"Whenever you think you are giving it all you have, give just a little bit more"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Olympic Trials

Wow I don't even know where to begin.
Going to the trials was a dream of mine and when I woke up Thursday I couldn't believe it was time to head out. I was happy to be joined by my brother Travis who did a good job keeping my mind off of the race and the poor guy even endured a lot of Real Housewives of ....... shows to keep my mind busy :)
I had been a slacker booking my hotel so Thursday early afternoon me and Travis flew in and drove to get to the Best Western and shortly after were heading over to the Hilton (the host hotel) to pick up my packet. At first I was bummed I didn't get into the host hotel but right after walking in the door and seeing how nervous being around everyone else made me I was so glad to just keep away from the madness. After getting my packet and so much information I thought my head was going to pop off I hit the treadmill for a quick and easy 6 mile run and than we were off to dinner with Scott. At dinner Scott had given me my race plan (a 5:50 pace) and I was scared to death! I did not think it was possible to keep that pace for 26 miles. The next 24 hours went by in a blur, my aunt and uncle arrived, Kevin and the boys arrived and before I knew it Kevin was driving me to the start.......

It was all really weird I actually got 7 hours of great sleep the night before the race. I woke up so calm, I had finally told myself to just do what Scott said. He wouldn't send me on a death march. He knew what I had done to prepare and he knew what I was capable of. Kevin dropped me off at the hotel and told me that at mile 20 or mile 22 when it starts to hurt and I want to give in to just remember my mom. Remember how much of a fighter she was and remember I get that from her. It brought tears to my eyes and than I was off. I spent the next couple hours having coffee and eating my bagel with peanut butter. There was a short 10 minute warm up and than we were off.

The first mile of the race was insane!!! We were going so slow that there was a gigantic pack. We all spent the whole first mile bumping and tripping on one another trying to find a safe spot to just stay on our feet. When we crossed mile 1 you could tell everyone was slower than expected 6:15!!! Good news is we all started to string out a little bit and by the time I took the turn into the first 8 mile loop I had found Ali and our little pack. Miles 3-6 were a little faster than we had expected 5:40-5:45 but we wanted to stay in our pack. Scott had warned us with the wind in the city it was vital to stay in a pack and not get stuck all alone. It scared me a little in the marathon to be putting time in the bank even though it really felt easy. I was worried it would come back to hurt me in the end of the race. Looking around in our pack though I knew I was in a good group it was Ali, Meghan Peyton, Kathy Newberry, Emily Harris, Ziola Gomez, myself and three other girls I didn't know. From racing these girls through out the year I knew they were all really good at pacing so if I could just hang in there with them until the pace settled in I knew we would be in good position. The group made it through the first 8 mile loop pretty much all together. As we went past our first water stations I decided the best thing for me to do was take a few sips at every station as well as a small bit of my GU. I figured with my touchy stomach not taking too much at once and staying ahead of dehydration was a good idea. Believe it or not getting the bottles, drinking and taking my gel proved to be a lot easier than I had expected it to be.

The wind was kind of a pain as we were heading out on the beginning of every loop so with the pack so big me and Ali tried to just tuck in behind and hold on as long as we could. Little did we know that half way through the second 8 mile loop we started losing people on the pack. By about 13-14 miles our pack had fallen down to three of us. Ali, Clara Peterson (also a mother of two little ones!!!) and myself. The weird thing about the marathon is you can just hold conversations as you are racing, I'm not too sure about this! When we realized it was just the three of us we talked about how we needed to stay together and we would slowly start picking people off. At mile 17 we started to pick off some really good runners and got a little out of control with a 5:37, it was such a rush! Luckily we settled back in and when we came to the end of our 2nd 8 mile loop passing my family we were in 25-27th place.

