And if she had to die tryin’ she had one little promise she was gonna keep…

Great pack while it lasted! Beginning of race, mile 5

*short version*- I qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials yesterday at the PF Changs Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon. To qualify, women need to run a sub 2:46 marathon which is a 6:20 per mile pace for 26.2 miles. I ran a 2:45:35 which is a 6:19 per mile pace, I just made it! No, this does NOT put me in the Olympics. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next January, I will go to Houston with about 150 other females from across the country to vie to finish in the top 3 during a 26.2 mile race. Details here. Those 3 will go to the Olympics in London. I have no grand illusions of making the team, I am just so proud to be given the chance to compete with elite runners! It will be SO amazing!

Oh yeah, I was 5th (!!!!) overall female, second place in my age group. Results. My age grade is 82% and it was the top 5 of us gals that qualified for the Olympic Trials yesterday.ย  Awesome.

Long version: Ok, so maybe this is a tad overkill..but I have been waiting for MONTHS to write this post! The title for this post is from “American Girl” and it encompasses how I felt about qualifying for the trials. Not literally of course, but I wanted this so badly and I knew I could do it. When I was running on Sunday, nothing was getting in the way of this goal. Nothing.

Sunday started off great. I didn’t really sleep Saturday night at all, but I was ready to go in the morning. I ate my rice mixture and 2 scoops of Heed electrolyte drink for a 600 calorie breakfast. I know this is SO bad for us runners, but I actually deviated from the breakfast I had been practicing with at the last minute. I usually have Perpetuem instead of Heed, but my instinct in the morning was telling me to just have the electrolyte drink. Something was telling me that the Perpetuem was going to be hard to digest. So I went with my ‘gut’ (haha) feeling and it worked like a charm. This is the first race *ever* I have not had ANY stomach problems before, during, or after the race. It was amazing. I felt amazing and was thanking God over and over again while running. Seriously, you have no idea how much my stomach is a stressor for me and to have everything work perfect… I was so thankful!

Anywho, Gina Slaby (Who took second place!!!) and her husband Steve stayed with us, so Matt dropped us off at the elite busses at 6am. We got to the museum where they were letting us stay warm, went to the restroom, changed shoes, etc. By the time we got to the start line, I think we had *maybe* 3 minutes to warm up. Oh well!

The weather was perfect. The sun didn’t come out until after we finished. I was able to run the first 10 with Gina and then she took off, she was amazing! I ran up to mile 20 or so with 2 other wonderful gals. It was so nice to run with them. It makes all the difference, I swear! At mile 20, I was about 2 minutes early for a projected 2:46 finish. At this point I was running on my own. I found the wind to be not so bad, just bad enough to be annoying! I started to falter big time here. I positive split the course by over 3 minutes (oops..) Looking at my splits I didn’t do so bad, but I definitely need to work on that!

Loved this teamwork!!

Sally looking strong as ever. She is a machine. Seriously.

My new friends Gina and Steve leading the way to a great race!! Go Navy!

Still working together, feeling great!

DK going sub 2:55 on little training after injury. Awesome!

JT coming through Mile 19ish. He is superfast.

Another Bandido Brett, also superfast.

and me!

Alanna going on to finish in 3:02- yeah, a 12 minute PR!! Amazing!

Niece and Nephews, best cheering section *ever* :)

How awesome is that????

Mile 22-starting to fade big time!

I just had to finish.. 4 more miles

As I came into ASU towards the finish, I knew I had slowed but I had been totally out of it and not looking at my watch. I had a feeling it was going to be close. I will tell you what, there was no better feeling than seeing 2:45 still on the clock. I ran in as fast as my legs could carry me! Everything around me was like white noise. It was truly surreal.ย  After almost a year of working up to this goal, after sacrificing so much time, energy, and sleep to get here, I was about to accomplish my goal. One that was absolutely unfathomable to me when I first started running. I tried to cry, I envisioned myself crying but I was honestly in shock. I had no moisture left in me for tears to come out!

Brett wrapping me up. Those 2 fast fellas were waiting for me and it was so awesome to see them as I ran across the finish line! Go Bandidos!

So, get this.ย  PFย  Changs Rock and Roll Arizona was my very first marathon. I ran it in 2008 with a time of 4:36:xx. Yesterday was my second time on this course and I took an hour and 50 minutes off of that! I know that this was where I was meant to Olympic Trials qualify. God had a plan for me and Chicago was not it. I will tell you what, I don’t think qualifying in Chicago would have been half as gratifying as qualifying on my home roads, with my friends and family out there. I also had a lot of weird ‘signs’ that I was going to Olympic Trials qualify yesterday. Fun stuff!

I tried to cry, but I had no water left in me for tears!!

SO HAPPY!!!

My better half and I. I am so lucky to have him.

Winner and hometown gal Sally Meyerhoff and I. She seriously rocks.

