Tuesday, May 29, 2012
** I originally posted this on my personal blog. I can't get the pictures to upload here, so if you want to see pics, go here: from262.blogspot.com/2012/05/my-262.
If you don't care about pictures (and don't care if it doesn't entirely make sense) read on!
I did it!!!!!! (insert hobbling happy dance here)
I was surprisingly not nervous on Sunday morning. I slept well and woke up a little before my alarm.
I started getting a little nervous driving to Burlington.
There was no place to park near the start, so I hopped out and wandered around the park until it was time to line up.
This is the starting line Ė Iím nowhere near here.
The elite runners were amazing. I got to see some of them during the race, and it was incredible to watch them move.
I ended up a little too far up in the start. I was near the 5:30 pace group, which I knew was too fast for me, but once people packed in there was no changing places. So, needless to say, I made a typical mistake and started out way too fast. I kept it up for the first 4 miles, but then I slowed down and never got my pace back up.
This was 8 miles in, my second trip down Church Street. Still smiling at this point.
That was when I first saw Andy and Max, though they saw me at the start. I definitely needed to see them at that point. It was the lift I needed to keep going.
It got really hard from there. Around mile 12 I was tired. The major problem with being in the back of the group is that by the time I reached the water/food stations, there was no food! I even passed a couple without any more water. I panicked a little.
My favorite part of the entire race was the hill. Just after mile 15 there was a huge hill. The Taiko drummers were at the bottom, and I got a second wind. It felt so good to use my muscles differently, and I passed several people going up. It was a nice confidence-building moment.
The rest was pain. Thatís all I could think about. I was crying as I approached mile 19 because I was exhausted, in more pain than Iíd ever been in my life, and I still had 7 miles left.
Keely (my awesome trainer) was waiting for me at the 19-mile marker, and I gave her a huge hug. She gave me flat coke (weird, but actually really helped) and the best banana I have had in my life. Nothing will ever taste as good as that banana did. Iíd had nothing but GU for hours, and real food was amazing.
Keely ran/walked with me the rest of the way, and I was so grateful for the distraction. I needed someone to talk to, and I needed to get out of my head. It made the end much more enjoyable, which was good because those last miles were absolute hell.
I am not joking when I say Iíve never been in that much pain. That includes childbirth. It hurt as much as contractions, but it never let up. I would walk, and it hurt. I ran, and it hurt. Nothing made it go away. Pushing through the last 4 miles was intense. I was fighting the pain and the head games, too. Itís hard to be near the end of a huge race. I saw so many people who had already finished, eaten, relaxed, and were on their way home. Itís hard not to get discouraged.
The last half mile, my mood improved. I could see the park and knew I was almost done. My pace picked up. I smiled at the people I passed. Everyone was cheering and so supportive, and it made me feel a lot better. I may have taken a lot longer than most, but I still finished it.
So close to the finish!
Seeing Max and Andy made me feel 100% better, and I finished with a big smile on my face. Iíve never worked so hard for something, and Iím still in disbelief that I actually did it. I may not be thrilled with my time, but I finished it. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and the most painful.
It was totally worth it.
Max wanted to see my ďtrophyĒ in the car. Marathons are exhausting for everyone.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
This week has been great. Iíve heard a lot about taper week, and I decided to go into it with my head in a good place. The plan was to be on point with my eating, hydration, sleeping, and (most important) to keep my thoughts positive.
It hasnít really been that difficult. Iíve been feeling great physically. I feel as ready and prepared as I can feel considering that I have never run 26.2 miles. I feel confident that I will finish it, even if I have to walk. Iím also really, really excited for the experience of it all. I think I will definitely meet my goals. I will finish, and I will enjoy as much of it as I can.
This week I have discovered what an amazing support system I have. Seriously, if you ever need to feel like everyone is rooting for you, run a marathon. It has been great. I am incredibly lucky to have the group of friends that I have, and my training has brought me some new runner friends, too. Itís so awesome.
