Part IV: Runners High
It’s a little disheartening to begin a half marathon at the end of a half Ironman and just a few steps in see a sign that says “MILE 7”, but know that it’s not for you. The run was two loops of out and back along the same course. I was not looking forward to that. However, it turns out that made the experience not just tolerable, but absolutely amazing. It was like one big party to celebrate what we were out there doing.
We headed down a hill along the beach, then back up. There were a lot of people walking the hill, but I was still trying to get my body adjusted to running. Besides, as we all know, I love hills, and my lack of wetsuit for the swim already declared me to be the non-conformist that I am, so I ran past everyone walking up the hill. I looked at the water and wondered if it was my imagination or if the waves had settled down considerably since a few hours earlier. The first aid station was at the top of the hill. I walked through it, got a drink, poured some water over my head and was back at it.
I had been slightly dreading the run. As a runner, can I even admit that? Well, I just did. Running is supposed to be my main event, but I was worried that it would pass so slowly after the exhaustion of my prior activities. I was worried that it would hurt, a lot. But I started running and I felt surprisingly ok, even my hip. I scanned the faces of the runners coming in the other direction, looking for folks that I know. I saw Katherine and yelled her name. She was so focused she never even heard me. I figured she was on her last loop, so she only had about 3 miles to go. Wow, that girl is awesome! Then I saw Erin. We cheered and high-fived. Then Chad. Then I was at the turn around. I had knocked off 3 miles already. I stopped to pee. Grabbed one more water at the aid station and picked the pace back up. I say that, but I think my pace averaged about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes slower per mile than my usual race pace.
I started thinking I should see Nick anytime now since I figured he would catch me. About 30 seconds later, I yelled, “NICK-YYYYYY!” I wondered how long it would take for him to catch up to me. I kept checking behind me. I saw Serena, Kristen, Tracy, Steve. When Steve saw me, we ran towards each other arms out and did a double high five. Right before he elbowed me in the face, almost knocked my visor off and gave me black eye. Dude, you’re not supposed to do that! Now I wonder if he was trying to sabatoge my race. Hmmm…
As I ran, I thought, this is awesome. I couldn’t possibly be having more fun. I was seeing my friends all over the place! At Mile 6, I was coming into the “Tour of the Zoo”, which was really anything but. We saw the backside of the parking lot, where they had a pen of turkeys or something. I guess if you want to call that a tour of the zoo, you can. I call it, Lame. However, just before that, I saw Karen walking up ahead of me. I jogged up behind her and called out her name. She turned and we hugged each other tightly, completely unaware of how sweaty and salty and disgusting we probably were. We walked together briefly and I told her I had been thinking of her while I was being tossed in the waves that morning. I told her how glad I was to see her at that point on the course. We had both made it through the swim. That terrible, crazy, ridiculously challenging swim. 2 non-swimmers had completely overcome obstacles and made it through that. I told her that while I swam, I was praying for her. And I told her that I started singing a song in my head as I swam. She asked which song. I told her it was a Britt Nicole song. She knew which one I meant, but couldn’t conjure it. She asked me to sing it. I started singing (this will not surprise anyone I work with, since I am known to randomly burst into song). Then Karen joined me. So there were were, walking along the half marathon course of a half Ironman…SINGING.
So get out and let your fear fall to the ground, no time to waste, don’t wait, and don’t you turn around and miss out on everything you were made for. I know you’re not sure. So you play it safe, try to run away. But if you take that first step, into the unknown, He won’t let you go…So what are you waiting for? What do you have to lose?
I’m sure all the people who passed us thought we were nuts. We didn’t care. We kept singing. Eventually, Karen said she didn’t want to slow me down and I took off again on the run. As I pulled away, I heard Karen yell behind me, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Amen!” I yelled back, “That’s right, Girl! Amen!”
Then I cruised on in to the shoot where we could either go on to the second loop or go into the finish. People lined the course on both sides. I saw my mom and a few steps later, Jenny. I high fived them both, yelled “Only 6 more to go!” and whooped it up as I ran past. My mom said how strong I looked, I felt it. I told Jenny that Nick was right behind me. I was seriously having the time of my life!
I looped around and started my final lap of the run. I merged with people who were just coming out of transition to start the run. I felt good. I didn’t know how it was possible to feel that good. I climbed that early hill again. I scanned the faces looking for Teri. I never did see her, but I knew she was out there and that gave me strength. I went through my longest stretch of the run without seeing anyone and then, there was Erin again. And then Chad. I was right on his heels. He said, “I’ll see you in a minute!” I couldn’t believe Nick hadn’t caught me yet. I rounded the turn. I heard the two guys in front of me talking about how they could see the finish line. The one guy said, “See it? It’s way over there.” I said, “Don’t say it like that! You’re supposed to say, “Look! It’s right over there!” They both laughed. I kept plugging along, and there was Nick. I hollered, “It’s in the bag now, Baby! ”
I overheard some guy complaining about how hard it was, “Why are we doing this?! This sucks!” I responded, “Nah, Man, THIS is Living!” He gave me a somewhat confused smile, but he started running again.
