“Team Jamie” came to me the morning of the race. It isn’t meant to be arrogant; it was a reminder to me of how I got to the starting line. I saw my friends, Carrie, Asher, and Travis, keeping me well rested and relaxed. It took me to the place of gratitude. Gratitude for this God given ability, for family and friends who always believed in me, for parents who helped wouldn’t let me overdo on the farm, for sisters who kept me well fed and told me I wasn’t crazy for pursuing this, for J’s positive words when negative thoughts took over and continual support of this journey, for friends who drove many hours and flew in for race day, for support from the community, for my coach pushing me to the limit and keeping me believing in myself, and many others. As we were driving to the drop off for the start line these thoughts swirled in my head, I was so thankful to be there.
The morning of the race is the most nerve wracking. You want it to start but also you don’t. You’re prepared but are you? The morning started reallyyyyy early. I didn’t sleep much the night before so I was pretty much awake when my alarm went off. Breakfast was my typical bagel and peanut butter and a banana. We all headed out the door to get to the start. We magically ended up in a bus drop off line. Runners were dropped there and put on a bus to the start. This didn’t go exactly as planned but it worked out well. Once I got to the start I knew I needed to go the bathroom and start warming up. The port-a-pottie lines were massive; I found a couple other women with the same dilemma and we found elsewhere to go. (Sorry, TMI, ha!) On to the warm up! I had an elite bib so I was given a little more time to warm up and do stride outs across the start before the gun. It was a really fun experience being with all the elite women. The camaraderie between the women was really amazing. No matter how much we compete it is fun to see others succeed.
Once the race started it was right to the race plan, 6:15-6:20 the first half. I have said it before, the first half should feel fairly easy and of course it did. I saw C, A, and T early on. The course was definitely rolling hills, nothing too steep up or down but it did affect pace. The first half went by fairly quickly. I felt pretty good but was being very cautious. I had have a hamstring/piriformis muscle issue. It had been bothering me for a while but I was nursing it and running through it. I was aware it would probably flare up. Up to this point I had been mentally saying “you got this” “you are going to do this” “you are doing it”. Around mile 15-17 my hamstring and my hip on the opposite leg began to bother me but I refused to slow down. At mile 19 I told myself I could slow down and not hit the time or fight through it. For half a second I thought about slowing down but then I thought “are you kidding?”; I was so close, if that was going to stop me it was going to have to make my legs stop moving.
Mental toughness is really important in running. This fall I worked on the mental part of running on a lot of my runs. For example, several of my workouts I had a mantra of “be relentless” or telling myself “you can do this” repeatedly. This paid off in my race. My mental game was so strong all race, I never doubted myself.
The final 5k was one big ball of pain and mental toughness I had never seen in myself. I also heard Carrie and Asher yelling at me that I could do it and I was almost there. Honestly, if it wasn’t for them cheering me on throughout the race, I’m not sure I would have finished like I did. The last mile was one of my fastest…. and most painful.
I gave it all to the finish line, When I crossed I knew the clock was right past 2:45, but I didn’t care. I put it all out there. Celebrating with Asher, Carrie, and Travis after was the icing on the cake.
At this point I have not qualified for the Olympic Trials. They only take gun time (2:45:02) but will consider chip time (2:44:57) if it is close. We haven’t heard back from the USATF. Regardless, I am thrilled with my time and looking forward to the next step in my training.