Yesterday, the nerves set in. I still felt positive and excited, but I definitely started to feel nervous. My biggest concern is getting there on time and being in place for the start. Considering I plan to be near the back of the group, I think this worry is kind of pointless. Iím also worried I wonít sleep at all tonight. Iíve heard itís pretty common, though, and wonít affect my running tomorrow. Iíve been making sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep all week, so I should be good.
Iím really just ready for tomorrow to get here and to go do it. My legs feel great. I had almost forgotten how it feels to have rested legs that donít hurt every time I go down stairs. I feel like I have prepared for this really well, and I am looking forward to the start. Thereís no pressure then. All I have to do is run.
Iím picking up my packet today. I canít wait to see what kind of goodies are in it, and I really want to see the shirts. Thatís why people run races, right? For the shirts? Today, I am going to focus on relaxing, stretching, packing, and mentally preparing myself for tomorrow. Iím going to bed early and hoping I fall asleep and stay that way. It will be an early morning tomorrow!
I am so excited!!!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
I love a good run. 10-mile runs are my favorite, and thatís what was on the menu today. I was really looking forward to this run. Not only was it a nice, ďshortĒ run, it is the last long training run. Next week Iím running the one that matters, and I am so excited. The nerves are a lot better now. Iím really looking forward to the marathon. I have decided on two race day goals:
#1 Finish it.
#2 Enjoy the experience.
No pressure. Iíve worked hard, and while I know itís going to hurt and suck, I want to enjoy as much of it as possible. No getting down on myself no matter what happens.
Todayís run was different than my usual training run routine. I usually go first thing in the morning, so that I am done with it earlier in the day. The weather up until now has been cool. Iíve run in snow, wind, rain, and cold, but I had not run distance in heat Ė until today.
Itís gotten hot here in VT. Summer weather seems to show up overnight. A few days ago is was cool and rainy. Today it was hot and sunny. The leaves are out on the trees, and everything was bright green, blue, and yellow. Have I mentioned I love living up here?
So, I ran in the heat. I also ran later in the day (the hottest time of day) because I had Girls On The Run practice this morning. I love GOTR. It is such a great program, and I love working with kids. It teach the girls how to be confident, strong, beautiful young ladies while also teaching them about nutrition and exercise.
The run went pretty well. I decided, despite the heat, to make it hard 10 miles. Iíve got a week of significantly less exercise ahead of me, and I wanted to make this last training run count. I decided to run my old route, which has 3 miles of hills to start. It was tough, but I worked hard and tried to keep the same pace going up hill. I killed those hills. It was awesome. I actually took 15 minutes off my usual time, which felt awesome. I felt like I could have kept up that pace for a lot longer.
The only thing that threw me off was the heat. Iíve run in much higher temperatures, but not for more than 5 miles. The last time I was running 10s it was autumn and cool. I didnít need a drink during my run, so I assumed I would be fine today. I almost was. The last couple miles were rough. I spent most of them thinking about the numerous drinks I could have when I finally got home. As soon as I got inside I promptly drank too much water too fast and felt sick, but it passed.
I am now enjoying the nice, exhausted, post-long run feeling and drinking a ton of water.
Monday, May 14, 2012
If nothing else, I am consistent.
I've found marathon training to be very interesting. I did really well with 2 weeks at each distance until I got into the higher mileage. Once I got past 16 miles, I started developing a pattern of having a really good long run one week, followed by a terrible second run at the same distance. It was frustrating at first, but I've gotten used to it. I'm starting to think about how I would train differently the next time I do this (though that won't be for a while - I promised Andy). I think next time I will give myself a longer training period and plan on alternating long and short runs when I get into the longer distances. I'm also planning on continuing my weekend runs and keeping myself in half marathon shape. That way I can run some of the half marathons I've be thinking about, and I will have less building up to do when I next decide to run a full marathon.
