It’s been some time since I’ve posted. I’ll blame that on my marathon training, my two jobs, and the rest of my life.
I ran my third marathon a few weekends ago. I was more than ready for it, feeling like I’ve been training all winter (yes, even in the snow). And of course, one week before the race I had to go see a doc about an annoying UTI. Her advice: take some antibiotics and cut back on the running, you’re not hydrating enough. Sorry doc, I have a marathon to run! I was in my taper already so there was not much of an impact. Then, of course, I get a nasty cold two days before the race. It never fails. I’ve been healthy as a horse on my Paleo wagon and then I get a cold. I refused to get sick. Race day I did my usual long run routine – baby food and an organic protein bar for breakfast. Some self-mixed Gatorade right before the race. The toughest part was standing out in the cold to use the ladies room before the gun. Brrrrr!! 45 degrees and a nasty wind blowing. I had the greatest support team ever though – my boyfriend and my parents. They rock!
The first mile was still cold and I was frustrated battling the crowd. I was looking forward to getting to the other side of the dam (we ran next to the river) and some sunshine. After about 2 miles I finally started to warm up. I also found a nice pace and was able to stick with it to the halfway mark. I was around a 9:20/mile time and I felt great. It sure got lonely after the turn for the full marathoners, though. Where did everyone go?
At about mile 16 the male winner of the race passed me. He was at mile 24 and still moving fast! Sheesh, if only I could run like that. Two more males passed and then the first female. She was not far behind at all, and I heard later she passed one of the men and ended up in third place overall. Ah, to run that fast for so long.
My pace slowed a bit after the turnaround at mile 19. We marathoners had to dodge walkers, bikers, toddlers, dogs, and everyone else on the greenbelt. Several people would try to stop us and ask what we were doing! Running a marathon, hello! I saw my boss at mile 20. The encouragement was so nice. Mile 21 and 22 were tough, I could feel my body slowing down. I had to keep pushing, though. At mile 23, the heat exhaustion started in. I was getting dizzy and my feet hurt. I did not want to walk any part of the race, but I also didn’t want to pass out. I finally figured there was no way I’d beat my previous marathon time (4:28) so I might as well save my body. Being sick in the days before the race were taking their toll. I ran/walked the last couple of miles. The temperature had risen by 30 degrees, it was now about 75. My body wanted the race over. My mind began wondering why I was doing this to myself, asking where is the reward? I told myself I should never run a marathon again.
The finish line was finally in sight and my boyfriend was there to cheer me on. So was Metallica’s “All Nightmare Long.” I tried to sprint my usual last burst across the finish line, but a cramp in my calf killed that. Then came the shock – I beat my time despite the last few miles’ struggle. My official time was 4:23:10.4. Amazing.
The heat exhaustion was setting in and luckily my boyfriend and parents were able to help me get to a vehicle. I needed rest and after a little nap, I felt great. Then I was kicking myself in the butt for not coming in even faster. If only I could have kept going at my pace throughout, I could have easily had a 4:15 finish. Oh well, that gives me motivation for my next marathon. You know there will be another one!