Monday, March 23, 2009

THE 26.2 MILE DISCOVERY....


This was written yesterday on the long ride home, and am just now getting around to posting.

Let me preface by stating....I am sore!!! This was my first full marathon and by now anyone who reads this blog, knows my relationship with running. It's a love/hate relationship at best. Give me swimming or a bike any day over running!! It is however part of my sport, so I continually have to try and maintain a peaceful relationship with it even when it hurts! So here I go. Please keep in mind that I am still running on pure emotion and this comes straight from the heart.

First...the weekend was great. I enjoyed getting away with the girls for a nice weekend. Heather and Kim are great and awesome marathoners.We had a weekend of fun and great food. (Some of which would haunt me later in the race) We met a lot of new people which was very exciting. Friday night I was unable to rest and ended up with a whopping 3 hours sleep. Not smart!! Saturday was fun but super cold out. We went to the expo and I ran into some familiar faces which was nice. We really just relaxed and enjoyed the sights. We went to eat dinner around 8pm, and after we pretty much crashed. I slept well and when the clock buzzed at 5:15am we were up and eager. After taking our time, we made it to the race site and luckily there was a Starbucks there where we used the potty. I am anti-porta pottie, at least until sheer desperation sets in, and it trust me it did (later in the post) haha! The temp out was 32 and I was cold!!! I knew I had to start with a jacket and was unfortunately one I could not bear to throw out, so I knew I would be stuck with it for 26 miles. I also knew it wouldn't be long until it would come off, but I just couldn't shake the start line chill.

I placed myself in, what I thought to be, an appropriate pace group. I always meet interesting people and this start line was no exception. I had some nice conversations with people, and met two women who run marathons and they pray for different people each and every mile. How cool is that?! They wanted to pray for me at mile 25 since it was my first, and I was excited to have them offer. How sweet they were! The gun went off, the group started to move. We shuffled across the start and then it opened up. Mile one and two, were rough, as always. It takes me at least 3 miles to get warmed up and I can feel it every time. My pace group was moving and I found the pace uncomfortable for me to maintain for the next 23 miles. I fell back a little. On mile 5, I felt ok, but I decided to go ahead and start with my fueling! Gel one...down! Now another love/hate relationship I have is gels. Well, really I have never had a love relationship with them at all. I tolerate them. This one went down well and I fell into a steady comfortable pace. All was good....mile 11 we ran through a military camp and this was one of the highlights of the race. All of the soldiers were out yelling and high-fiving. I bet I slapped 100 hands on mile 11-12!! It was motivating and I smiled the whole mile through. That also made me think of our soldiers that are away still fighting and it stirred some raw emotion! Sorrow and gratitude for them in that same mile. Mile 12 was feeling good and I knew I would again set a new PR for the 13.1! I did! So, in the last 3 weeks and 2 races, I have dropped my half marathon time by 14 minutes. 14!! I am so happy about that!

Moving on...Mile 14, 15,16, 17 were great! Mile 18..."what is going on with my tummy?!?!"Hmmm.....Dang it, porta pottie. Ok, I have no choice. Mile 20...Dang it again! Oh well...at least they have TP. I was actually having to talk myself through it..."Don't you dare look in the hole! You can do this. You can....You can use this porta pottie. Just hold your nose and don't look down!!!UGH! Oh, they are sooo horrid!

Mile 20-21. Wow. I kinda like this pain. It feels good in a bizarre way. My hip abductor was killing me at this point, as well as my tummy, but I began to crave the pain. Isn't that weird. I was thinking..."ok, is that all you have hip, give me more!" The pain was making me feel alive. It hurt but felt good in a bizarre kind of way! It made me truly realize how alive I was in that moment. Ok, the tummy is gurgling again!...dang it! Ok, let me stop here and explain something for one second. I have never in any race had GI distress until the last half marathon which was 2 weeks ago. So starting today, I was nervous that it would happen again, and it did. I have come to one conclusion and that is that my pre-race diet, and the type of gels may be contributing to this nuisance. I have never been a "gel"person. I did successfully chug them down today, but am certain that these contributed to the tummy trouble.

