SMACK! Media Race Report By Morgan
When I asked Eli about her goals before last Sunday’s rock n Roll San Diego Marathon, she coyly stated, “3:45 would be a DREAM,” but that her husband/coach Matt thought she could run faster. An hour later I received a cryptic e-mail from Matt that had a subject line reading “3:38.″–that’s it – blank email, nothing else. I kept my mouth shut and gave Eli the normal advice you give to a normal nervous marathoner (because normal marathoners are nervous), “Relax, have fun and put your feet up!”
On race day Matt e-mailed me constant updates of Eli’s progress. She got off to a quick start, which may signal danger to the average runner, but Eli is nowhere near average. Eli is a competitor with as much drive and heart as a 6 foot tall Kenyan, even though she barely clears 5’1 without her platform shoes she’s always strutting around in. Starting out fast is her fail-proof strategy, judging by the 3 PR’s she’s set in the half marathon in the last year!
Being a crazy runner myself, I drove down to the finish line area at Sea World to attempt to run the course backwards and find Eli! Runners and spectators pointed and yelled, “You’re going the wrong way!” but I barely heard them on my mission to find Eli. I left my iPhone on camera so it would be ready to take a lucrative photo of Eli racing (can you believe she has no race photos?). Three miles into my backwards run I spotted a fierce looking woman wearing purple, headphones on and head turned towards the ground in sheer determination.
She looked up and I jumped up and down, pointed the camera and click…
The picture was victory enough, but the ladies of SMACK! Media care far more about racing and testing ourselves than just looking good (although we always do look good)! Just before mile 24, Eli gasped, “How long can you stay?” and I assured her I could make it the entire 2.2 miles. She smiled, plugged in her head phones and buckled down. She passed runners right and left, took water at the aid stations like a pro and never once gave any sign of pain (seriously she is a beast)! I had no clue what her time would be as the clocks did not match the chip time from Eli’s start wave, but the clock at mile 25 read 3:31 so I knew she was in for a massive personal best (her previous PR was 3:49 from the Miami Marathon in 2001…yep…11 years ago).
Mile 26 approached and I let her lose to hopefully out-sprint the guy who ran up on her right shoulder.
Post-race Eli called to tell me the final race report–3:38:14! That’s a massive PR (eleven minutes), a Boston Qualifier and just ridiculous that Matt predicted her time dead on (amazing)!
Eli is stoked on the marathon, and running in general, while she enjoys her recovery alongside her two beautiful boys.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to run with someone at the end of their marathon I highly recommend it! Helping a friend reach their goal, even in a tiny way, is super rewarding! The energy of the crowds, the thousands of people running and your friends reaching their goals is enough energy and motivation to get you excited about your next racing or training goal (even if you don’t have one yet)!
What’s your next race or training goal? The SMACKANISTAS love to hear what inspires you to train each day!