Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oshkosh Half Marathon - In the Snow

... and did I set a PR, well you will just have to read down to the bottom to find out. (warning this might be a long one guys)

This morning the temperature was 37 degrees and it was pouring rain. I chose to wear single layer Nike pants and my half zip long sleeve shirt and my Winbreaker vest. I made my gatorade mixture and packed me Chomps! As I drove to the race I started to get nervous... could I do this with the weather? As I stood at the start line, the nervousness started to turn to panic. I dont see very many walkers... and the walkers I see look fit.  Will I get left or lost on the course again? I line up as far back as I can .... and off we go.
At about 0.5mile I drop my Ipod on the ground (this will NOT be the last time I drop something)... I tuck it back on my belt but about 0.5 mile later it drops again. I quickly shove it in the pocket of my vest (thank god I wore the vest or I might have been psyched out by this). I noticed my first mile time and think...hmm slower than it should be. Good thing I already abandoned any thought of a PR here, because this is just going to be about finishing. I had a hard time settling in, just didnt feel strong. Inserted an extra walk break at mile 2.75 and then started yelling at myself in my head ... you need to get tougher you have a LONG ways to go!

At mile 3, we headed through a rough stretch of trail. Oops yep TRAIL... they didnt tell us about that. Its rocky, and not paved. Just then FzyFrogs song "Go Hard or Go Home" comes on and I am able to pick up my pace ... just the words were motivating me! The trail is a mess... lots of water, mud, rocks, but I just trudge on. I know start to feel strong.... I finally pass the woman I have been chasing for 3 miles ... and I never see her again!

The trail continues for another mile or so, and then thankfully it is paved roads. Mile 5 a small hill, and back to the trail. I cringe ... but just like its meant to be Bratgrrls song "Fuego" comes on the iPod and I just smile. Time to push it I guess... I think its a sign!

Onward I go through puddles, lakes, mud, etc. I accidently drop my empty bottle from my fuel belt, not once but twice... and once in the mud. I just pick it up and wipe it on my pants (which are covered in mud anyways)! At the half way point I felt strong... I knew I was going to be able to do this. Just prior to the halfway point I look down and notice my 10K time... its not as fast as I usually do in training... and so I never think about it again. At the halfway point, I feel strong... a bit sore but otherwise strong. Unfortunately at this time the rain now turns to sleet (and we all know how much I LOVE sleet pelting me in the face while I run).

Mile 7 was completely into the wind... and sleet... yuck!
At mile 7.5 a large hill ... and I am just starting to fade... then DangerRanger's song "Im the Ish" comes on and I smile... just singing along in my head. I make it over the hill and continue to trudge alone. At mile 8 I notice that I am just faster than 15/mile but I still dont think anything of it... but I think I will likely slow down!

Mile 9 comes and I am still going strong... slow... but strong with my intervals no extra walk breaks, etc. As we turn into the park trail... and back into the wind Mandell25's song "Sun is Up" comes on. I giggle because there is no sun.... no good weather... but the song cheers me up.

At Mile 10 the sleet turns to snow, first light and kinda pretty than completely heavy and its evern hard to see because of thick snow. I happen to check my Garmin and notice that I am hitting mile 10 at 2:28 which is alot faster than I have ever hit that mark before. NanBar's song "Unbreakable" comes on ... and I honestly start crying a bit. Like wow... I am probably going to PR ... in the snow... how amazing is this? All I got left is a silly 5K baby!

The words from Unbreakable inspire me so much:
"God I want to dream again, take me where Ive never been. I want to go there, this time Im not scared. Now I am unbreakable, its unmistakeable. No one can touch me, nothing can stop me"
Shortly after this song, Alison2429's song "Reach for the Stars" comes on .. just to remind me that I have to keep up the pace if I want to PR, right? Then right after comes misssupersititious's song "Heart of a Champion".
Before I know it, its Mile 11. I am definately tired, cold, and wet right now. The snow continues. I can feel that I am starting to slow down .... and I cant let that happen. Emilysebastians song "Backseat" comes on ... I smile knowing I am not alone here and I continue on. At Mile 11.5 is the last water station, and I finally give in to take some water. I take my last Chomps. Slimyfishy's song "Take Over Control" comes on and I reminded that this is all mental right now NOT physical and I just need to keep pushing on .... just keep pushing girl. You dont wanna work so hard for 11 miles to blow it right? Kac7700 song "Shots" comes on ... and I imagine myself partying at a bar having a great time when I am thin and fit and not embarrased about how I look. I am freaking awesome for doing this... for being here I think my myself!
The sign for Mile 12 has blown down ... so I actually missed the sign. Mile 12 is back into the wind... and the snow. I am exhausted ... the wind is strong and making it harder to advance. Just then fuzzy's song "ET" comes on and I focus on trying to match my steps with the beat which speeds up my pace a bit. The race is almost over... I can feel it. Only one big hill to get over ... the bridge. I allow myself to walk up the bridge... almost at the top of the bridge AggieCass's song "Go Girl" comes on ...
"I party like a rockstar, look a movie star, play like an all star, *&^% like a porno star.. baby im a superstar" and I just push ahead.
The very last song to play was not dedicated to anyone ... but it it is a song again that I find the lyrics to be completely inspiring. The song is "You Gave Me a Promise" by Fireflight... and I would encourage anyone to download it... and remember the promise you gave yourself! You committed to YOURSELF no one is making you do anything... :)
"Waves are crashing down on me, but I know this can not be the end.
At times I feel like copping out, will you hold me up if I just say that I will stay.
I will hold on to this hope that I have.
You gave me a promise, you gave me a promise.
Ill push through this moment, Ill never give up.
You gave me a promise, you gave me a promise." 
This song was playing when I crossed the finish line... as I approached the finish line I got faster and faster. Yep I saved enough for a sprint out. They called me name and I just smiled. It was only then that I thought to look down at my watch....
3:16:38 officially ......
I not only beat my PR... but I shattered it by over 7 MINUTES!
How did I do this... with the weather... the drama..... I just kept pushing though!
Im still in a bit of shock ... but I know that I could not done it without my friends who support me so thanks. Amazing how I have changed so much in less than one year. Im the healthier, happier, fitter me. I still have a ways to go, but the old me wouldnt have dreamed of running 3 miles, much less 3 + another 10 miles!


  1. Great job, AnnMarie.......I'm very proud of you! Your an inspiration to me and many others I'm sure!! Keep up the blog, I enjoy reading it and traveling with you on your journey. Barb

  2. That is so weird, I just beat my half PB at the London Marathon by exactly the same amount at the same time!
    Well done! Sounds like it was a harsh one - what runners are made of!