I walked through a water station and started talking to a random girl on the course. We walked together briefly and talked about what an amazing experience Racine 70.3 had been. I tried to pick my legs back up again to run. I could feel large blisters forming on the pads of my toes, but I was so close I just wanted to keep going. Again, I saw Serena and Kristen who both yelled something encouraging.
With about a half mile to go, I saw Tracy through the fence. I couldn’t tell you what she yelled, but I was completely exuberant. At the last possible second I saw Steve before he headed out for one more loop and I headed into the finish. I yelled, “Get ‘er done, Steve-o!” I ran down the hill, I didn’t give that last aid station a second glance. I was all smiles. As I ran past my mom and Jenny, who had found each other at this point, I was beaming and I raised my hands in the air. Someone in the crowd yelled, “Look at that smile! Way to represent, FLEET FEET!”
When I arrived at the split and got to go to the side that said “Finish”, I had one last burst of energy. I ran into the finish, hands up, big old Lindsey smile on my face. The announcer said, “That’s Lindsey Jacobs who just came across the line” and I said, “Yeeeeah It Is!” as I high fived a kid volunteer. The announcer said something about how much fun I was having and gave another shout out to FLEET FEET.
Someone put a medal around my neck and said, “Congratulations!” Someone else handed me a hat that said Finisher. I said, “Thank you!” I was beaming. Someone else removed my timing chip from my ankle. Then I saw Chad a couple steps ahead of me, so I moved up to grab him. Funny that I started the race on the beach with Tracy and I finished just steps behind her fiancé, Chad.
We came out of the corral, and I got a hug from Erin’s mom. I choked up as I told her how awesome it was to see everyone along the course. Then I found my mom. I was smiling and crying. I was depleted. Joyful. Exhausted. Exuberant. Overwhelmed. I couldn’t stop saying how awesome that was.
It was a completely crazy ride…from the giant waves, to the bumpy bike, to what was probably my slowest half marathon ever. And I wouldn’t change a single minute of any of it. Just about an hour after we packed our gear back to the car where I slapped my 70.3 magnet on the Pathfinder and headed back to the Marriott, the sky opened up and dumped a total deluge of rain. We felt so fortunate that we didn’t have to be out there riding or running or gathering gear in the downpour. Even though the swim had been more of challenge than any of us could have predicted, they didn’t cancel it. We were given the opportunity to go out that morning and do all of what we had prepared to do. And BOY, did we ever make the most of it!
Part V: The Finish
So, what did I learn from my experience of Racing Racine 70.3? I learned that impossible means NOTHING! The word impossible really is just a challenge to go out and try. I remember 2 years ago, right after I started working at FLEET FEET, an all staff email went out that Lindsey Farrell had completed a half Ironman, I think it might have even been Racine. And I remember thinking I could NEVER do that. Well, never say never. But if you would have told me 2 years ago that I was capable of this, I know I wouldn’t have believed you. Now, I believe. And I’m ready to tackle even more challenges that lie ahead with Ironman Arizona 2014. Even Teri sent me a text saying the next day saying that if I made it through that, I can do ANY swim. I was glad to hear it isn’t always that rough. Lake St. Louis is a month away. I get to have a rematch with the Olympic course I did last year. That will be the true test of how far I’ve come and I can’t wait to get out there and really see what I am capable of.
What else did I learn last weekend? I learned that runners can talk about poop excessively and never stop thinking it’s funny. And I learned that all restaurant’s named Dewey’s are not created equal.
I learned, once again, to play the hand I’m dealt. Life doesn’t always look the way we think it’s supposed to, and once we finally get over that, we are free to take things as they come…good or bad. When it’s bad, it’s time to suck it up and get the job done, but that’s usually when we can see how much progress we’ve really made. Which makes the good even better.
Most importantly, I learned to stop doubting myself. I really am so much stronger than I gave myself credit for. I had no idea what to expect from all this. I probably could have finished even faster than I did, but I couldn’t be happier with my 6:44:55. I wouldn’t trade this experience, MY experience, for anything.
It wouldn’t have been the same experience without my friends there, without all those familiar faces along the course. I can’t imagine it any other way and quite frankly, I don’t really want to. And just like the magnet on my fridge says, where ever you are it is your friends who make your world.
Racine 70.3 was a wild ride. From training to prep, from start to finish, it was a wild, crazy, ridiculous ride. But I happen to like the wild ride. I like the ups and downs. I like the whiplash and the butterflies in my stomach. I like the fear and excitement, the anxiety and exhilaration. But more than anything, I like having my friends on the ride with me.
Here’s the video of the song Karen and I sang on the run…
Karen says I lifted her heart, but I say we just helped carry each other.