Moving on....I did have to take care of my "issues" which did in fact cost me time. It's ok...this was my first and my learning race. I need to know for sure how to fix this problem before Ironman this year. After my craving for pain and torture on mile 20-22, those thoughts quickly switched from craving it, to wanting the pain to stop. On mile 22 people, this is where I found out so much about myself.

Mile 22....I will tell you, and again I write this with heart. On mile 22, I first thought about my son. Giving birth and seeing him for the first time. I could see him waiting and smiling, waiting to see how I would finish this race. It choked me up. Emotions! I always think about him with each step, but this was something different. I also in mile 22 began to think about my friend who lost her life to cancer, and thus started my 'obsession" with this sport. I thought about all the people who cannot do what 'we' can do. It HURT! I tried not to think about pain, and let my thoughts take me someplace else. My goal time for this race had slipped by. I was ok. I was learning, I was in class and this was the exam. I was testing...myself. I knew these things about me all along, but fully didn't understand them, not until the time came when it was a choice of the mind over body. My test answers came to me. The answers, resilience, dedication, passion. My self discovery ....summed up. This is me, I am no quitter. I refuse to, no matter what. When something is in my heart, my soul and I feel it deep within, I will get there, no matter how it hurts. I will make it. I started to cry a little. Tip....DO NOT CRY WHILE RUNNING A MARATHON. It makes breathing a little tough ;) I was tearful, not sobbing, please don't misunderstand. This run, this marathon made me feel things within myself that I can't quite explain. I'm sure that some of you who have been there, done that, know what I mean, but this was my first. It was amazing, even though I missed my goal. I was able to take my mind to another place. I felt the pain, but something inside pushed me forward.

Mile 23, thoughts continued. My life...who I am, thankful to be the person that I am, Thankful for my family. Thankful for my blessings, thank you God for allowing me to do this. To make this happen. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Gratitude was my lesson on mile 23.
Mile 24, tears again. I could no longer mask the pain even with the power of my mind. Each step was painful. I will, I can, I want to finish. I am so close. How can one mile seem so long? The guy beside of me was in pain too. We started to talk. We started to motivate each other. He smiled, I smiled. We smiled, and we saw the finish line on that beautiful beach. The sun was out, the ocean was so beautiful and peaceful. .2 to go, it hurt, but I smiled. Then I laughed. Mile 26.2....purely raw with emotion. Laughing and crying! My friends who had much better races, caught up with me and hugged me at the finish. The emotions that I had on this race were really indescribable. The pain I felt, undeniable. How can one find out so much about themselves in 26.2 miles? Well, I did. I learned many things and I am thankful, as always, to have finished another race. I take away many rewards from the day.

After the race, I was ecstatic to receive so many messages from my friends and family. I have so much support and it's just amazing! Ironman...it's on my schedule this year. I am eager to see what lessons I learn about myself in 140.6! I now fully know I can do it, and will have a new goal to work toward. It is achievable.With the offer from a friend for some coaching, I am sure that that it will all come together. I swim, bike and run. I can go the distance. I know it now. I am strong in mind, body and heart. That will take me everywhere that I want to go. Always.....

If you are reading, I am sure that your eyes are well worn out by now. I am filled with raw emotion and elation and just had to get it all out. Thank you to everyone who does read and your good luck wishes. You guys make me smile!

Next up..another running race in 2 weeks. I will set a PR in this one. You can count on that. Then up, St. A's and my heart is truly looking forward to that. The nutrition thing is being thought about at length, and with some coach tips, will soon hopefully be much better. I am in love with swimming and cycling and I have just spent the last 26.2 miles falling in love with running. Even though it hurt. I'm ready for a great season!
My friend and travel racer, Heather and I
Happy Monday All~

4 comments:

Jen said...

I know I have said it already...but what a great recap! You tell it perfectly and with your heart! Thanks for sharing!

Megan said...

Congrats on the race- beautiful race report!

Tonya said...

Thanks girls!!! Soooo very much :)

Laura said...

I was just going to say - just wait until the emotion that comes with Ironman! Great race report, and thanks for sharing your experience. Oh, and AWESOME half mary PR's, plus this is a PR regardless since it was your first marathon :)