A race report from Niccole Crank – the SECOND OVERALL FEMALE at the Austin Marathon and a Team Rogue member!
I knew a few months ago that my dad had a few bibs for the Austin Marathon because he provided some parking at 9th and Congress to some marathon staffers. A little piece of me wanted to race it or at least run faster than I did in Portland. So the race has been whispering at me for a few months now. But I waited and waited to convince myself not to run. So I prayed about it on Wednesday trying to convince myself again not to race and something inside me kept telling me to go for it. I had some unfinished business to take care of here in Austin to give me a clean slate for racing in the future. Not only a clean slate for me, but for those who invest their time and energy into me and my running.
Running is a really amazing and mindboggling sport. It can destroy you or it can elevate your soul to levels you have never been before. For me racing is spiritual, personal, and it is in your face. It’s just beautiful if you let it be. Running a race literally is life in fast forward. It shows you your weaknesses and your strengths, it test your mind, your body, and your spirit. Sometimes when I run it is just me and God. He tests my faith and I choose to believe or not to believe. For me, racing in general, but especially the marathon, tests my beliefs to the core. I fall in love with running and with God every day, if I choose to.
Lately my spirit has been tested, it has been one of those weeks (one of those years really) where I have really thought about what I have not done in the past 10 years that I regret, and I have reaffirmed my faith, my hopes, my dreams. It has been like that for a lot of people this past year. This year has significance to me, my brother passed away 10 years ago last fall. In some ways I have been sitting on the sidelines of life for 10 years. I have a beautiful family that I have raised and am very honored and proud of, I am absolutely privileged and blessed to be their mom, but part of me has been on pause, so to speak for way too long. The past 2 years of running has been about revival and today was about redemption.
I ran for 3 reasons today. I ran for God, for my brother, and for redemption. Last fall I promised myself and God I would never give up on myself like I did running in college. If there comes a time again that others don’t believe in me I will still believe, and if not in myself then in God. The second is for my brother who passed away 10 years ago, I should have been running all this time and regret not doing so, and finally I run for redemption. Today I redeemed what should have been. To redeem is : to get or win back 2 : to free from what distresses or harms: as a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental .
My race today is for all the people in my life who told me I could not do something. Today I am Free.
So today I ran for redemption, I ran to prove to myself that I believe, that I commit, that I won’t give up, that I can do things that I am not sure I should be able to do, but I can if I just believe, even if believing is not logical. I hope today is just the beginning of many great races to come.
I have been accused of being reckless, out-of-control, lately uncoachable. So I agree it looks that way, hell maybe it is that way, but this last year was personal. I had some unfinished business I had to take care of. Now I am ready to train, I am a believer; A believer of Christ, of myself, of Rogue, of Sisson & his program. So today I am back on the playing field, I am back in the race of life. Game on!… or should I say toe up?!
So on to the race itself. I sort of told Steve of my revelation this morning about 2 minutes before I ran out the door at 6:45 am. Needless to say he was in shock (but was he really) everyone else figured I would race. I told him I would run 2:58-2:59 and I was going to place in the top 3 women. If you read my last race report you know I pray a lot before I race and Jesus and I agree on a running time. He even gives me an A and B time. Today it (Jesus’ time and plan) was to start behind the 3 hour group for 5 miles and slowly move up for a time of 2:58 or 2:55. Steve told me almost the same plan verbatim and warned me of the hills between mile 10-12 and told me to hold back a little until after mile 12-13.
So the gun or fireworks went off and I ran behind the 3 hour group for the first 3 miles uphill hitting 7:15, 6:45, 6:50. Then downhill for miles 3-6 hitting 6:35ish.
Around mile 6 I felt a pace emerge and decided to flow with it. We broke away from the 3 hour group and settled into a 6:45ish pace. At Mopac I solicited help from the guy next to me to open my gu. Hey ask and ye shall receive, my fingers were not working. I ate the gu over mile 9. I was a little unsure of my legs they were crampy from the 25 miles I ran last Saturday, the lunges on Sunday and Monday, and those Hills on Tuesday. Thank God the Gu and lots of frequent water stops loosened them up. I think I hit 6:45 and maybe 6:50 (uphill) a few times through mile 13. My mind and body did not know what would happen after 13.1 miles. For me past 13.1 in the 6 minute range is unchartered territory and I was unsure of what would happen. I reminded myself at mile 14 that I chose to believe I could run the prescribed 2:58 maybe even 2:55 time this race, so I kept believing and tried not to think about it too much. I just thought hey, this feels a lot better than the 6:24 half.
Luckily a guy hitting 6:45 ran up and paced me for the next 3-4 miles. Around mile 16 something happened I hit a water station and came out a new woman. From then on out I hit 6:30 give or take 5 seconds and Angie rode up beside me on her bi-cycle and paced me unknowingly the whole rest of the race. Thanks Angie!!!! I rocked out to my ipod until mile 20 where it died a slow motion death.
The sun came out and I felt under control. Every mile I thanked God for a great race. I waved at all the fans and thanked them. I pictured people yelling for me at the finish line, and I pictured the clock at 2:54:59. The motorcycle was in front of me and everyone kept telling me I was in second place, someone told me I was 30th like that was motivating. Many roads it was just me and a guy a hundred yards in front of me. This was all new to me so I just started picking off one guy at a time. I knew I had to negative split, my ipod was shot, and people were forgetting to cheer. Catching each person was keeping me going.
Angie rode me all the way down Duval and as I took off through campus I think I hit 6:15-6:20 for the last couple of miles. The last guy I passed at the Capitol almost had a heart attack when I ran up on him, I told him to “chill dude, I am a girl” and he seemed okay with that. That last hill was a pain, but running around the Capitol was not so bad – that downhill finish was awesome. I ran the first half in 1:29:30 and the second half in 1:26:09. The negative split was worth the strong finish, and I crossed the finish line in an out of body experience of 2:55:25, and a second place overall womens finish. Goal Achieved.
Sweet Redemption. Sweet time. Sweet Run. Thanks Austin! Thanks Steve! Thanks Rogues! Thanks Jesus!