(Sorry, but it was a big deal for me, so this is stuff I don’t want to forget).
It surprised me to realize that most of “A Marathon” is the training. You sacrifice a lot to just train for the marathon. I ran 20-35 miles a week for 16 weeks. (No, Tammy, no weight loss—I put on a few pounds, but so did the rest of my training friends, so I didn’t feel too lame.) I loved my Less-Is-More training plan and will use it again. I also realized by the time I did my first 20 miler that I had trained my body to do that. It wasn’t scary or hard, because I was so thoroughly prepared, physically and mentally.
The night before:
We met to pick up our race packets and carb-load at Olive Garden. I think 80% of our conversation was about the marathon. We started annoying even ourselves.
I had a little meltdown the night before (I think nerves finally caught up with me) when I couldn’t find my banana and my Glide (a lubricant that prevents chafing). I was in tears so Ryan went and got the banana and I woke up Jane (cleaned out the car and loser of the Glide) and she found it for me.
The morning of:
I slept all right during the night and because we have such an early sunrise around here, I was up and getting ready at 5:00 am. I ate a banana (phew!) and a yogurt and drank a few cups of water. I put on the exact same outfit I’d done my last 6 runs in and we started picking up the marathoners.
To finish in under 4 hours and 15 minutes—roughly a 9:40 minute mile pace. This was the pace I’d consistently trained at.
I had let everyone know that I wanted to run my own race—I wanted to see exactly how fast I could go all by myself. I was surprised with my fast starting pace (8:45), but decided to just run as long as it felt good.
It felt good for a long time. I realized at about mile 8 that I could actually do the marathon in under 4 hours, because I was feeling that good. I realized I’d have to make a decision: take it easy and have a fun marathon or push hard and see what my body would do. I chose option 2.
The cheering squad:
Ryan and the other husbands and all our kids were at about 5 points along the course with signs and cheers. It was such a thrill to have them there!
The good miles:
Miles 6-15 felt really good. I had my music on and it was a gorgeous day and we were running by the river. I felt strong and fast.
The bad miles:
Anything after 18. I was surprised by how difficult it started to be. I’d run a 22 miler pre-race and it hadn’t been hard (but that had been at a 10 minute mile pace). I was pushing myself really hard and my legs were feeling it. I had no injuries or pain ( no out-of-the-ordinary-for-running-for-3 -hours pain, at least), but my thighs just hadn’t worked that hard—EVER.
I got through them with the help of music, thoughts of people I know who have toughed out real life challenges and a half mile pep talk from Ryan (he ran alongside for a while).
A little anti-climactic, I must say. I realized at mile 23 that I couldn’t quite do a sub-4 marathon time, unless I pushed out 9 minute miles, and I just didn’t have it in me. I gave myself permission to NOT feel bad about that (hello, I still beat my personal goal by 13 minutes) and just finished at whatever pace I could muster.
Ryan had trouble parking and didn’t get there in time for the finish, but that was TOTALLY okay, as he’d been there at mile 7, 11, 14, 18, and 21. There were no cheers as I crossed the line, but I was so glad to be done, I didn’t really mind. I felt good about my time, for sure.
Brutal! I could barely walk (no exaggeration) Saturday and Sunday and was super sore Monday and Tuesday as well as extra exhausted. I ran 2-3 miles today and I felt like I had rocks for legs! I need to figure out how to recover better next time.
Totally. I’m going to take a break for the rest of the year, but I’m thinking of doing this one again or (more probably) one of the fall Utah races. Anyone up for doing it with me?
What I gained:
A greater appreciation for a husband that not only supports but has been there. He has said the sweetest things and put up with all my Me-ness for the last week.
More muscles for sure.
That cleansing, cathartic, endorphin driven high that only comes from 10+ mile runs. They are addicting.
An understanding that you can absolutely make your body do almost anything you ask it to. That feels so empowering.
Yay for me!