I spent Thursday morning and afternoon cleaning and packing. I had to make sure I had running clothes for every type of weather since the reports for Bloomington called for a warm, sunny morning with a cold rain coming through late morning on Saturday. I went through my suitcase twice to make sure I packed everything. Shoes? Yes. Singlet? Yes. Shorts? Yes. Powersox? Yes. Bandaids? Yes.
After straightening up the house, packing my car, and leaving a note for my husband, I left St. Louis and headed for Cincinnati. It was dark and late when I arrived, so I really didn’t spend much time with my grandparents that day. But I spent most of Friday with them, and ate dinner with them at my Aunt’s restaurant. Grandma told me I had to order a complete dinner and eat it. But everything on the menu is artery-clogging, deep-fat-fried, good ol’ country cooking. I hesitantly ordered and ate chicken strips, fries, and macaroni and cheese. I was really nervous about eating something so heavy the night before a race. I didn’t want to spend the next morning in the race port-o-lets. Gross. But I always do what my Grandma says. We all do. For a woman who isn’t even 5 feet tall, she’s definitely intimidating!
After dinner, I got ready for bed. I was in bed by 7:00 p.m., which surprised my Grandma. With her Japanese-coated English, she asked, “Whaa? You go to sleep now? What time you leave?” When I told her I had to leave by 3:30 a.m. to pick up my registration packet and bib, she laughed. “You like airplane. You just touchdown and takeoff.” This made me feel a little guilty about going to bed, but I knew I needed the rest.
At 3:15 a.m., my cell phone alarm buzzed. I stumbled to the bathroom and completed my pre-race routine. I stuck bandaids to and rubbed Bodyglide on areas prone to chaffing. I dressed, ate a bowl of cheerios, and snuck out of my grandparents’ house—trying my best not to wake them. Then I drove, and drove, and drove to Bloomington. Until 6:00 a.m., I seemed to be the only person up and driving the curvy hills through Indiana.
I made it to the campus of IU by 6:55 a.m.—more than enough time to check-in, get my bib number and timing chip, and eat a small snack. I ate two granola bars, drank some Gatorade, and walked around the indoor track to kill time. At about 7:50 a.m., everyone headed towards the start line, and I followed the crowd. About 760 runners lined up behind the start and waited silently until the announcer yelled “Go!” into the megaphone. And we took off. It was warm and sunny—I was feeling good.
I was going faster than I had planned. I just couldn’t get my pace right until about mile 5. By then, I didn’t need to try to slow down—it happened naturally when the ice-cold rain came in and hovered over the race. Drenched and shivering, I tried to speed up, but couldn’t. I was frozen, and my movement reflected this. With each step, my legs felt like heavy ice that I struggled to move—especially up the numerous hills on the course. But somehow, I made it to the finish line. And when I finished, I felt like I had energy to spare. I finished in 2:06:48—faster than my Bowling Green time. As unlikely as it felt, I ended up with a new PLPR!
After the race, I grabbed two granola bars, a bottle of water, an everything bagel with cream cheese, and a banana from the refueling tent. I wanted to make sure I ate enough—I didn’t want to end up with a headache as I drove. I carried this grub back to my car, where I changed into dry clothes. I was so uncomfortably cold and wet, that I gave up on modesty. Drier and warmer, I headed back to St. Louis to spend the rest of Easter weekend with my wonderful husband!