For Molly and me, the Race for the Roses was dang near perfect from the weather (34 degrees and sunny at the start) to the outcome (she ran 1:56:54 and I crossed the finish line 14 seconds later). Here are the elements that cemented our strong finish (Molly’s first sub-2:00 half—and a PR by nearly 6 minutes. Woot-hoot: Give it up for Molly!):
Tunes: Our playlist was--wait as I contort to pat myself on the back--spot on. The opening song, Brendan James’ “The Lucky Ones,” set the ideal pitch for the race. The refrain, “This moment is yours,/This moment is mine,/And we’re gonna be fine,” got me a bit choked up as we scurried across the Broadway Bridge. Then, near mile 4 and about halfway up a long climb when I was doubting my ability to lead our charge, Katy Perry started singing, “Teenage Dream” in my ear. Game back on! Toward mile 12, after struggling mentally for about a mile, back-to-back Black Eyed Peas and Enrique Inglesias rekindled the fire under my feet.
Camaraderie: Molly’s pre-race excitement was infectious. By Saturday, I couldn’t remember how I ever got hopped up for a race by myself. Instead of fretting about the exertion, I simply looked forward to being by Molly’s side and helping her reach her goal. Making the race be about her did wonders for me. And along the way we bonded with a RLAM fan I first met the day before the 2010 Nike Women’s Marathon, Linda Williams. We passed her going up the long hill, but when we stopped for a GU at the top, she must have zipped past us. Lead by Linda, the three of us staged an impromptu dance party in a downtown intersection around mile 6. As I congratulated Linda on a strong race so far, she said, “I better enjoy it now as I’ll flame out by the end.” Wrong! Despite us trying to gain on her in the final 5K, she finished a near full minute ahead of me, a PR for her. (Woot-hoot: Raise your hands in the air for Linda now!!)
Matching outfits: Okay, so the race had very few spectators, but the few there were loved our look! One diehard fan (perhaps a TNT volunteer?), who we passed twice during the race, yelled out, “Go, twins!” For this actual mom of twins, it got me going—and laughing. I was able to see us through her eyes: Suddenly we were, “those gals in matching outfits.” It was a label I never thought I’d wear…but it sure felt comfy. Like I could get used to it. (Watch out Rock n Roll Nashville, here come the dynamic-matching duo of Sarah and Dimity!!)
Sense of humor: One of the many reasons I love Molly is her quirky wit. My laughing muscles had been primed at the pump by some eps of "Modern Family" the night before, so Molly and I traded a few favorite scenes while waiting at the start line. (Like Cameron introducing Lily to Mitchell’s family to the strains of, “Circle of Life.” Perfection!) We kept it going during the first few miles, recounting great lines. We segued into quips about places we were passing. Me pointing at main post office and asking Molly if she needed any stamps—and her funnier retort, “No, but I need to get my passport renewed.” As we all know, jokes are 10x funnier in the moment, while exercising, than recounted later, so I’ll spare you the rest.
A little healthy competition: Maybe I’m projecting and getting all Type A on this one, but I sensed Molly gained confidence—and pride—by keeping up with me. It was ideal: I felt like I was setting the pace, but I rarely, if ever, felt like I was pulling her along. (Okay, maybe near mile 8.5…) Molly had run the race twice before so she was more familiar with the course, especially the final miles. I could feel myself flagging, but my tunes near mile 12 helped. Then a steady climb up a bridge on-ramp proved a little too much for me. Molly got a few steps ahead of me, and a simple, “Go for it, Mol” was all she needed to cruise up and away. I tried to catch her when it flattened out, but I ran out of time—the finish line was right around the corner. We agreed (maybe for the sake of my oversized sports ego!) that if there’d been another half-mile, I would have caught up with her. Instead she finished 14 seconds ahead of me—and I couldn’t be more thrilled.