and instantly obtained choked up and cried: December eighth was Ian’s birthday. I knew I may make it simply based mostly on the date of the race. I assumed, ‘effectively, December 8, 2019 is the day that I’m meant to make Olympic Trials.”
During the last 10k, I prayed a number of instances to Ian to remove the ache constructing in my quads. (I used to be getting quad tightness already round mile 11 or 12.) I truthfully assume it labored: my quads nonetheless harm however weren’t so dangerous that I used to be unable to maneuver: as an alternative I may grit by way of the large ache and hold hold hold going. After the race, I couldn’t wait to textual content Aunt Judy, Ian’s mother.
3.) Getting Moved to the Elite Begin Record on the Tuesday earlier than the Race + Managing My On Course Hydration/Diet Completely
I used to be beforehand within the “seeded begin” however on account of final minute scratches, obtained bumped as much as the elite begin. I had stuffed out a brief survey of these seeded runners hoping to maneuver to the elite begin and hadn’t gotten my expectations up (we have been instructed not many could be bumped up and I assumed I used to be in all probability proper on the border). On Tuesday, as I left the pool, I checked my telephone and found I had made it! OMG!
The elite begin meant some very useful perks: I’d get the particular constitution bus to the beginning as an alternative of getting to take the varsity buses. I’d get to relax within the elite tent earlier than the beginning and have entry to the porta-potties there. Most significantly, I’d have the ability to have my very own on-course hydration: elites get to drop off 7 water bottles the evening earlier than that are rigorously positioned over numbered tables. Right here is the place I’ve to moreover commend and applaud CIM. I’ve been to marathons the place elites are tripping throughout themselves to get their bottles and I’ve been at marathons the place I’ve missed at the least half of my bottles or the place they weren’t really even set out! This was not the case right here. I simply may spot and seize all 7 of my bottles of GU Roctane Summit Tee situated on Desk 14!! All the things was so effectively marked: CIM even had indicators upfront of the elite tables that learn “elite fluid stations forward” so that you knew to be looking out!
The elite tables contributed to actually nice hydration and diet consumption for me too. I had one GU about 5 minutes earlier than the precise begin, and caught a backup GU within the entrance of my sports activities bra for emergency functions. I then had both 4-5 GUs over the course of the race (at miles 6ish, 12ish, after which I believe at about 17 and 21 although the top is a little bit of a blur there!). I ran the primary two miles holding a small bottle of cherry pomegranate flavored Ultima Replenisher which I completed. In my 7 water bottles, positioned about each 3 miles, I had the equal of three.5 packets of GU Roctane Summit Tea (875 energy complete)—a few of the earlier bottles I didn’t end, however a lot of the center ones I did, and I had in all probability half of the final one earlier than tossing it. I actually assume it benefitted me to carry on to these bottles through the 13-21 mile vary and hold sipping them. This is similar drink combine that I used for my longer lengthy runs, and I usually felt myself changing into reenergized whereas consuming it! It appeared to work nice right here!
My Coaching Total This Fall
That is going to blow individuals’s minds, however I did completely zero operating exercises at a quick tempo this fall (I’m speaking something the place I attempted to choose it up in any respect, so no tempos, no monitor exercises, no lengthy runs the place I attempted to carry marathon tempo or something close to that). This, by the way in which, can also be how I often function, so nothing new there! I additionally raced an excellent bit, which can also be traditional for me: 11 races from the start of August till CIM in distances starting from 1 mile to half marathon. Simply mentioning this to re-emphasize that it’s important to discover what works for YOU even when individuals assume you’re nuts. Additionally, if something I raced barely much less this fall, and generally had gaps of 2-3 weeks between races. This meant I generally went 2-3 weeks between races the place I used to be operating no quicker than a 7:xx mile for ANYTHING. Most of my operating I really do at 8:one thing or 9:one thing tempo. I think about a run the place I common within the low 8s on my own to be a run the place I’m hauling and have to be actually feeling myself!
It is usually value noting that whereas I do no operating exercises exterior of racing, I DO do a whole lot of different train as I’m a full time yoga and health trainer. I taught about 11-12 health lessons per week all fall: 3 operating lessons (and I embody that operating in my day by day mileage), 6 yoga lessons, 1 spin class, and 1 class referred to as Cy-Yo (spin adopted by yoga). All of my high-intensity work through the week comes from my 45 min after which 30 min. spin periods on Monday and Wednesday, in addition to my plentiful time swimming within the pool which was reliably increased depth on Tuesday, generally on Wednesday, often on Thursday, and at all times on Sunday. My Monday swims tended to be extra chill and lengthy. On Fridays, I solely generally swam. On Saturdays, my swims have been often very brief and chill. Total, I’ve a particular refined rhythm to the depth and quantity of every day of the week that basically works.
