3 years ago I threw my name in the Twin Cities lottery for the 10 mile event. I heard it was hard to get in and didn't think I would. Well, I got in. My first thought was: "Crap. Now I have to learn how to run 10 miles." My longest run at that point was 6. I ran it and loved it.
After several HMs I ran my first 26.2 and immediately knew I wanted to do it again.
My name got drawn in the lottery again in 2012 and my time improved by a huge 7 minutes. It was a great race.
Twin Cities Marathon will always be special to me because it is in my backyard. I run these streets every week. I know the majority of the route. I have been a spectator since I was little. My dad still has one of the posters I made when I was 8. "Go Dad! Go!" in crooked, purple letters.
All of that history builds up to this Sunday when I get to run 26.2. I am so ready! Even though training hasn't been as pretty as I'd like. I am still ready. There isn't anything I can do about that now. I am going to smile and enjoy this sucker!!!
On 9/14 I participated in a chip timed 400 person training run. It was supposed to be my second 20 miler. (The first never happened.) My plan was to go race pace, push myself, and then recover/taper until marathon day. My goal was 3:00.
The first 10 were great. I felt good. I didn't feel like I was going too fast. My Garmin was telling me that my mile splits were nearly spot on. And then I mentally crashed.
I walked at the 10 mile water stop to take a GU. It didn't sit well with me. This was not good. I slowed my pace and said aloud, "Well, I guess I'm not going to negative split this one." And I think that once I said that to myself, my body followed suit. The next few miles jumped to 9:10s and 9:30s. I started to worry about my lack of nutrition because one GU in 15+ miles is not enough, but I physically couldn't stomach it.
I was taking more powerade than normal to get some calories, but then I was getting a side cramp. The wheels were falling off! I went to an ugly head space and couldn't get out. I started walking. I ran a little. I walked some more. The last 2 miles were horrendous. A few friends cheered me in at the finish and I gave them 2 big thumbs down and said, "I am not running a marathon."
1st 10 in 1:29:15 at an 8:56 pace
2nd 10 in 1:38:13 at a 10:01 pace
total: 3:09:17 at 9:28 pace
My race goal is to be around 9:10s. (My first marathon was 9:20s) So, fail here, right?
I woke up the next day and felt amazing. Not a bit sore. Not even tired. And so proud that I ran 20 freaking miles. Who cares how long it took me?! I didn't meet my time goal. I didn't negative split. I walked when I knew I could have run. I mentally threw in the towel. I had a nutrition failure.
I refuse to let that one run shape my training. I have worked hard and that run made me stronger. Tough runs are good teachers.
I called my Irongirl and asked if she wanted to go for a bike ride during my kid's nap. She was shocked that I wasn't sore. She said, "Well, that means that your legs have the fitness." Yes! I love that! My legs have the fitness. New mantra!!
Those legs have muscle and are ready for a marathon. And that 20 miler taught me a lot. I am starting TOO FAST! Even if I don't feel it. I am. My last few races prove it.
Luckily I had another race to figure this out. The following Saturday was a free 13K chip timed event. Free! Hosted by lululemon! Totally worth getting a babysitter for.
I went with my sister and a friend. I needed more than 8 miles so I warmed up, nice and slow, and then ran a tough 8 mile tempo run, then run back and find them. Goal was 10ish miles. And I did it!!
My first mile was 9:20 and then I gradually picked up the pace. I pushed myself and was rewarded. 8 miles at 8:17 average pace!! Then I got a "mat instead of a medal!" Yes, totally FREE! I love you lulu. Jogged back, found my sister and ran her in. Then we did yoga in the park and got cupcakes from a food truck. amazing!
I'm still coasting on that positive energy. I feel good. I may not get that sub 4 and that's OK. You know I'll put some positive spin on why I didn't. And, hey! Maybe I will get it and how awesome would that be?!