I don’t often surprise myself with my training or racing, but I can honestly say I didn’t know I had this in me! I ran a 1:31:31 for the Get it Dunn 1/2 Marathon on 5/12/18, pushing a Chariot Cougar 2 (double stroller) with Greta and Anna. Nearly 8 minutes faster than last year!
I wasn’t planning on trying to lower the record until Nate and Craig one night said, “Oh, you would totally run faster this year!” in reference to my 1:39:23 from last year (race recap from when I set the record in 2017 is here). I countered with, “I’m faster, yes, but the girls are much heavier!”. Anna had just been for a well-child visit so I knew she was ~10lbs heavier than last year. All in all, I’d be pushing about 55 pounds between the two girls, the stroller at 30 pounds, and whatever we had in the stroller to keep them occupied (last year I estimated that at 4 pounds… probably accurate. There were two blankets, a small water bottle, stuffed animals, etc — it adds up!). That’s nearly 90 pounds. I weigh in at about 111-112 pounds now, folks. That means I’m pushing 80% of my weight…. for 13.1 miles!
I contacted Guinness as they have to approve any record attempts. If they don’t pre-approve the attempt and you do break a record, it doesn’t count. Last year they took forever to approve my request so I didn’t think the approval would come in time this year. But, it did! Then I needed to approve the stroller (there are parameters for the stroller) – and that came in just in time. Maybe it was meant to be!
Nate was originally going to push the stroller at this race while I raced the 1/2 so he hadn’t been taking his training too seriously. When we decided to switch roles, though, he immediately tried to get in shape to try to hang with me as long as he could. Last year he was gapped during the middle miles and caught up on a big uphill (where I resorted to walking because I was moving so slow!). If I were planning to go faster, he’d have his work cut out for him!
As such, I contacted Mike, someone who I met last year who I knew was fast enough to be able to run alongside. He was crazy enough to say yes, even though I warned him it might involve more “keep the girls from crying” work than actual pacing.
One of the best things I unintentionally did for myself was train with deflated stroller tires. The first time I took both girls out for a training run I thought to myself, “WOW. This is going to be work this year!”. Turns out the tires had about 10 pounds of pressure in them, so when we pumped them up the morning of the race to 65 pounds of pressure the stroller actually strolled! It felt amazing!
We made the weekend into a mini-vacation for our family. We stayed at the Best Western again and were once again “wowed” by the service, the little things, and their continental breakfast! We brought in food the night before and ate dinner picnic-style on the floor of our hotel room, had a PJ party (changing into PJs and snuggling on the bed together as a family, reading), and checked out the pool – the girls were promised swimming time after the race! It was all around a really fun experience!
The morning of was a little hectic as Nate and I tried to get two slow-moving little humans fed & out the door in time for a decent warm-up and stroller-prep time. I warmed up with Mike for 2 miles once we arrived, then went back to the car to stretch, use the bathroom, and handle the girls while Nate warmed up a little.
Then, we were off! My legs felt as good as they have in a while. They really appreciated the mini taper the week before! I actually wondered to myself what I could have run without the stroller. My legs felt in control except for about a mile stretch around mile 8 when the left struggled a little more. But that’s as well as they’ve worked in… a while! Perhaps the PRP injection is working?!?
Anna slept through a lot of the race. That was a lucky break as she had been up in the middle of the night and threw up and was running a temp in the morning. Nate and I considered scrapping the stroller plan that morning, actually, but then decided that the stroller was about as good of a place as any for her to hang out in (unless she threw up again, that is). Greta had a little harder time with the length of the stroller ride, but Mike and Nate were fantastic with her. Some fun memories include singing Old MacDonald who had a “Barn Owl!” (Greta’s suggestion, and she thought it was hilarious that Mike only heard Owl. She cackled, “No, a BARN owl!”), counting red cars, blue cars, etc, and her saying, “why is it taking so long to get to the finish line?”. Ha. I promise, kid, I was trying!
Nate kept with us through the big uphill around mile 11 and then dropped back. From there I knew I had just two miles to go and I told myself to try to set this record low enough so that it would be really hard to break. C’mon, Nichole! Leave it all out there so there are no regrets!
I dropped a 6:40 mile at mile 12 :). Again… what could I have done without that 90 pound stroller? Guess I’ll never know 🙂
We made a few turns to the finish and Mike told me that we might be able to be under 1:32. Really? I hadn’t been doing the math and had specifically not memorized miles paces or finish times. On purpose. I thought, oh wow… a 1:31 would be really awesome. C’mon, dig a little more!
I crossed at 1:31:31, surprising even myself. It’s not often I do that with my racing! It’s fun to surprise yourself with your fitness/speed!
Upcoming races: the Fast and the Furry 5k on 5/19 and the Stillwater 1/2 Marathon on 5/26. I’m excited to see what I can do!