I thought I had everything back together. I thought I had beaten the stomach flu with no repercussions. I thought I had gathered my competitive drive, my focus, and my will, but I was wrong. I felt good enough to go through the motions to get to the start line. I just didn’t have the stomach to push myself for the whole marathon. Maybe I tried to get back on pace with training too fast after being sick. Maybe my body hadn’t recovered from the high mileage and the 15k. Maybe I had too much going on the week before marathon day. I can’t say what happened for sure, but I do know that 26.2 miles seems impossibly long on a horribly timed off day.
Sitting down and writing this recap has not been high on my list of things to do this week. Thinking of how to explain how wiped out I felt both mentally and physically after 8 weeks of solid training and a few sick days made me feel sick all over again. So after a few days of rest, processing, and feeling the many emotions that stemmed from this marathon, I am ready to write.
I woke up with a cough and a scratchy throat Sunday morning. Nothing major. The cough seemed like more of an annoyance than anything else. I went through my normal routine. Coffee. Cereal. Stare at my phone. Get dressed and go. During my warmup, everything felt off. It was like the shock absorption in my legs was gone. This has happened before after miles and miles in minimalist shoes, but the feeling usually goes away after warming up. This time it didn’t go away.
7 a.m. start. Mile 1. 6:42. Mile 2. 6:56. Mile 3. 6:59. After Mile 3, I just wasn’t feeling it. Running should not feel this hard this early in the race. I backed off on my pace, but even holding back felt hard. I almost stopped. At Mile 4, I thought about pulling out of the race. I have been trying to train and race like the best of the best, and maybe the smartest move would have been to drop out, regroup, and chose another race, but I couldn’t. So from Mile 4 to Mile 26, I just kept going.
What Got Me Through
I kept going for my husband, who was waiting for me at Mile 10 with water bottle #2. I kept going for my kids. I wanted them to know it’s good to finish what you’ve started even if it isn’t turning out just right. I kept going for everyone who reads my blog and is a part of my journey as a runner. I kept going for my mom who cheered me on from Dallas and for my dad who has been my biggest fan since summer track days. I couldn’t stop. It wasn’t an option.
Back to the Grind
My pace really dropped off at Mile 8. I swapped water bottles with my husband at Mile 10, right before some major hills. I hit Mile 13 at 1:34:30. The last half took everything I had left, maybe more. Around mile 24, I caught myself falling apart. That “I can’t go any longer” feeling crept in, and I didn’t think my lungs could physically handle any more running. So, I prayed. Maybe this was due to a lack of oxygen to my brain, or maybe I did what I subconsciously knew would get me across the finish line. And believe it or not, it helped. I made it across the finish line in 3:26:50. Not what I had trained for but still a PR by 8 minutes. 19th Overall Female. 26.2 miles. 750 ft climb. Marathon #2 Complete.
Thank you for reading my blog and following my journey as a runner!