As I lounge here with some serious quad soreness, I feel the need to blog and get closure on my second marathon (which I ran this past Sunday), mostly for fear that I will completely annoy all my family, friends, and followers with marathon splits, runfies, and other lore from the day for days to come! 😆
My first blog post had something to do with the Marine Corps Marathon, Oprah, and my sad DNS x 2! Since then, I finally showed up and completed MCM last year as my first marathon. I finished with a disappointing (for me) 5:49:13. Everyone tells you that you shouldn’t worry about your time the first time…you know, just be proud that you finished…but secretly, I was a bit ashamed of having had to walk so much of this foot race! Not to mention that I’m a fairly competitive, numbers driven gal, an A+sian, for Pete’s sake!
After checking off “run marathon” from the old list of bucket, I thought I’d shift my focus to transforming my body from a middle-aged, flabby and fatty, “married” body to one that could don a rhinestoned velour bikini to strut across a stage in clear lucite platform heels with other scantily clad, uber-tan, super-fit ladies with impossible boobage.
It turned out that I missed running too much and I bagged the bikini comp goal and signed up (on New Year’s Day, no less) for my first ultramarathon. I ordered a pair of Altra trail shoes and my love affair with long distances officially began.
Yep, I finished my first 50k. Endured a lot that day and just made the 9 hour cutoff. Check out my North Face Endurance Challenge post for all the gory details. Side note: You know I’ve got to redeem myself on that race course as well!
Like tattoos, piercings, and babies (yep, I have all three in multitudes), it’s tough to sign up for just one or two races in your lifetime. It’s as if you forget the pain and the work involved and you go ahead and commit to another one!
There’s always higher levels to attain, whether it’s faster, farther, more unique, more dangerous. For some personality types like mine, these challenges are nearly irresistible. I spent the rest of the summer beginning on a Boston qualifier plan which then morphed into an attempted international self-supported 200k in 4 days. (I was a tiny bit shy of my goal, but still felt I earned the right to call myself an ultrarunner!)
Once I returned from my Korea travels, I wasn’t quite sure what my fall race plans were. I knew Boston qualifier was completely out of reach as the ultrarunning messed with my planned speed work. I had an opportunity to crew for a 100 miler or run a 50 miler myself. I didn’t have any 26.2 in mind at all.
But funny how life kinda works itself out! On the last day of legal bib transfer for the 40th Marine Corps Marathon, I scored a bib without having had considered even running it…so I figured it was destiny!
At this point, my run coach is just rolling his eyes. I think he had given me at least 4 different iterations of my training plan because of my changing goals! Luckily for me, as tough as he is, he’s also very patient with my ADD tendencies.
Armed with my new 6 week training plan with a goal of 4:15 finish time, I got to work. I stuck with it fairly well, nailing a bunch of key workouts but also dropping a few key workouts as well. My confidence grew as did my VO2 max level!
I head into my second marathon almost 30 pounds lighter than the previous year and WAY more trained, so shaving off an hour and a half from last year’s finish seemed realistic! LOL
Race day was chilly, drizzly and feet were soaked a mile or two in, but ultrarunning trained me well for that nuisance. The MCM is just a very crowded race with no officially assigned waves, so I found myself a bit boxed in from the beginning and I decided pretty early on that it wasn’t worth weaving in and out on slick roads so I settled into a slower than goal pace. My energy was decent, but yes again, I was running with female monthly visitor! I swear, Playtex should contact me for a commercial spot or something. At least it was the tail end, unlike North Face!!!
Everything felt great physically until mile 18/19. Mentally, I struggled a bit early on, frustrated that I didn’t see as many 9:30min/miles on my Garmin. Around the Capitol Building, my left inner quad seized up a bit, walked it off and resolved to keep running. Once I hit Mile 20 after “beating the bridge”, I actually ran at a harder perceived effort to make sure my pace didn’t fade too much further! Around Mile 24, I saw the 4:30 pacer pass me. Actually she bonked me on my head with her damn balloons! I couldn’t believe that I was ahead that whole time! I kept up as best as I could during those last 2 miles. I considered taking it easy and walking because I knew I wasn’t going to hit my target but so happy I didn’t! I crossed the finish line at 4:42:42. (they rounded up to :43! Grrr) I PRd an entire hour and 7 minutes faster than the previous year, yet of course, I was still a bit disappointed for missing my 4:15! LOL
At the end of the day, I am nothing but grateful and happy. I have gained many great runner and endurance friends who “get it”! I’ve transformed my body and mind tremendously since last year. I’ve accepted myself with patience while still persevering with my goals. I’ve learned how to focus better!!! And it’s absolutely true what they say, it’s the PROGRESS that matters…not the PERFECTION.
Man, it feels good to release the toxic weight of life!
What’s next: 50 miler?!?