Gina and I. She went on to place second!! You go girl!!!!

Post-race with Jeff Metcalfe.

Time to face the music: My splits, not the smartest way to run a race but it got the job done for yesterday.

Mile 1- 6:13

2- 6:19

3- 6:06

4- 6:15ish- mile marker off so I had to mess with the lap button

5- 6:14

6- 6:11

7- 6:13 Honey Stinger Gel #1

8- 6:15

9- 6:12

10-6:17

11- 6:25

12- 6:13

13- 6:11 Honey Stinger Gel #2

14- 6:21

15- 6:18

16- 6:28 (!!)

17- 6:29 (!!)

18- 6:23 PowerBar Gel w/ caffeine

19- 6:15 Hammer Heed

20- 6:17

21- 6:23

22- 6:26 Honey Stinger Gel #4, Hammer Heed in my bottle. Electrolytes never tasted so good.

23- 6:24

24- 6:28 (OH NO!!!!)

25- 6:28 (ugh…facing the music is rough)

26- 6:23

I am hoping I sprinted the last .2, I forgot to stop my timer at the end, so I have no clue what that part was. Those are some ugly splits at the end and I know now what to work on for Boston! I just eeked in there, man!

The good: I stayed positive from the get-go. I knew this was my day. I had total belief in myself. That is one thing the great Susan Loken always tells me. You have to believe. I used my positive mantras throughout the race and towards the end all I kept thinking over and over was “You can, you will” I never had to stop, my stomach felt great, it was just an amazing day.

In closing, can I tell you how lucky I am? I have the most amazing, supportive husband who drove around to see me 5 times on the course and puts up with this craziness on a day-to-day basis! I love you BooBear! I have amazing in-laws who came with 4 kids and a puppy in tow to see me. That was just so special to me. I have an amazing coach who never stopped believing in me and always challenges me to push myself to be the best athlete I can be. Thank you John! I have the most supportive friends and running group, the Bandidos. There were times I saw them on the course and I started to tear up because I just felt so lucky to have them in my life and there they were supporting me as they have throughout my training. Love you guys.ย  Thank you also to my DM friends who have never stopped checking in with me and encouraged me throughout. ((hugs))

It was the hardest thing I have ever done, it is definitely a day I will remember forever.

Next up? Perhaps a race that starts with ‘B’ and ends with “ahhston”

12 Comments

  1. How I love and enjoy reading your post race coverage! What I see in those splits is courage and grit. Keeping it together when the wheels get shaky near the end of a marathon is a great accomplishment. That is the part that should make you MOST proud! Yes, you have learned what you have to work on next. But you have learned something else that is timeless and valuable about yourself: you are a champion!

  2. You are the best Ariana! What an inspiration and the true meaning of believing in yourself and what you can accomplish! I am lucky to know you!

  3. You are AMAZING!! Kirk and I looked up the results yesterday and were so happy for you that you finished 5th!!! And even 36th overall!! You ROCK!

  4. Thank you Ron, Amy, and Taylors!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate your support for me!!! I am lucky to have YOU all in MY life!

  5. Congratulations!! That is so great, you definitely deserve it! You may not have cried, but I did reading your post!! You are an inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Ariana, congratulations! I saw your name in 5th when I was looking at the results and immediately came to your blog to read your recap! So happy for you!

  7. Was reading an AZ race recap and saw your story highlighted- unreal that youโ€™ve gone from a 4:36 to a 2:45 in 3 years- thatโ€™s inspiring stuff!!!! Personally, Iโ€™m trying to drop a 3:40 marathon time to a 3:10 and qualify for Boston… I ended up missing a BQ by a lousy 9 seconds on Sunday!!! However, reading your blogs (which are very well done), makes me think I can push myself to train harder and get this thing done!!! Best of luck @ the Olympic Trials- youโ€™ll do great!

  8. Thank you so much Jenny, Hannah, and Mike! ๐Ÿ™‚ Mike, you Can do it, you WILL do it!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you have a next race picked out?

  9. Wow. This brought tears to my eyes, Ariana! God’s plan was cyrstal clear for you and you knew it….it took you a little bit longer than your plan, but remember, His plan is impeccable! I have NO doubt that God has sooooooo much more in store for you! You are such an inspiration. And to see that your first marathon to that…..just amazing!!!! Congratulations again!

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  11. I can’t tell you how excited I (and we) all were when we heard the news!! I met up with a bunch of people over at the XYZ family reunion and the first thing everybody wants to know is how Ariana did! These are mostly (I think) people like me who know you, but don’t know you. It was special. Kind of made us all proud for sure. And me, old man losing my you know, started to get some stinkin’ wetness in my eyes even… geesh… why you wanna’ do that to me….. :-). Said it before, you were blessed with something special, but this only came from effort and earning every bit of that run

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