I often run 6 days per week, however in direction of the top of this cycle, I began taking Thursdays off from operating too. This occurred type of by mistake—I used to be so drained on Halloween (a Thursday) that I simply determined to not run. Then, I felt so good on Friday and Saturday from taking Thursday off that I made a decision to do this the subsequent week, after which the subsequent week, and so forth. Generally as an alternative of taking Thursday completely off from operating, I’d as an alternative exit and actually run one mile at 10-11 minute tempo as straightforward as attainable. As marathon coaching progressed, I constructed up my Tuesday and Wednesday runs to be round 10-11 miles every, so having Thursday as an off or “barely any operating” day actually helped—that is one thing I’m positively going to proceed sooner or later for my final 6 or so weeks of marathon coaching.
Under: (L to R) noticed a double rainbow from my lodge room the day earlier than the race after I was feeling actually nervous, two images from instantly after the race taken by Phillip, with Phillip within the VIP space afterwards, discovered Chris the pacer!, with Charlie Harm who additionally certified!, with all of the OTQ women on stage!, within the sizzling tub afterwards!
Proceed studying beneath for weekly mileage breakdown, and so on.!
A pair notable exercises
For this cycle, I actually needed to do one very strong long term. I did some analysis and located some web site that I now not keep in mind the identify of that stated 4 weeks out is sweet. So, I did that! On Saturday November 9, I wakened on the daybreak (onerous for me on the weekend if not racing!!) to make sure I had firm for my “time on ft” run. I used to be aiming for 3 hours and ended up doing 23.23 miles in 3:00:06 (7:45 tempo). There may be actually no means I may have run that quick alone, so enormous shout out to Ali and Shawn Kelley and the little group we had out at Dick Woods Highway that stored my firm for about 18 miles of that. That was additionally a FAST long term for me!
Rachel Tischler, a latest UVa grad and UVa Membership Operating alumna, stored me firm for almost all of my different main lengthy runs. Rachel was superb long term firm—we at all times went simply the suitable tempo and had nice conversations your complete means. I’m actually trying ahead to returning to our weekend runs as soon as I get well from this race!
Final however definitely not least, I owe lots to my swim buddy Claudia who I skilled with all summer time—we actually pushed one another, and I’d by no means have had such an excellent base if it weren’t for my onerous core summer time swim exercises!
I even have to say the craziest exercise I did all fall, which was to race a half marathon in 1:22:00 on a really hilly course after which add on to get 17.45 miles for the day and THEN go to a swim meet the place I proceeded to tie my greatest time within the 200 FR (2:11) by swimming within the lane subsequent to Claudia. I additionally did the 50 BR (not a enjoyable stroke with drained legs so was a weak sauce 38.3, haha!), the five hundred FR (solely 5:55 which I’ve performed in observe many a time however at that time the fatigue was kicking in onerous core), after which completed off the day with probably the most painful 100 IM of my life (1:16, ouchies….this was additionally about 4 minutes after the five hundred FR concluded, so I’ll allow you to simply think about the lactic acid there for your self!). Not a exercise I’d essentially advocate to others however dang, I had a lot enjoyable doing it!!
Breakdown of weekly mileage:
The second column is my precise weekly mileage, whereas the third column signifies my Saturday and Sunday runs for that week rounded to the closest quantity. In pink are weeks that included races. A splash means I took the time off!
Takeaways/The place to Subsequent?
This can be a heading that I at all times embody in my marathon race reviews, and I can say that it feels superb to say: Atlanta is what’s subsequent, child! I truthfully nonetheless can’t consider it.
I knew my sub-2:45 was very a lot within the realm of attainable issues that might occur, however main as much as the race I used to be positively telling my husband and household issues alongside the traces of “effectively, if I don’t get it, at the least I can go win extra races in March whereas these actually quick people are recovering!!!” I used to be making an attempt to not put an excessive amount of stress on myself, however I actually actually actually needed that point. I preserve that the time main as much as your marathon, particularly the week and the day earlier than, are simply insanely nerve-wracking. I want to say that taper interval will get simpler with extra marathon expertise, but it surely actually hasn’t a lot for me, particularly with this one. I simply needed this so badly, even when I didn’t fairly need to say that out loud to too many individuals. I attempted to realize confidence from remembering that I’ve at all times operated effectively beneath stress, and man, this actually was my final shot as a result of I didn’t need to attempt to go to Houston!
Proper now I’m planning on my traditional two weeks off from operating (I’ll simply hit the pool and swim in the intervening time as I really feel), after which will map out a plan forward of the Trials, the place the objective can be each to PR and to absorb each single second of being there.
Thanks a lot to everybody who has skilled with me, cheered for me, and rooted me on throughout this journey!
If in case you have a giant objective, hold at it. Do not forget that I used to be as soon as at all times picked final in health club class and instructed on a really common foundation that I used to be very gradual. Laborious, sensible work, plus persistence, plus believing in your self will get you additional than you ever thought attainable.
Huge shout out to Nicole Bush of Nicole Bush Media for capturing the photographs beneath of me with fellow qualifier Amanda, who was close to me for the entire final 10k and I simply knew she was going to make it too.