***Public Service Announcement***
Be sure and check out the post I wrote for Samantha over at Elah Tree:
Here's the truth: training wore me out this time around, and my heart just wasn't in it.
I'd probably give myself a B- for effort. One weekend I skipped a 15-mile long run for no other reason than because I didn't feel like it. And I didn't even make it up later! I just sat on my butt all day and didn't go running. I didn't even feel bad about it.
All that to say, going into this race, I was not nearly as mentally or physically prepared as I was for my first marathon in April. Based on the training and overall mental preparation, my goals were as such:
Good: 4:30 or under
Great: 4:20 or under
Awesome: PR (4:14 or under) and/or place in the top three of my age group (<--this was a possibility because it was a smaller race with less than 200 total marathon participants)
As I think back on the race, for me it breaks down into four mileage chunks.
1. Miles 1-14
These were pretty easy. I kept a 9:45 average and kind of just enjoyed the day. The weather was beautiful. A runner's dream, really. The temp started out in the 20s but very soon rose into the 40s. I had elected to not wear my Old Navy compression tights knowing the temperatures would rise throughout the day, and this was a VERY good decision (thanks for the advice, Dad!).
2. Miles 15-20
During these miles I sped up to around a 9:20-9:15 average. The pace felt good, and I started to do mental math, realizing that I actually did have a shot at a PR if I could keep up this pace. I kept waiting to hit The Wall but was still feeling very strong overall. I actually had to hold myself back a few times from pacing in the high 8s!
3. Miles 21-24
This is where my training (or lack thereof) came back to haunt me. These miles were extremely difficult. You would think that after running 22 miles, a measly 3 wouldn't seem too terrible, but during these miles I honestly wondered if I would ever be able to stop running. All I wanted was to stop running.
The finish seemed so far away, and there was actually a straightaway where I ran with my eyes closed for a bit because I couldn't bear to look ahead and see the long road stretching out before me. Obviously running with your eyes closed is not an idea I would recommend to anyone, but it was almost like that feeling you get when you're so tired, and your eyelids seem to close on their own.
I think the photographer took this picture during that time. I love my face. I'm like, How dare you take pictures of me!!!!
4. Mile 25-26.2
I hit mile 25 and wanted to be done so bad. My dad was so encouraging at this point and kept telling me I was almost finished and just to give it everything I had. He yelled, "I'll see you at the finish!" as he sprinted off. My mom and brother were there cheering for me too, and I really don't know if I could have done this without them. It's pretty boring to stand around for half a day watching people run, but if you're a runner, you know how much it means to have family and friends come out and cheer you on.
This helped give me a much-needed boost, and I tried to pump my arms and pick up my legs as much as I could. Thankfully, mile 25 went by quickly, and soon I saw the 26-mile marker. My dad got a sweet picture (see below) as I sprinted to the finish.
Once I was finished, I lay on the ground and thought I was going to throw up. I was legitimately surprised to be finished! I know that sounds weird, but there were a few times during the race when I honestly did not think I would ever get to the finish line. I was just so happy to be not running anymore! I felt nauseous most of the day, which did not happen during the OKC marathon, and overall I felt much worse.
* * *Now, I know not all races are equal. Some go better than others, some feel easier or harder or whatever, but I think my marathon days are over for now. Maybe if a friend decides to run one with me, or if I can save up enough to run the Chicago marathon one day (that sucker is $175!), but in 2014 I'm sticking to 10ks and half marathons. And I'm already signed up to run a 5k with my mom in April!
I'm so glad I tackled the full 26.2 in 2013--and twice no less!--but during this race I realized that while I love running, I don't love the marathon distance. It's hard and long, and it's just not fun for me.
I don't write this to scare you off from doing a marathon. Heck, who knows? Maybe you'll love it. But I guess what I'm trying to say to all of my runner friends out there is that it's okay if you prefer one distance over another. That's one thing I like about running: there's a distance for everyone. You don't have to like them all, and you don't even have to complete them all to call yourself a runner.
Running these two marathons this year was no doubt one of the best things I've ever done, and I don't regret one minute I spent at those races. Maybe some day I'll run one again, but for now, I'll hang my 2 marathon medals up and wear my shirts proudly...
...and then go sign up for my next half marathon.
Official chip time: 4:15:57
Average pace: 9:46
Age group placement: 4/15 <--
[I was a little bummed. So close!]
[I was a little bummed. So close!]