Today has been quite the day, and I am simply exhausted. Today was supposed to be the day I ran my first marathon, today was the day I started training for back on January 23, today was supposed to be my day. But we don’t always get what we want, sometimes we get what we need. I guess what I needed was to learn some things.
First things first, let me explain why I wasn’t running the marathon today. After I started running in January my friend Chuck decided to start running in April. He was really good, a natural. I told him he should also do the marathon. He told me that he wouldn’t be ready for a marathon this year. Come June he asked me about doing a half-marathon. He would do it if I would do it. So I said sure…my training plan called for 16 miles that weekend. I figured the half would be my training run. Little did I know it was going to be more than that. It was one of the best things I have ever done, and it was an amazing experience. More importantly I learned that I would not have been ready to do a marathon just three months later. That was the first reason I wasn’t running the marathon today. The second…it filled up before I registered for it. Both of these turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Although I ran the half with no injuries, pains, hurting whatsoever my first run after the half I found my knee in pain. I couldn’t even make 2.5 miles. It was my IT band and it hurt.
Since I was out of the marathon I entered the 10 mile lottery, and got a spot. Only problem was I wasn’t really able to train because my IT band condition was pretty severe. Luckily I was only out of commission for three weeks. A lot of foam rolling, icing, and stretching. I got back to running around August 25, which left me about five weeks to get back up to 10 miles. My longest training run ended up being seven miles.
I had reservations going into this run, I even questioned whether I should do it as my IT band was still tight and rubbing on my knee. I had already paid for this and I couldn’t fathom the idea of not starting. I figured a “Did Not Finish” was better than a “Did Not Start.” Worst case scenario if I had to drop out due to injury this would be a training run, and that is exactly what it turned out to be. I didn’t have to drop out, but it was a disappointing run for me. On the bright side I learned a lot for future runs, hence, this was a training run.
The morning started out cold, it was about 43 degrees when I left the house. This doesn’t bode well for someone who is always cold. I did have a sweatshirt on, but thinking maybe I should have had something to keep my legs warm. It also didn’t help I had to wait outside for 25 minutes for the train. I probably would have been better off walking…it would have kept me warm and it could have served as a warm-up. Since my biggest stressor is having to use the bathroom I went once in the dome, and then decided to get in line at the porta-potties. Of course, I got in the line that was moving the slowest. This was a good idea, but I should have utilized my time in line. I never really got a chance to stretch, especially my calves so I wouldn’t get shin splits. Even though I was in the 5th and last corral we were already moving by the time I got out of the bathroom. I hadn’t adjusted my fuel belt, hadn’t got my headphones ready, and the worst part hadn’t started my Garmin. I forgot the damn thing needed to search for satellites. This has never taken long before, but it did today. I was trying to stall going over the starting line until it started but that didn’t happen. There were only two people who crossed the start line after me! My Garmin wasn’t ready until about .21 miles in, which really frustrated me.
Now, my half-marathon pace was 13:31 min/mile. I hadn’t done a lot of training for this run so although my pace should have been faster since it was a shorter run I was hoping to at least have this pace again. Ideally, I would have liked to shave 10-30 seconds off this pace. Unfortunately, my pace ended up slower than my half-marathon pace…13:40 min/mile. Because my Garmin wasn’t working right away I went out way too fast. When the Garmin starting working I was at 12:25 min/mile pace, and I probably should have been around a 14:00 min/mile pace. Between my too fast pace, the cold, and no stretching I had shin splits right away. I think they went away around mile three, but I had to stop two to three times before then to stretch. I also did a lot of walking. Although I was already sweating by this point my body was still really cold. My fingers were almost numb, I probably should have worn some gloves. Between miles three and seven, there were a couple of times I got into a nice groove and felt great while I was running. I still did more walking than I would have liked. By mile seven I could feel my IT band rubbing on my knee, but I was determined I was going to run the last three miles. By mile eight the IT band was bothering my hip as well. I still continued to run. I walked at a water stop, and then at the very last hill. I was determined to run the last mile and finish strong. When I got into the corral to the finish I ran as fast as I could, my last mile was 12:09 min/mile! I was determined to pass the people that were a bit of a ways in front of me, and I DID! I was so happy to be done! I didn’t feel the exhilaration that I experienced when I finished the half. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have anyone there to share it with. My mom, cheerleader, and best friend was at home sick. I had the computer set up so she could watch a live stream of the finish. Shortly after I finished my phone was ringing and it was her calling to tell me she saw me finish, and that I looked strong. That phone call was a nice surprise!
This run was so different than the half. Because I immediately was having issues I felt defeated. I knew I wasn’t going to quit, but I ended up walking more than I wanted to, probably more than I did in the half. Another lesson learned was that I need a plan. This run was haphazard. I ran when I felt like it, and walked when I wanted to. I like a plan. I like having a schedule. I just hadn’t committed to anything before the race began, and my pace reflects that. With that being said, I am proud that I finished and that I finished strong. I learned lessons that will make the next race better. We don’t always get what we want, we get what we need. I had lessons to learn so that my next race can be just as awesome as my first.
Bed is going to feel amazing tonight. Immediately after finishing the run I changed and ran to the finish line to get a spot to watch a couple of my friends finish the marathon. I never sat down. In fact, I didn’t even eat anything. By the time I finally sat down, I had run 10 miles and been on my feet for seven hours!
It was pretty cool to watch the elite runners; the women who finished fast enough to qualify for Olympic trials; and all the other awesome, inspiring runners out there. I am so proud of all of them. Right now 26.2 seems so daunting. I know I will conquer it one day, but am thinking I would like to cherish some more halves and 10 milers before I tackle 26.2. I’d like to have some victories and successes under my belt that I can draw on when the going gets tough. I need to get to the point where I can comfortably run and enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
I got a cool lime green finisher’s shirt, and an awesome finisher’s medal!
Front of the medal:
Back of the medal:
Now I need to decide if I want to do the Monster Dash half-marathon on October 29. It sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun. I love Halloween and some people will be running in costume!