UR Stronger than you think.
Its been a crazy year, but seeing your PR shattered on the homestretch of the marathon I have been training for months for gave me the blissful feeling of satisfaction. I felt so validated knowing that hard work and calculated decisions finally resulted in an outward expression of achievement I imagined I was capable of but had been waiting patiently for all year.
The day started out with saying goodbye to my warm clothes much earlier than I would have liked. My awesome support crew of Deidre and Lindsay couldn’t be with me anywhere near my gate so I was left to huddle with the masses in the 39 degree temps. I had started going over my race plan, and trying to evaluate how my foot was feeling (long story involving stepping on a gigantic stone a few weeks ago and having some tendon strain) when my slightly stressed thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice. As coincidence would have it, a high school xc “rival” had spotted me and we were quickly lost in catching up and race tactics. It was her first marathon and the pace she was aiming at was similar to the one I wanted for the first half, so we decided that running together would make sense (ensuring I wouldn’t go out too fast and for her to have someone to log some early miles with). We ended up running the first 13 shoulder to shoulder, allowing the miles just breeze by.
About half way, I started getting the itch. We had maintained about a 7:40 ppm, with an expected finish time of 3:30. My foot was sore but the pain hadn’t really intensified and I could tell by my breathing and the way my legs felt that I could definitely start pushing. So at around 20k I started testing the legs. My legs just wanted more, so I kept picking it up. Before long, I was surrounded with 3:20 pacers, then 3:15-ers. Around mile 21 my brain started getting tired. It’s this point in the race though that you train for and think about during long workouts and hard days. I had dropped down to around 7:10 ppm and needed to hold on for 3 more miles to smash not only my pr, but also the goal I had set for myself before getting injured.
I look back at this marathon, and I think it represented a lot more to me than just a race. This training cycle I had worked harder than I ever had, logging more miles and making smart decisions. The last month particularly, I was challenged in a way I had never had to deal with before. Doing damage control on your foot a month out from a marathon is not exactly ideal, and convincing myself that not running my last few long runs and cross training about ⅓ of the rest of my workouts was not only ok, but in my best interest was no easy feat. I was incredibly grateful to find a familiar face at the start, and to remind me that running is way more than just one race. I am so glad that everything went so ridiculously well on race day, and a big thanks to my friends and UR SPORTSWEAR for all their support this year and the faith they had in me that I would pull it off 🙂
One of the best parts? This was my first marathon that I didn’t have any shorts chafe! All of you that have run distances races know how irritating it is to have your post race shower interrupted by the unpleasant sting of water hitting skin you didn’t know had been recently rubbed off. This time, no sting, no skin lost to sweaty skin chafing. Rock on UR sportswear, rock on.