"I don't look at a marathon as a race. It's a 26 mile journey, is what it is." -Frank Abramic, 80 year old Chicago Marathon 2015 Finisher, after running his 17th consecutive Chicago Marathon in 6:26. Read his story here.That's his motto. Not a bad way to approach a marathon.
Back when I was a staff nurse, we had to pick up extra shifts during the winter. We could do a 4 hour or an 8 hour shift, but most of us opted for the 4 hour shift. Dubbed the "princess shift", our motto was:
"You can do anything for 4 hours".That's what I told myself Sunday morning. This was going to be a princess shift.
Not having a killer long run during my marathon training, I was a little worried about the marathon, and if you've been following me, you know I adjusted my goals. Originally, I wanted a sub-4, BQ race. Even though I trained with this goal in mind, not crushing my long runs during my training made me rethink that goal. I realized that going into this race, if I didn't achieve that goal, that BQ, I would have been hugely disappointed. If you read Sunday's post, you now know that the Chicago marathon is really fun. No matter what the outcome of this race, ultimately, I wanted to have fun. Heck, after all that hard work, I'd hate to throw it all away based on a disappointing race! So I made my B goal about having fun, with, of course, the extra goal of a respectable finish time. I mean, come on, this is overachiever Wendy talking here! I wanted to have fun, but I wanted to hold my head high. And finish with a smile on my face.
But even with my adjusted goal, my backup plan, I was really nervous. I don't know why. I think not crushing my long runs was messing with my head. Even with all the words of wisdom imparted to me by friends and my coach, I just didn't feel as confident as I did last year.
Becky gave me this to wear on my wrist with her mantra: "Good Vibes Only". Race morning, I wore that along with my lucky throwaway sweatshirt that has made it to every race this year! I also slipped the rock she gave me for last year's marathon into my waist pack--the one that said "Believe" on it.
|Inspiration from my coach|
|My Canadian friend and me. Baring our bibs.|
|A peaceful moment before heading to back to the circus.|
I fueled with Tailwind as I planned, 24 ounces/hour. When I stopped to refill my bottle, I also took about 6 ounces of plain water. At mile 8, I felt the need to pee. That never happens to me when I run, but I stopped at the portapotty. As I headed forward, I felt some cramping in my stomach and a little bit of nausea. I wondered if I was taking my fuel too fast, so I backed off a little bit.
I maintained my steady pace until about mile 14. My hamstrings started to tighten up, and when I stopped to hug my friend Karen, I couldn't catch my breath. I was trying to figure that out. The wind must have kicked up something that triggered my latent asthma and/or allergies. I haven't had to use an inhaler for a couple of years, but today would have been the day to pack one in my already overloaded SLS3 HiPZiPP (affiliate link). I started to run again. Interestingly, that shortness of breath didn't bother me as much when I ran, but every time I stopped, I had to catch my breath. It was an uncomfortable feeling.
|Trying to catch my breath|
The sun was really starting to feel warm and at mile 17, I finally put up the white flag of surrender and began to walk. Crap!
This would be my pattern for the rest of the race. I tried to run slower, but I still had to stop to regroup every mile. I felt a feeling of despair. This is exactly what happened to me when I ran my first Chicago marathon. Except, I reminded myself, at that race I started to feel badly at mile 8. Here I was at mile 17. I could finish this thing, even if I had to walk the REMAINING 9 MILES. Oh, hell no! I remembered calling my husband at mile 18 during that bad race--I wasn't going to do that. I could finish this thing and meet my B goal, right? I needed to stay positive. There would be no burpees. Not only because I was going to push on and finish, but because I didn't think I was capable of getting back up off the ground once I went down to do them.
There's motivation, right there.
After that little mental pep talk, I felt better and began to run again. I listened to my music. "No Giving Up" by Crossfade came on.
"There's no giving up now. Do you really want to give this all away? Can't you ever see things in a different way? Somedays. No giving up now. Such a beautiful thing to throw away. You should think things through. Over and over again. All over again."and
"I know we have given. All that we can give. When there's nothing to lean on. Well, I remember this. All we make of this lifetime. Is always here within. And remembering that's why. We should never give in. "
And to think I almost deleted this one from my playlist. If I ever needed to hear this song, it was now. I will admit it's kind of screamy. But the lyrics were just the push I needed.
And so it went. I couldn't count on my Garmin, so I kept my eye on the clocks at the mile markers, knowing that I started 31 minutes after the elites. I was able to estimate my finish. And as long as I finished under 4:30, I would be happy. I pushed myself to run a little farther, a little harder.
Run, walk, run, walk. I channeled my inner Jeff Galloway. Sipped my Tailwind. Ignored my hamstrings and my feet, which were now screaming in pain.
Spectators called out encouragement to me:
"You got this!"(believe it or not, yep, I do)
"You look great!" (to which I shook my head)
and "Go USA" (in reference to my shirt)
Finally, I made it to Mt Roosevelt. The final sprint to the finish. That 400 meter run up a stupid hill to the finish. My legs found something that I had been missing for a while. A little surge of adrenaline pushed me up that hill and I flew through the finish line!
|Finish line, here I come!|
Official finish time: 4:25:53
I felt a huge sense of euphoria, crossing that finish line. Because even though I didn't get my A goal, I got something more. This finish was a huge mental victory for me. I didn't quit. I didn't give up. I dug deep and did what I had to do. And I finished with a respectable finish time. One that I could be proud of.
If the weather conditions were different, could I have done better? Probably. But I always think of that advice that my friend and Ironman finisher Sandy gave me back before my first marathon:
"You have to go with what the day gives you."-Sandy, Ironman finisherAnd that's exactly what I did.
On my terms. I haven't stopped smiling since I finished. What a race!
Have you ever had to adjust your race goals based on your training? On race day conditions? How did you do? And how did you feel?
I'm linking this post up with DebRuns and Wednesday Word, which for this week just happens to be adjust. Who knew?