Race Report by Christie Jackson
CIM was a wonderful reminder that I really love racing. Unfortunately, I have only felt mildly prepared for the few races I have entered during the past 6 years. Between starting a business, growing and giving birth to two babies, Covid and poor air quality, running has been more of an outlet to keep me physically and mentally sane, and less of a goal-oriented sport. Luckily, I had spent enough early Wednesday mornings chasing Peter Fain up trails and enjoyed the occasional “long” 8-15 mile run on the weekends to have a moderate base.
The buildup went really well and I attribute this to getting my sleepy self out the door on chilly mornings and diving deeper into the mental side of training. Gah, just writing these words about the “power of a positive attitude” makes me want to chuck a bouquet of fake flowers at my face. But dammit, these incredibly simple mental techniques really do work. I highly recommend you read through Jenelle’s race report. I especially enjoyed Deena Kastor’s memoir “Let Your Mind Run”. In my earlier years of running, especially in college, I faced most workouts and races in a mindset of anxiety and fear of failure. Throughout this training cycle I experimented with different mental tricks that helped me maintain a positive mindset and truly enjoy the process of pushing my physical limits.
Despite low mileage (I averaged about 4 runs and 35-ish miles a week) I made a point to believe each day I was becoming better prepared for my goal of a 3:05 marathon. The runs I did get in were quality miles and I ran with confidence. When I missed nearly a week of running because we were on a Baja surf adventure with friends, I considered how great it was to let me my legs recover while I boosted my immune system with vitamin D and tequila-induced belly laughs. When my long runs got hard, I acknowledged my fatiguing muscles by name and re-invented them as guests arriving to my kick-ass dinner party, forcing them to have a good time and stay until the end (seriously, how do I make this stuff up?). I came across the book “Happiness Beyond Thought” by Gary Weber and identified with the phrase “When are you?”. During the hard part of a long run I would ask myself “When are you?” and go on to repeat “I am now, I am now” and then get it done.
Race morning I woke up feeling great, which was incredible considering I had spent the past 5 days pretty unwell. Throughout this training I enlisted the help of my favorite PT, Greg Booth as well as acupuncture by Leila Peace. Two days before the race, Leila miraculously helped my body rid itself of a nasty cold that had me down all week. I had somehow managed a decent night’s sleep in a decrepit motel room shared with my husband and 2 kids. My throat was still sore but my body felt good and I welcomed that giddy nervousness. Before the start I briefly ran into Adam Kimble (who is 100% smiling even at 5:45am) and I was so temped to join his pace group to break 3:00. Ultimately, I decided to stick to my plan of a conservative first half and hung with the 3:05 pace group. The miles flew by and at some point, perhaps mile 14ish, I saw a woman running ahead whose form looks so energetic and I decide I want to run with her. As I’m getting closer, I noticed Steve Buelna and Karen go wild cheering for this lady and I deduce that if they know her, and I know them, then I should probably get to know her too. Eventually I catch up and we started running together. She asked about the name Arete on my shirt (a women’s run club) and I go out on a limb and ask if she happens to be Aude from Truckee? She looks at me in wonderment and I admit the DPMR facebook group helped me recognize her. Although we have never met, we both agree that we are destined to be running buddies. So fortuitous!
I can only remember one brief section of lapsing into negativity. In a short moment I doubt I can hold it together, I slow down, Aude runs ahead and I question if I have what it takes. Luckily within a 1/2 mile I am cycling through my various mental tricks and the wave of doom passes and I feel so fast again! I take in the increasing crowds, the cheers and music, and I continue to pick up my pace. I never do catch back up to Aude which excites me because I know she is definitely exceeding her goals for this race. As I run towards the finish line, I hear the sweet little cheers “Go Mama!” from my son and daughter and I am just so happy to be in this moment. My watch reads 3:03. F* yeah! A nice PR, a negative-split marathon. I hug Aude at the finish line, cry and laugh, and realize my hamstrings that I yelled at around mile 20 are completely seizing up. Job well done. The next few days are spent shuffling around as I daydream what my next race will be. Sub 3 anyone???