It’s been about a month and a half since I ran the New York City Marathon. I have written a recap to my running coach, on Daily Mile, and have talked a lot about it to people whom has asked, but it truly has taken me a month and a half to truly process my feelings. It did not go as I wanted or expected but (*spoiler alert*) I finished. What is written below is my recap – which I wrote several days after the marathon but upon further reflection, I have added additional thoughts.
Well after 18 weeks of training another marathon (my 3rd) is in the books. I honestly don’t know how my endurance distance runners can run more than one marathon a year. It is 2 days later and I am beyond sore. I don’t remember being as sore last year but according to Mark I was. Everything from walking down stairs to even sitting on my bed is a struggle.
The marathon is a distance that should be respected and after Sunday I have new respect for it. I did not hit my time goal – I honestly wanted to run a 3:45 and as you can see above (3:50) – I did not AND even ran more than I should have (27.06). Womp Womp. So both tangents and time were not my friends in the least.
In looking back at my splits I was good up through mile 20 and then the soreness/cramping I felt in my quads/hamstrings got the better of me. Surprisingly the PF I had been dealing with since August was not my problem – my feet held up fine. It was everything else that was screaming for me to stop as I headed up 5th Avenue toward Central Park.
I knew I was in a bit of trouble coming off the Queensboro bridge when my hamstrings/quads started to burn. I really don’t remember being in “trouble” at this point last year – I am not sure if I was more focused on the windy conditions last year or the elation of running my first New York City Marathon, but this year the “hill” of that bridge punched me in the gut.
In reality it was a bit before the bridge, probably around mile 13 when I realized my even splits were off – I was about a 1/2 mile off. Running 26.2 is a lot, and you never ever want to run more than that. BUT – in a big marathon (hello – 50,000 other runners besides myself), I guess that is understandable but I don’t remember really bobbing and weaving that much up to that point. That was a bit frustrating.
It was also at this time (mile 13) that I realized I was sweating, and by sweating I mean a lot. I thought I had hydrated a lot in the days leading up to the race, but in looking back I did not. So that might have contributed to my continued thirst during the later miles of the race – I could not feel hydrated and even had to stop at two of the water stations toward the later mile so that I could take an entire cup of water. Mark commented, after the race, that I had a layer of salt crystals on my face and arms. Usually the weather is not as warm as it was that day (cloudy, a bit humid and in the 50s at the start) so being even a bit dehydrated at the start means you are already behind the eight ball. .
The third part of this marathon tri-fecta was……my ipod – which I love and use Every.Single.Day. decided to go on the fritz. My playlist, which I had so lovingly created for the marathon, just stopped and started. Until that day, during my training and the bad weather runs, my ipod had worked perfectly. THIS WAS THE WORST DAY FOR THIS TO HAPPEN. For someone that uses the music as her motivation, was a bit crushing to me. I thought I could use the motivation of the crowd to help and it worked for a while but the soreness started over the Queensboro Bridge got the better of me.
Thank god I saw Mark (aka the running czar) at 2 points during the race – he really spurred me on. He said I was happy and smiling at mile 17 and 24, but inside I was crying and cursing myself. After mile 25 it was all I could to get to the finish and sweet relief when I did – I really wanted to stop when I was done but the Volunteers (who were all wonderful) were ushering 50k other runners and I was told to move it along. The cramping was extreme in my legs but the slow walk out of the park was helpful.
Sitting here today I wonder – what could have I done differently during training and during the race.
- Could I have stretched more (Maybe, but I stretched more during this training cycle than in the past)
- Should I have had more water and walked less leading up to the race
- Should I have done some of my runs without music (Maybe but I still live and die by my ipod)
- Should I have done more strength training (Yup -but family health issues made me limit what I was able to do toward the end),
- Did I run my paces too fast (Yes – the initial elation of those early miles came to bite me in the ass later on)
- What if what if what if…those questions have haunted me.
Honestly, a month and a half I don’t have all the answers. Within the first week or so after the marathon I was looking for another marathon to run before the end of the year and then when that was not possible I was searching for a Spring Marathon. Redemption is a saucy minx – what I never mentioned (really to anyone) is that I really wanted to qualify for Boston (with a 3:45) and feel that if I just did one thing different that dream could have become a reality.
I feel to a certain degree I disappointed and let down the people who supported me and myself. Yes – I do run for myself but after all the hard work I put in I wanted to see the pay off.
The long and the short of it was (and is) that I have to re group BUT I ran a fucking marathon!!!!
Yes – I would love to do another one soon as redemption but I don’t know if that would be smart and possible. Right now I just need to re-group and remember to run for the sake (and love) of running.
For so long this has been my life and I do have post marathon blues what I do not, and will take away is that maybe, just maybe, if I run another marathon again I will do a smaller one so that I can run the tangents better.
I will say that I have enjoyed this training cycle as much as I could. I ran more weekly miles than I ever have and for the most part had limited injury complaints. I have run my fair share of races to know that they don’t always work out the way you want and maybe because I only run one marathon a year I put more pressure on myself for this race. I guess I will just have to just keep plugging along.
A huge shout out to my husband – Mark has been through this rodeo 2 times prior – and he truely the best support this marathoner could ask for. He is prodding yet compassionate and really just “gets” me. Living and breathing training for 18 weeks is hard, not just on me but on us as a couple, but we are a team and he supports me 100%. He knows what I need to do but also knows when I might need to take a step back. He is always there saying – you just need to finish. The training is the real test, the race is just the icing (although not always sweet) on the case. For that I am thankful beyond words. He is not only my love but he is also my partner in crime, my companion, and my friend.