The next lap was the most exciting of the race. I was still feeling really good but all I could think was of the three of us in this pack I am probably going to be the one to get dropped. I just need to hold on as long as possible so I don't have to run too much of this by myself. Our pace was steady as we started the lap and than mile 19, 20, 21 started to slow close to or just at a 6 minute pace. It was just after we crossed mile 21 that I started to think to myself. I could see some women ahead and I was still feeling really good. Could I make a push and pick it up a little? I wanted to hit a 2:35! My next move scared me to death. I decided it was now or never. I still had some in the tank so I picked it up I picked off a couple more girls and just kept focusing on the next one in front of me. Than I noticed the girl right in front of me was Magda!!! Are you kidding me? What the heck am I doing up here? This can not be good, I must have gotten carried away! All the girls I just passed and ran away from were for sure going to catch back up to me. At some point I was going to hit a wall and start to die. What a rookie I was! I noticed Magda didn't stop for her 2nd to last water station so I figured ok I probably don't need it I'm just going to keep going, than I skipped my last one thinking I am too close to the finish for it to help anyway. I just kept going, I had my eyes focused on Magda's back she is one of my biggest idols! Just the fact that I was even close to her at this point was so exciting! I knew any minute my body was going to shut down but until than I have to keep pushing. But before I knew it I was at mile 25 and I felt GREAT! Sure I was tired but i wasn't hurting I had complete control of myself. Sadly Magda had more control as she went from being maybe 10-15 seconds ahead of me to 40 by the finish and from 12th to 10th place putting her in the money. I was so amazed just watching her hit her next gear and go. That's when Scott took me out of my trance and said come on if you are feeling good pick it up go get that girl in front of you. I really didn't think there was anyway for me to catch up to her but to my surprise I did! Just before the turn to the finish I passed my last competitor putting myself into 12th place. Than I heard the announcer say and here comes Katie McGregor.....yikes I was so excited I was racing close to some of the women I really look up to. When I crossed the finish line I had no idea what place I had just finished in all I knew was that I ran a 2:34:25!!!!! I really thought on my best day I would run a 2:35 and that was really stretching it! All I wanted was to run sub 2:38 and I would be happy. So a 2:34!!!! Woohoo!!! I turned around to see Ali coming across the line. We were both hugging one another jumping up and down. WE had done it! WE are now marathoners and it wasn't even that bad!

Scott called me over and he told me I was 12th, how exciting?!?!?! Than the little crazy competitor in me was disappointed I was so close to top ten, what could I have done different. Yeah I know I am crazy :)

The rest of the day was kind of crazy. I had such an amazing support group there and I wanted to try and spend time with everyone but I was also tired! At lunch with everyone I heard that my two training partners had made the trip out to Houston to cheer me on and didn't even tell me. I was moved to tears. These two guys have gotten me to this point. Had it not been for Corey and Tyler I don't know if I would have been able to do all of the training I had gone through in the last 13 weeks. There were times marathon training was really really tough. So to have them there to see what I went through......I can't even describe how grateful I am to them!

I spent the rest of the day hanging out with family. I hit the hot tub, went to the after party that Richard Fanning put on and back to the hotel to have some beers with my brother, Aunt, Uncle and Kevin. It was such an amazing day! Than.........I woke up Sunday and felt like a little old lady walking around. The only thing that hurt were my quads, which is odd for me I am not sure I've ever really had just my quads hurt. It did make for an interesting day walking to the aquarium.

The best part about the trip was that we were all heading to Galveston for the next 7 days to just unwind and enjoy some family time. My nieces live in Ohio, my brother works a lot so we don't get to see him as much as we would like to, my aunt and uncle are always there to support and help me with the kids, and getting to spend a week of just family time with Kevin and my kids was just what I needed! I'm not going to say it was easy I WANTED to go out and run so badly every single day but I did a very good job just relaxing and recovering! We spent the week going to Moody gardens, playing on the beach, hanging out on the Strand, going to the space museum, the zoo and on my birthday I got my first facial during my morning at the spa. What a great week!

Now its time to be back home and get back in the swing of things. I'm very optimistic for 2012! As long as I can stay healthy and continue to train I think good things will come.


**going into the third 8 mile lap I hear my brother in law on the mega phone that he took from a race volunteer cheering for me. Telling me I looked good, keep it up we will see you at the finish! I was cracking up!!!!

**Colleen making the Team Wendy shirts. I came around at mile 9 and could just see my kids, Travis, Kevin, Aunt Machelle, Uncle James, Chris, Colleen, Addison and Samantha all in matching blue. It put a smile on my face when I girl in the pack said well there is your family!

**Not ever hitting the wall! The marathon really is a great race if you are prepared right! It's a testament to Scott and Renato's training. I could see people hitting the wall and fading but I was kicking along.

**Houston did an amazing job with the race! They really did show us great southern hospitality!

**Having my dad, Sandy, Sister, brothers, all of their spouses and kids there cheering me on. All the family kept me going!

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