I did it! So, first the basics:
I ran with the awesome posse from Off n' Running, the best local running store ever. If you want to argue this point, I am an excellent arm-wrestler.
My job was to set the pace for my three fellow 21-milers. They tend to speed up, and since their normal long-run pace is my just-trying-to-hold-on long-run pace, I like it when they ask me to lead. I can run 8:50-9:00 miles forever, apparently.
I ate two Hammer Gel Espressos and a packet of Gu Chomps Watermelon, which I love. The gels are getting harder and harder for me to stomach, but I know they provide much-needed energy and I do like the caffeine. The water stops included Gatorade. I am quickly falling in love with Gatorade during long runs. Forget water; it's so boring and unsalty.
My favorite shoes (Brooks Ghost) are dying and I'm too cheap to buy another pair with so many other perfectly good shoes in my closet. This week I wore my new pair of New Balance 758s. They are fine, but they're not my favorites. I have a pair of Mizuno Creations waiting in a box, too, but I've never run in Mizunos so I should probably wait until post-race to experiment. I guess I will do New Balance for the race, because I simply cannot justify spending money to have preferred shoes when I already have good shoes.
As always, my sports bra drilled two lovely holes in my back, but other than that there was no chaffing or blisters.
And now for a little refection...
January was the month of the flu. February was the month for ankle weirdness. I started to doubt my ability to compete. For me, all competing means is running in a way that makes me proud. I don't have to BQ, I don't have to beat my previous time, and I don't even have to get a certain time. I do have to run strong. That's what competing means. So if I wasn't sure I could do that, how was I going to even get my butt to the start? And what would that mean for the generous people who have helped me raise money for Girls on the Run? I am so thankful that this last long run was so strong. I haven't put in as many miles as I wanted to, but Saturday's run proved that I will be fine. March will be the month of the race!
Not only do I get to run a race, I get to run a race in Washington, DC around monuments and the Mall. My family gets to come with me. We get to stay with my parents, and they have colluded to create some plan for being visible during the race. I can't wait. My dad has already asked me about post-race food (mac and cheese, ice cream, cider). I am so excited and so grateful.