I am officially a marathoner! Yay! I survived a full 26.2 miles and am still alive to talk about it! I have a bruised foot and two purple toes to prove it, but it was still worth every second!
For anyone who has been following this blog at all, or anyone who scrolls down, its obvious that my last month of training left a lot to be desired. A lot! I got shin splints about 6 weeks out and that completely killed me mentally. I doubted myself like crazy. I made up excuses like it was my career. It was bad. I am really glad for the Bear Water Run (20 mile “race”) because it gave me a huge morale boost! I ran 20 miles and I survived, whats another 6.2 miles…right?
Now there were a few short runs in the last two weeks that I didn’t even bother logging, so I did run a bit between the 20 mile and the marathon, but not much. Needless to say I was a bit scared going into the marathon. I was concerned about my ability to survive and to push through the whole thing, I probably should have been more concerned about the odd pain in my foot from my last logged run – 2.54 miles. Its this foot pain that killed my marathon, or at least the first half.
I started out with a runner friend from High School, Heather, her mom, Terry, and our cross country coach from High School, Renee. Terry and Renee had run the TCM before but Heather and I were both virgins to the marathon. Heather has always been faster and more mentally prepared than me, even in HS cross country and I told her before the marathon that she had no obligation to stick with me. I managed to lose her in the first mile. Go figure. I ran over to the side to ditch my throw away sweatshirt and then we turned down a road that had “bike lane” poles every kept running into. I lost her there as we went separate ways to avoid the poles. But she did amazing and either way I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with her!
In the first six steps of the marathon my foot started to scream at me! There was/is something going on with the tendon and/or nerve on the top right side of my right foot. Every time I stepped I would get a pain in the top of my foot. A few times I got the stabbing pain that literally had me hopping. Not a great way to start a marathon! By mile three I had pretty much given up on myself. I told myself I didn’t need the medal or the tshirt, I convinced myself I could write off the $101 registration fee as a charitable donation or some sort, I was ready to be done. Heather’s brother, Rob, was volunteering at the mile 5 water stop and I was completely prepared to beg him to let me quit and have him give me a ride back to the hotel. Lucky (unlucky at the time) for me I didn’t see him at mile 5! The next time I was expecting to see anyone I knew was around the half way point. I spent the next 5 miles in a huge mental battle!
I kept reminding myself what I had said to Heather at the start line. I excitedly told her that we were about to become marathoners. Her response was something like “not yet, we have to finish first”. I kept telling myself that this wasn’t just about the tshirt and medal, this was about being able to say I ran a marathon. Who cares how fast I ran, this was about finishing! This was about getting through it all. Around mile 11 I finally convinced myself that I didn’t care when I finished as long as it was before the sweeper! Just after mile 12 I took a bio break and I was ready to go again. Between the realization that this was all just about getting over the finish line and the trip to a porta-potty I headed into the second half of mile 12 with a whole new attitude!
I ran all the way to mile 14 (except the water station) and found Chris and his family waiting for me. I had set out stuff for Chris to bring for me (oranges, lifesaver gummies, gum, and water) but Chris forgot it in my car and they drove his dad’s car. They stopped at a gas station and got me my gummies and water. I got some ibuprofen from Chris’s stepmom and then I was ready to go again! I was feeling pretty darn good, considering the circumstance. I still haven’t decided if the ibuprofen helped or if my brain became numb to the pain signals, but I got over the pain. I started focusing on the crowd and the other runners.
Finally I made it to mile 18, then mile 20, then mile 21, then mile 23, then finally I was only a 5K away from the finish line and my finishers medal!
Going into the marathon I had a few goals…
1 – Finish in 5:00 to 5:30 hours
2 – Finish strong, running most of the last 6 miles (water stops were planned walks)
3 – Finish without hating the distance
I managed to make every one of them! I finished in 5:17:10, I ran all of the last 8 miles, except water stops, and as soon as I saw Amy (another runner friend) after I crossed the finish line I asked her if she wanted to do it with me next year! She laughed at me, but I’ll work on her!
When I took my shoes off after the race I had a big bruise on the top of my foot and since I had loosened up my shoes on the course my “pointer” toes were all purple so I can probably say good bye to those toenails, but really thats the only “injury” I took away from the race. I’m sore today, but just muscle aches and tightness, nothing alarming.
I’M A MARATHON RUNNER!
Distance: 26.2 miles
Pace: 12:06 mpm