Anyway, yesterday was supposed to be my last long training run. I was going to do another 22 mile run before starting my taper. Things didn't go according to plan. I started out fine. It was raining, but it wasn't heavy enough to be unpleasant. I was feeling pretty good for the first 8 miles, and then I started to feel achy. Lately, I haven't felt this until much later in the run. Last week I didn't get achy until mile 18. I knew it wasn't going to be good. Still, I pushed on. I wanted to finish the run because it was my last one.
At mile 10, I got a terrible cramp in my hamstring. I tried to keep going, but it hurt. I tried walking. I stopped and stretched. Nothing was helping. My hamstring felt like a rubber band that was about to snap. I also started cramping in my quads, my calves, my other hamstring, and my feet. The cramps in my feet were incredibly painful, but I still tried to keep going.
At mile 12, I turned around. My plan had been to run from my house to St. Albans, the reverse of what I ran the week before. Andy was going to bring me Gatorade soon, and I knew I couldn't go any further. I started hobbling back, and at mile 13 Andy and the kids arrived, and I went home with them. That last mile was excruciating. I tried to run, but it hurt. Walking hurt. I slipped in some mud, and for a moment my hamstring hurt so much that I thought I had injured myself.
That was why I turned around. I didn't want to cut my last run short, but I also knew that if I kept going I would injure myself. And I knew that if I injured myself after all of this training and couldn't race, I would be really angry with myself. So, I made the smart choice. And, I feel good about that.
I know that I am ready for the marathon (or at least as ready as I am going to be). I've done 22 miles, and if I can do 22, I can do 26.2. I know how good my legs feel after a couple easier weeks, so I think I will feel great and have a good run on race day. I'm super excited for it.
I have one more training run. A short, 10 mile run. I think I'm going to go back to my old route with the 3 miles of hills. I'd like to get some more hills in before the race. I'm looking forward to it and to having more of my weekend free because I'm not spending an entire day running. It will be nice to have my life back, but I definitely don't regret training for this race. I've learned a lot about myself and my body through training, and I've changed in a lot of positive ways. I'm psyched to do this and put all my training to good use!
Friday, May 11, 2012
I was thinking a lot about perspective during my last long run. The moment of realization is so interesting. It seems so obvious once itís happened, and you can never look at something the same way again.
When Andy drove me 22 miles from my house, I had one of those moments. I had him drive me to the closest gas station for a pit stop before I began my super long run. The gas station was almost the exactly 26.2 miles. Iíve been kind of freaking out about the length of this race, and in my mind it became something far worse than what it really is. Seeing the distance made it seem a lot more possible. It doesnít seem so terrifying. I know I can run that far.
I thought a lot about my speed Ė which is incredibly slow. I went into this marathon with the goal of finishing, but somewhere along the way, I got caught up in time. During my last run, I decided to stick with the initial goal and try to enjoy the experience. There is no point in being upset because Iím not as fast as other runners. It seems obvious, but it was a hard thing to accept. Iíve always had a very competitive (ridiculously so) view of sports, but the wonderful thing about running is that it is a solo thing. You are your own competition, and you just keep trying to improve. So, I will stick with my goal of completing it and enjoy this. Iíll work on speed after the marathon. Then, if I do another one, I can set a time goal.
Iím starting to see myself as a runner. Itís taken a long time. I recently wrote about how it took a long time to see myself as I really look. I got another dose of perspective when I was talking to some friends. Iím always worrying about the rest of the weight I need to lose, but I rarely think about how much Iíve already lost.
One of my friends asked how much Iíd lost. When I said 94 pounds, she told me that was what she weighed. I kind of stared at her when she said that. It probably seemed totally rude, but I was thinking about all the years I spent basically carrying her around. It kind of put my weight loss into a new perspective.
Having a good training run made me feel so much better about the marathon. If I can do 22 miles, I can finish. Itís making me feel a lot calmer. Iím getting really excited about it. Iím still nervous, but it is going to be an awesome experience.
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