Groovy Girls Go …….. For Chocolatey Goodness

Sometimes plans just fall into place, even when they aren’t what you planned.

 

Ashley and I at the start of the Cocoa Classic in Detroit

Ashley and I at the start of the Cocoa Classic in Detroit

As we came down the stairs leading to the Detroit Riverwalk I was nearly stopped in my tracks by the beauty. Luckily, it only took my breathe away for a second. The sun was a firey red ball shooting out across the water; spraying it’s flames across the brilliantly crisp blue sky, coloring the skyline of the D with brilliant shades of reds and golds.

Look at that sunrise...a Calm Belle Isle here we come!

Look at that sunrise…a Calm Belle Isle here we come!

The colors were flashing off of the calm Detroit River and just added to the excitement of the run.

Running into that gorgeous sunrise on the Detroit Riverwalk

Running into that gorgeous sunrise on the Detroit Riverwalk

The run was a hip start, positive happy people eager to trek the 13.1 miles to the finish line chocolately goodness. It was about this point that I started to settle into my breathing and knew I was falling in love with this day. I had ‘bumped’ into some running-fast-boy-friends in the coral and now was going to do what I do…..chase them.

This guy is the real - deal....I'm just hanging on

This guy is the real – deal….I’m just hanging on

I didn’t realize that the pace was outside of anything I had ever run for that distance…..I didn’t know that until the end, but I was pretty certain I was moving my Tulley Toes lickety-quick in the hopes of keeping up for as long as I could.

I wouldn't be behind her at the finish.

I wouldn’t be behind her at the finish.

As we hit Belle Isle I was in love with the run. The day was becoming what every runner dreams of. Friendly water stations, a few clever posters along the way, company that was encouraging and pushing just the right amount, good clothing choice, great pace, and chocolate at the finish line………..and then in all things ‘Tulley” I dropped my fuel. I had but a split second to decide if I was going to pick them up or leave them behind. I knew I was running faster than planned, knew there wasn’t going to be anything else on the course and there was still a long ways to go……..so I turned around to grab them.

The stairs people are talking about and the Beans I am talking about....

The stairs people are talking about and the Beans I am talking about….

I had been running with the group and they kept going. I was now in a position where I could just run my own pace or I could get my Toes back up in line with theirs. I wasn’t willing to let this great day go down in flames and so I chose to go after them.

It took me a miles of an even faster gear to catch back up with the girl in Red. I’m not sure I would have been as eager to go after them until I heard a friend in the crowd call out my name, and then she called out that I was fourth female over-all. Memories flashed back of taking fourth to a girl that had drafter off of me in a half back in November. I had already told that story so figured I had best put some pep-in-my-step and go get ‘um. I had myself convinced that the cocoa would taste all that much better sporting a third place finish!

riverwalk cocoa

It took me a mile to make up the ground I had lost. I made sure to use some of my Sports Beans. I figured if I was having to work this hard on their behalf I had best use them. I felt good coming up on them, but I knew I had expended quite a bit of energy in doing so. I was still having fun, despite working hard so I knew that no matter what the last couple of miles had in store, I was pleased with the day’s efforts.

...just keep going...Chocolate up ahead....

…just keep going…Chocolate up ahead….

I felt strong going around ‘the girl in red’ but I knew that she was a strong competitor. All morning long I had gained a few steps and she would catch right up. She had been on my heels the whole moring and I didn’t think the last three miles would be any different.

cocoa game face

I was fortunate to put a little distance between us. The course designer put a bit of a hill with a mile left to go. I was giving it my all at this point, but again, did what I do best! I Billy-Goated up that hill and figured I would re-evaluate how I felt after getting up that last hill. I was spent, and didn’t know if I was going to keep the girl from going around me.

Today I had it.

Today I had it.

The guy I had spent the morning chasing looked over and encouraged me to “let’s push in under sixes” I think that was when I dry-heaved for the first time 😉 I was on his heels up until the last 800 but I never lost site until he turned the corner to the finish.

“Hold On Tulley – Find a Gear – Push Through – Team Tulley Never Gives Up” it all played in my head until I heard my name bellowed from the crowd. I’ve run long enough to know what it meant…..my Indiana Girl was finding a new gear and I wasn’t going in to that shoot behind her at this point. I know a crowd loves a ‘come-from-behind’ but in that moment I found my own gear and I found a new stride and for a moment felt strong for the moment.

.......my best half marathon time eva'

…….my best half marathon time eva’

That is up until about the last 20 yeards when I started to drive heave…..and so it goes…….everything I had left was literally left out on the course……….I waited at the line for Indiana to come in. She made my day, her determination fueled me while my friend kept me pushing forward in a way I had never done and never knew I could. I’ve never ran that fast for that long. It Was A Lot of Fun! I think I’ll do it again!

 

Groovy Girls Go …….. Faster For Longer Than They Ever Thought They Could

Kacey

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