Monday, November 3, 2008

The Big Race

Well, it's over. The months, weeks and hours of marathon training is over. Yesterday morning, Team Dragovich piled into the mini-van at 5am (Thank you Lord, for the time change!) and drove to Raleigh, NC, so I could run in the 5th marathon of my running "career". And, boy... do I know how to pick 'em! HA!!! Let me just preface this next part with-- I really had no choice. I knew I wanted to do a race before Tony left on his big "D" and before we brought home kiddos from Ethiopia. I also was very limited in what race I could do. We couldn't travel for this race, and the only other race remotely close was OBX-- and it is next weekend... the weekend before he deploys. Not to mention we would have had to travel. So... City of Oaks it was.

Boys waiting to see Mommy at Mile 10

In all the reviews of this course, the word "hilly" seemed to come up alot. It is compared over and over again to Boston's course-- a famously hilly race. I ran Boston in 2007-- um... NOT a good comparison! City of Oaks is TWICE as hilly as Boston-- at LEAST... and I will argue down to the bone with anyone who tries to deny it. It is WAY hillier than St. Louis-- which is also considered a hilly course, and the course which I quailfied for Boston on in 2006. There is not a flat spot in the entire race. And, YES, I studied the topographical map of the race before running it and Tony and I even drove the course on Saturday. Scary, insane and wow... are the words which come to mind-- of course, I wouldn't allow myself such thoughts before the race-- that would be death to self!! But, now that it is over?... well, there's no holding back! :D

There I am-- still track sub 8's (min. per mile)

My goal was to break 3:30-- run sub-8:00 splits. I ran the first half well under that... 7:40-7:50's. The second half was where I lost all my time-- 30 seconds per mile. Which, of course, was where all the killer hills were. I gained some ground the last 5 miles, but it wasn't enough to break 3:30. My final time was 3:33:08. On the bright side, I won my age group (30-34), came in 14th overall for the females standings out of 255 total women; and 98th out of over 900 total marathon runners. It is a PR for me (personal record), and I requalified for Boston easily. The other good thing is, I didn't lose any more time on the second half than any of the top runners did. Only one woman in the top 10 ran even splits the entire 26.2 miles. All the other top runners (men, too) dropped 30 seconds or more off their pace the second half of the race. I truly believe that I have sub 3:30 legs-- maybe even on that course, if I had just a little more experience racing on that sort of terrain and knew better how and when to push my legs.

Now they are waiting for me in Umstead Park-- mile 17

Most importantly, I learned a lot. I have one more marathon under my belt, my boys were overly proud of their mama and Tony was super proud of my performance. He is already planning my next year of training and racing and was looking up all the races "we" are going to do over the next years-- nice fast, flat courses to kick out some killer times. I am learning to be content with my performances, recognize where I need to "toughin' up", and zeroing in on what I really want to be able to achieve in my "running career" and why.

Mile 24-- no more sub 8's-- that's okay, I'm still movin' at least!

I hope you enjoyed the pics of our big event. One more neat detail... Tony and the boys saw me 5 different times-- miles 4, 10, 17, 24 and the end. In order to see me at mile 17, they had to park the car at the entrance to Umstead Park, RUN 1 mile in, on the trails, down one of the steepest hills of the race to see me. Tony had Sam make marks in the dirt for every woman that passed before me. They counted 17. When I came by, they cheered me on, told me where I was in the standings and then ran back up the hill (remember-- 1 mile up), back in the van and on to mile 24. I managed to knock off 3 women by the time they saw me again... something I may not have tried to do, if I hadn't known they were keeping track :). Tony said Isaac was so excited for me during this race, and I guess he kept getting frustrated with Sam for not hurrying enough. Apparently he kept getting after Sam to, quote: "Hurry, UP! Mommy is waiting for us!" :)

They are my heroes.

Mommy and her boys-- after the race. Sam is holding my 1st place-- in age group-- plaque.
Grace and Peace,


ethiHOPEia said...

Wow, you're my hero too! I couldn't do that! Congratulations.

Are you planning on going to the NC get-together?

Renee' said...

WOW, Shari. That's all I can say. WOW!

jill coen said...

Shari, I third the WOW! You rock!!

Anonymous said...

You are AMAZING!!!
Emily (B);-)

Carpenters said...

You go girl! Look at you! Great job, Shari!

With Love,

Susan said...

WOW! You're one awesome mama! I'm sure that all of your boys are proud of you!

Love you! Susan

Anonymous said...

Good job, you've come a long way since we started in Washington!!! Running with those little babies in tow!
There is a marathon in Duluth in June which is really nice and flat, check it out... Grandma's marathon! You are welcome to stay here if you want! Marcie K