I wake on Race Day at 4:45am. While that seems early, it's actually about 7.5 hours of sleep and I feel oddly rested. The first thing I do is check the weather. So much for rainy and warm or cold and dry: according to weather.com it's going to be cold (feel like the 30s) and there's an 85 - 100% chance of rain during the Race. FML.
I don't want to pull myself out of my bed. The dreamy mattress, the luxurious Italian linens, the feather comforter and pillows are all singing me a lullaby. So are my flannel PJs and the thermostat on 68. 30 and rainy versus this?
But I do get out of bed (eventually). Despite a heavenly massage the day before (Seriously - 90 minutes of big, strong, soft man hands rubbing citrus oil into my aching, over-tired, under-stretched, sleep-deprived, anxiety-riddled, burning-the-candle-at-both-ends muscles left me a changed woman and contemplating a marriage proposal to the incomparable Andrew) I still stretch, I check a few well wishes from friends, and get my head where it needs to be:
Kiawah: I am getting ready to kick your ass. Weather be damned.
I recall the wet, cold, HILLY run I just completed in the Mountains. I. Can. Do. This.
I have a mild wardrobe dilemma while getting dressed. One shirt or two? Shorts or leggings? Will I be cold? Hot? Which is better? The short sleeve wicking shirt I have is too short and makes it near impossible for me to pin my bib on. I think about wearing shorts under yoga pants and giving the yoga pants to mom last minute but it's going to feel like less than 40 degrees THE ENTIRE TIME. I know I'll warm up but I'd rather be hot then cold (I think). I go for a long sleeve wicking shirt and shiny, black tights - no layers. I also grab the $2 gloves I purchased the day before in a pre-Half Marathon shopping spree. At $2, they are disposable.
I get dressed. I look like a serious runner.
Despite eating my weight in papardelle the night before, my stomach is grumbling. Though I usually don't eat before I race - I eat a chocolate peppermint stick Luna bar: 180 calories and 28 grams of carbs. This can only help keep me fueled for what will be close to 2 hours of running.
I check the weather again: it's still cold but the threat of rain has dropped from 85 - 100% to 45 - 55%. Maybe the weather peeps heard my Tweet?
I meet Mom and Dad at 7:15am and we head towards the Conference Center which is where the Race starts. All I know is that it is 1) kind of a giant free-for-all and 2) once the gun goes off, that's when chips are activated. So that means if you are towards the back, your chip time will not be the same time you actually cross the start line and will add to the time of your overall official results. I want to be towards the front.
I am relieved to discover that it isn't raining when we step outside. Cold as a witch's tit, but dry. I am also glad to have someone with me. Seriously - I can't tell you how many races I've been to where I've had to worry about threading my car key on my shoe and I've had to stand around shivering waiting for the Race to begin because there's been no one to hand my sweatshirt to. Well, with mom and dad by my side, I can wear a few extra layers and just hand them off last minute.
My adrenaline kicks in and I begin to get excited.
Dad asks me what my goal is. I tell him that you always have two: your Happiness Goal and your Mountaintop Goal. My Happiness Goal is simply to finish the Race. My Mountaintop Goal is to finish it in less than 2 hours. I'm not sure that's realistic but I'll give it my best.
As it turns out - it's not a total free for all. They group us according to mile time: 6, 7, 8, 9 and everyone else. At this distance, I am more of a 9-minute miler, but I line up in the front of the 8s. I start talking to some of the runners around me and mom and dad flash a few more pictures. Then I strip off my extra layers, hand them to mom and dad, and get ready to run.
2 days ago