You know that sweet feeling when you reach into a coat you haven’t worn for months and find money? I didn’t have quite the reaction when I found this blog post draft in my phone. Regardless, I’m posting it (more as a personal record for me than anything else) even though I wrote it over a month ago. Enjoy! Or don’t!
Hey, it’s been awhile. To refresh your memory, I last left you with this regarding the Twin Cities Marathon that was a month away:
I know what to expect from the TCM course. I’m also adjusting my goals going in. At first, I wanted to see if I could run a 4:30. While that would be nice, and it’s possible my legs might be up to it by then, I know that running a slower race this time left me with legs that were not completely trashed. Sure, I was a little sore and stiff, but nothing like I’ve experienced before. I was even able to drive back home and head directly to a wedding for some friends. I’d much rather finish TCM feeling great, not wrecked and in a heap. I also need to decide if I will do a true taper before Oct 4 or continue to ramp up for the 50K (which is what I should really do). In that case, I will most definitely not be gunning for a particular time in St. Paul.
Ha! Well, I threw that out the window and did, indeed, gun for a 4:30. I even made a public proclamation on Facebook, because if you don’t put it on the Internet, it’s not real, right?
SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t run a 4:30. You could say, in fact, that I wasn’t even close. I’m not even sure if I was ever on track to put up a time like that.
I did, however, go in with some pace goals in mind for each race chunk (10, 10, and 6.2), and for the most part, I felt really good about how I stuck to those goals until my legs decided they were done with the whole running thing (somewhere around mile 21 or so).
I hate lengthy mile-by-mile recaps, so I’ll just say this:
When you have friends who are chasing you around the course to cheer you on, it’s like you’re playing one of those racing video games and you get a power boost. It’s been a long time since I’ve had spectators on the course (possibly since 2007?) and wow – instant mood lifter energy boost. Those ladies kept me going right to the end. Seriously.
The last 10K were really tough. Like, screw this and just let me sit down with a beer and a handful of bacon tough.
Pro Tip: When you are using a tech device (like a GPS watch) to gauge your time, don’t forget that it you set it up to auto pause and it did, indeed, pause when you just couldn’t take it anymore and make a pit stop at mile 20. This is important to remember; I was under the impression that if I ran my ass off for the last mile I could somehow squeeze in under 4:40 (which seemed like a perfectly acceptable B Goal after 4:30 was well out of reach). Well, I did run my ass off, which got me my PR, but I was a bit over what I thought I was. Oops. Oh well.
I ended up with a 4:41:56, which is a PR for me for ANY marathon, including Twin Cities, so running my ass off at the end was worth something anyway.
I am convinced I could not have pulled off those last few miles at anything other than death marching had it not been for the speedwork I did over the summer. I am indebted and so grateful to Christine Hinton and her marathon training plan madness. I’m a believer.
But that last mile took a lot out of me. So much that I experienced spontaneous crying at the finish line, with my husband nowhere to be seen. I refrained from giving the medal volunteer a hug, because that would have probably been stepping over the line, but I wanted to.
The legs did not want to work very well post-race as I shuffled through the food lines. Eventually I got over to a grassy spot after retrieving my checked bag. I choked down a little chocolate milk, some soup broth, and somehow pulled some calf sleeves on. After what seemed like the effort of a lifetime, Scott and I made our way to the Summit Beer Corral for our complimentary race beer. Nancy and Josh met up with us and bestowed on us the magic of Advil. After about 20 minutes, I was feeling fantastic.
If anyone tells you marathons are easy, they have never actually completed one or they are lying to you. Because marathons are not easy. It’s like someone telling you that childbirth is easy. And yes, as many have said before, childbirth is pretty much the perfect metaphor for the marathon. In some ways, the training/pregnancy is tougher than the actual race/giving birth. Though, to be fair, I have never actually looked FORWARD to the childbirth part; I just knew I could get through it. Regardless of how that kiddo enters the world or how you finish the race, it’s going to hurt at some point. And it’s not easy. Never let anyone diminish your achievement in covering 26.2 miles by the power of your own legs.
So while I didn’t hit my A goal, I’m okay with it. I do think I have a faster marathon in me. Just how fast? I don’t know. I do know that this recap is already too long and that I’ll be back next year.
Twin Cities will always be my favorite marathon, and every year when I consider running something else, I can’t imagine missing it. Also, I’ll hold my medal the right side facing out next time.