Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I went to ChiTown (that's what people call Chicago, apparently) last weekend to run the marathon. It's one of the top 5 marathons in the world, with over 45,000 registrants. My good friend and runner extraordinaire, Brittany, went to school there, so when we were trying to decide on a fall marathon, Chicago won out over local options. I have never been to Chicago, so it was a treat to see such a cool city. I loved it! It has a cool energy, and lots of diversity, yet the people were so friendly and laid back. I would love to visit again under better circumstances.
I won't bore you all with details of the race. I have rehashed it so much, even I am sick of hearing about it. A marathon is a funny animal. You train for 4+ months, including long 20+ mile runs on weekends toward the end of training. You over analyze everything from your diet, to your fueling, to your sleep, to your hydration to dial in the perfect senario. You visualize, meditate, and positive think yourself into KNOWING it will be a great race. You carb load the week before, and avoid anything that might cause the stomach distress that often comes with long runs. It's consuming. And, kind of a big deal. Anywho, here I am at the start (ignore the bags under my eyes from not sleeping a wink):
And, here is the sign that made me believe that I might actually make it across the finish line. What happened in between these two pics is a grueling four hours that made me swear off running forever and ever.
In conclusion, we have good running days, and we have bad running days. That day in Chicago, I had a bad running day. I have gone over it all with a fine tooth comb and have no idea why I felt like crap, but I did. And, I felt like crap pretty much the whole race. It was not at all how I visualized it.
But, I did it. I finished. I beat my last marathon time by 12 minutes. I made my legs move when they surely didn't want to. I dug deeper than I ever have in my life and reminded myself over and over again that, "my dad didn't give me these legs to look good in skirts." The mind is a powerful thing. Much more powerful than my legs, in this case.
I am trying not to let this be a disappointment. I didn't reach my goal. I did everything right and still, it did not happen. But, I learned that I can do really hard things.
And, there is always the next one...
Also, as an important side note, my sweet, supportive husband was right there with me through this whole journey. He has encouraged me from the start. He never complains that he is left in charge every Saturday monring when I am running for hours. He showed up at the end of a very tough run with doughnuts and ice water for Britt and me. He rubbed my feet and legs every night before the race. He took care of everything and sent me to bed in the days following. He is always there to lend an ear, an opinion (even though I often don't want to hear it), and gives lots of great advice. He never rolls his eyes (like I am guilty of doing) when I start planning another race. He is quick to tell me that he is super proud of me. I think he is so great and am totally unworthy of such a friend.
And, another side note, Brittany, my super great running buddy, is my hero! She rocked this marathon and is so much fun to run with every single week. I am so happy I found her and that we have taken these journeys together! I have a feeling there will be many more!