Not that any of you asked, but for the 0.5% of the people that are interested in the running aspect of my recent marathon, here it goes! (I am an over-sharer, not an under-sharer). Marathons are HARD MOTHERS, like flipping H-A-R-D. Not only is it a physical exercise, but it is also a mental / emotional / spiritual challenge. Somehow, you have to dig down into your body and make it happen — and like I said before, it is only you yourself that can make it happen….so the race recap, begins!
I had a great training season. I worked with the Eugene Running Club over the summer in Oregon and it boosted my speed, confidence, and cardio endurance. Running in the cool summer mornings of the Pacific Northwest was way easier than the ice cold NYC winter, or hot humid summer in the city. So already, the start of my training was off on the right track. Then, upon my return to New York, I had all my long runs in the hills of Central Park, which helped my cardio. I pushed myself on the long runs, followed the directions of my speed workouts, and really concentrated on bringing my time down. I was ready as all hell for the marathon…..although you really are never that ready. It is always way harder than you remember.
The night before the marathon, my stomach hurt and I could barely stomach my food (note to self: don’t eat a plate full of fries the lunch before a marathon). I forced it all down, but I was uncomfortable and full. Then, as expected, I could not sleep and made my friend Amy give me sleeping exercises to help calm my nerves and silence my brain. It worked (along with a sleeping pill) and I fell asleep at 9:30 pm. That said, I was up at 3:30 am with a severe belly ache and my to-do-list racing through my brain. I had a rough morning of nothing staying in my belly (I will spare the details), and I went to the race dehydrated and parched — I felt like I could guzzle 2 liters of water and still be thirsty.
Race started out okay, even though I was in the slow wave (first world problems), and a good 35 minutes past my pace group that I wanted to follow. I had a race strategy going out there (marathons are strategic — not just physical!) and I was eager to trust my training, my plan, and my GPS that was going to track my time. But believe it or not, my iPhone’s mileage tracker was totally off and giving me random data that was so wrong! (It said I was doing 7:45s the first 3 miles when I felt like I was barely walking) — so then I couldn’t trust my splits and had to trust my judgment — which of course made me nervous that my judgment was going to be off and wrong!
I tried to make a friend at mile 10 (me = Queen of Gab) as I was behind her for most of the race, but she was Miss Negative and told me that if I wanted to make my goal (sub 3:40) then I better pump it up because I was way behind where I should be. Then, I heard a stranger at mile 12 yell “12 down, only 15 more to go” which totally irritated me and WTF, do you know how to add! I was already feeling tired and worn out at mile 12, and I didn’t know how I was going to manage to go another 14.2 (sorry Lady, do your math).
But then, I saw Amy at mile 12.5 and that helped immensely. I looked around, felt the energy, thought how I DESERVE TO DO WELL and that I was WORTHY OF GREATNESS. Oh my god, writing it down sounds so cheesey and corny, but in all seriousness, I just said it over and over again until I started believing in myself.
I have no idea what happened between mile 12 and 17. Couldn’t tell you what the crowd was like, who the people in the streets were, or what the architecture was….I just kept on trekking around with pains and jabs and nausea. But I just kept on running and running and running and running…..and there I was at mile 17. Amy and I had made plans to meet, so when I saw her with my face stick, I wanted to cry. She gave me three Advil, which I quickly swallowed down with the most nasty chocolate GU I have ever tasted in my life. And kept on going strong.
Mile 18, I put on my headphones, pumped up the volume, started telling myself YES YOU CAN, YES YOU CAN, and then, it clicked. Mind you, I had no idea my time or splits because I HAD NO GPS. So I took my phone out, – yup, while running a marathon – and went to the Chicago Marathon app to track myself (yes, crazy). I saw that it predicted my finish time at 3:40, which made me pick up my pace. That little moment of checking an app (thanks Steve Jobs) gave me the extra shove to push through the doubt and the pain, and made me want to achieve my goal that much more.
And then I finished. I tried to run faster and faster and faster, wanting to barf, sick of GU, with throbbing quads… but I wanted to get to the finish line. And then I did. 3:36:19. A personal record, a Boston qualifier, an effort where I gave everything I had to the race. I am happy with the results — I pushed myself through the bad parts and I did what I could. I know that I can do better and be faster, and I will. I have no doubt that next marathon, I will have an easier (wishful thinking?) process and a faster time, but I am so happy with the wonderful weekend and the experience as a whole. Unforgettable. Thank you to all of you that made it possible; Michelle, my gracious host. Amy, my bestest friend. Ken, my partner in life. My kids, who make me want to be my best self. My friends and family who supported me with texts and emails, the post-marathon gifts of massages, Levain cookies, and lotion. Thank you OH SO MUCH!
Thanks, friends. So appreciate you letting me divulge every last detail of the race with you. Not sure what is next on my end, but it is definitely not the last marathon I do….I know I still have a lot of gas in my tank!
Hope you have a great week.