I would be lying if I didn't say I was going into this race nervous. Extremely nervous. With my ankle the way it has been the past two months with this high ankle sprain and my various digestive troubles . . . I was not too sure CIM would go so well.
The temperatures at race start were 28 degrees. That is freaking COLD around these parts. It was the coldest start in CIM history. So cold, it SNOWED here last night!
I took the bus to the start and never moved except to pee. The bus was warm and cozy and very close to the starting area. When I was finally forced to leave my little cave I went to find the 4 hour pace group. I ran into a friend of mine. We stood in front of the 4 hour group but not quite in the 3:50 pace group. We sort of became our own 3:55 if you will. When the gun went off we had to walk in the crowd until we crossed the chip mats and then we were off and running. Personally, I felt like we went out too fast. The pace was comfortable and my usual pace but we were just starting 26.2 miles and I know myself better than that. Ah well.
I ran with my friend from mile 0 to mile 17 when the dreaded 4 hour pace group finally caught up to us. Prior to that we had been doing some really nice sub 9 minute miles and a few low 9s. I was feeling great. At mile 8.5 my ankle started to say "hello" to me and get annoying but it wasn't unbearable and it actually disappeared by mile 12. Sweet! Those middle miles were quiet miles between my friend and I. I think we both started realizing we were slowing down. Mile 15 was about 9:26. Our slowest yet.
We got to mile 17, the 4 hour group caught up to us and my friend and I got separated. I was solo and struggling to say ahead of the pacer. I heard her comment that she was actually a minute faster than 4 hours and I had hoped that my starting time would put me even farther ahead of her. I prayed at least.
Mile 18 my knee gave out. What the hell? I don't have knee problems. Ever! I almost went stumbling to the ground twice. I hobbled my way along still fighting to stay ahead of the pacer but was probably running about even with her. I just needed to get to 22/23 so I could see my dear Vans and my adorable Peanut. They were the boost I needed.
When I got to them, the knee pain had disappeared although still aching occasionally. But seeing their smiling faces was the happiest I had been all day. The boost that a runner gets from seeing her family AND ALL OF HER FRIENDS is just beyond words. Scrapbook was out there with her kids and all my other wonderful wonderful friends. I have the best group of friends ever.
I tossed my gloves and water bottle to them and decided I was finishing this race and I was finishing it under 4 hours no matter what! Mile 24 I decided to push it. Last year at mile 24 I had so much energy in the bank that I was running 7s and 8s to the finish. Yesterday at mile 24 I could barely get myself sub 9. I didn't care. I was going to do it! Mile 24 was 8:50 and mile 25 . . . no idea as I was trying to make my legs move! I actually yelled at some guy to "get the hell out of my way" as I was making the left turn towards the finish line. That's the jersey in me AND the exhaustion!
I finished! I crossed. Final chip time was 3:58 a 9:11 minute mile. Last year I finished 3:56. I can't say I am disappointed as I have been battling this ankle issue forever and really thought the outcome would be MUCH worse. So whew, I am happy.
Today I am sore. The muscles do not feel all that bad actually. The knee and ankle however? Ouch. I wish I could amputate them. It isn't pretty.
This was my fourth full CIM. I've run the relay twice. I've been participating in CIM in some form the last 6 years. I know I should branch out but it is so nice to run locally and then come home to my nice hot shower. I am already planning on CIM #5 . . . fingers crossed.