Sunday, February 13, 2011

Best. Day. Ever.

Wow!  I'm not quite sure where to start.  I'm sure you all really want to know about how Mark popped the question.  But I'm going to make you listen (well, read really) all about the race first.  In yesterday's blog, I rambled about my deep affection for New Orleans, so I'll spare you that - except to say now I love it even more.

The weather couldn't have been special ordered any better.  I didn't look, but I'm guessing it was 50ish when we started. A little chilly, but it felt good once we got going.  I stayed pretty close to Erin, Gail and Mark at the beginning.  At about mile 1.5, Mark told me I was going too fast for him.  I offered to slow down but he told me to keep going.  Not essential to the story - but it's good to know for later.

I wasn't sure I could PR much less hit my goal time of 2:30.  But after some encouraging words from Joe a couple days ago and several pep talks to myself, I decided to try. Before leaving the hotel this morning I looked at the chart for what pace I needed to keep to hit 2:30.  11:26 per mile.  Wow, that's almost a minute faster than I normally go, and faster than I've ever run any race, including a 5k.  It seemed hard but not impossible.  I've always read your long runs should be a minute slower than your race pace.  I thought I could reverse the logic and try to run a minute faster than my long run pace.

I felt great nearly the whole race.  I finally found the elusive runner's high.  I think I floated from mile 6 to mile 8.  I ran longer than the 3/1 intervals my watch was programmed for.  I couldn't have ask for it to have gone much better.  At mile 11, I started to feel tired and achy...and had to continue my pep talk to myself.  It was great to see Lou and Byron near the end.  The course was very flat.  But it was also uneven and full of holes and cracks.  Let's all be glad that I managed to stay upright and not fall during the race.

I rarely keep track of my average pace or total time during a race.  Usually it depresses me.  Today I watched it like a hawk.  I did great through mile 10 but slowed down a few seconds per mile the last 3 miles.  The end result.  2:30:49!!!  I was on top of the world!  Or so I thought.  I went to where I had seen Lou and Byron to see if anyone else had finished and hopefully to see Mark come in. 

Mark set a new personal record too - 2:45.  When I saw him about to cross the finish line, he asked me to meet him at the end.  If you ever done a Rock n Roll race you know it's nearly impossible to get back into the finisher's area after you leave.  If you haven't done one, once you leave it's guarded and there's no getting back in.  I'm not usually much of a rule follower, but I also don't like conflict, so I wasn't terribly excited to argue with the guard to get back to the area. 

I stretched the truth just a little to get back inside.  The lady was not letting me in, so I said my boyfriend might be in the medical tent, and I needed to check.  I mean, he could have been there, I didn't know for absolutely sure he wasn't.  She was still telling me no and lecturing me when I just walked on in. When I found Mark, he wanted to get our picture made in front of the Rock n Roll backdrop - something I ususally skip.  But I thought it sounded sweet.  At this point there's a huge line of finishers waiting to get their picture made.  Luckily, Mark had already talked to the photographer and asked if he would make our picture - I'm sure he'd told the photographer what his real plan was.

As we move in front of the background, Mark drops down to one knee and pulls out a ring.  I'm shocked!  I'm pretty sure he asked me 3 times before I could say something besides "oh my gosh!"  Of course, I did say yes.  Luckily, Chrystyna and Nicole finished soon after Mark and were able to take pictures of us.  Something else you should know about this race series...the pictures are ridiculously expensive.  But I'm sure I'll be buying the one from today! 

Mark told me he wanted to ask me at mile 5, but I was too fast.  Which is not something I hear very often!  Mile 5 was to signify the 5 years we've been together.  Yes, I am a very patient person.  I hate that I messed up his sweet plan.  But now I'm engaged and I have a stellar new PR plus there were camera's there to catch our happy moment.  Now I'm really on top of the world.  Best day ever! 


  1. What a fabulous story! I'm so excited for you guys. 5 wonderful years down and a million more to go! This heartfelt story is just SO YOU GUYS! Love it!

  2. I am so happy for you both and this next chapter in your life. Looking forward to your "happily ever after" - you both deserve it!