I chose to do a half marathon on New Years Eve and a full marathon on New Years Day. The course was a quarter-marathon out and back loop. This meant that you got to see and pass frunners All. Day. Long. It was amazing. I, of course, did my best to convince the Racing It Off team that Libby always puts on a good event and that it was the place to be. Despite it causing most of them to miss an evening of New Years celebration, most of the team was on board. It was a party!
Day 1: New Years Eve
The weather was perfectly cool. The team was ready to go.
Holly C, Denya, Monica, Christina, Samantha, Me, Sabrina, Christie, and Emily
The goal for day 1 was to run a nice easy 13.1 for two reasons - first, this double was a training run for the ultra and I didn't want to shred my legs, and secondly, I needed to pace Denya for her first full on New Years and wanted to be physically feeling good so that I could focus on supporting her.
The plan was to keep Emily company, but she had a nagging hamstring issue, so we agree to play the day by ear. I ran with my camera, which led to me snapping a lot of frunner pics on course...
Amanda, Dana, and Marcie
Greg (aka "Ninja")
I enjoyed the day, enjoyed the beautiful weather, enjoyed seeing great friends on the looped course. I spent the first 8 or 9 miles with Emily feeling good and telling stories... but I knew her hamstring was really bothering her. She made the wise decision to preserve her body and take it easy the rest of the way in, so as another Racing It Off runner, Monica, caught up to us, I headed out with Monica to run with her for the rest of her half. Monica was having tummy troubles, so I'm glad I got to distract her a little for the remainder of the miles. And she finished strong! We all knew we had another day of running ahead, so we all tried to be pretty conservative on the pacing.
Libby, the amazing race director (in blue), with her sister, Elaine
Back - Heidi, Fiona, Me, Monica, Jenn, Emily
Front - Corina, Elaine
That evening, Libby had arranged a free viewing at the local theater of Spirit of the Marathon! Really cool perk to the race. I had a blast at the movie, then continued out to dinner with a big group of friends and then home to get some sleep. Yes, this is how a runner parties on New Years Eve.
Day 2 - New Years Day
New Years was a big day for many reasons. First and foremost... I was pacing Denya to her first marathon. She's the first person I have coached to a full marathon. I was more nervous than I was for my first marathon because I wanted to make sure I was present for her and ready to be supportive. Secondly, it was the last 26 miles of my highest mileage week ever. So I wanted to get through well to know that I could handle the miles in the upcoming ultra.
The team was PUMPED and ready to go. The mission of the day was Team Denya - get her to the finish line!
Holly C, Christina, Samantha, Me, Denya, Monica, and Sabrina
I have to start by saying that the awesome Shannon of IronTexasMommy was my partner-in-crime for the day. Shannon was on day 2 of back-to-back marathons and ready to slow her roll and help me pace Denya to her first marathon. I can't say enough about what she added to the day... we had SO much fun together and kept each other motivated which helped us keep our spirits up for Denya. And it was nice to let her be the motivator for Denya at the moments where I know Denya wanted to wring my neck!!!
Note to self - self-photography is rarely flattering.
Denya was excited and ready to keep the day steady at 12:00 min/mile. Again, I was crazy with the photos of frunners.
Super-fast Sombrero Paul
Samantha and Christina joking around to make Denya laugh!
Holly C and Monica!
Denya and Me
Denya was amazing. She kept it steady through mile 20 or so, and then the exhaustion of the day definitely hit her (haven't we ALL been there?). Shannon and I were being completely whacked out and dancing on the course - the sprinkler, roping cattle, doing the wave, attempting the running man while running... whatever we could think of. By the 4th loop, we would do a dance for almost every runner who passed to try to get a smile!
The last 6+ miles were a little bit of struggle, but Denya has the most amazing determination... and she pushed through strong. I am SO proud of this lady. She is inspiring! Congratulations on your first marathon, Denya!!!
And check out the double-day bling:
All of the Racing It Off girls accomplished amazing goals. Frunners finished inspiring distances. But I can't resist calling out this one special finish... Elaine, who had planned back-to-back halves, decided New Years Day morning to go for the full... and knocked it out of the park... literally... with a massive PR!!!
For me, this marathon symbolized a great accomplishment as a coach - getting Denya healthy and happy across the finish line (and fyi, she was texting me about marathon 2 before she even got home)... it was also the finish to a 71 mile week, and my legs felt GREAT, which really made me feel like I was on track for this ultra. And lastly, this marathon qualified me for Marathon Maniacs - #4850.
All-in-all... a great race, a fantastic experience, and I will be back next year... but for the back-to-back fulls!