****Please excuse all typos and grammatical errors
What can I say about this day. I have so many thoughts whirling in my head that I may just need to do talking points or a list.
I guess I can start with the disclaimer that I really do not like a marathon. And I can't figure out why? I can run a 50k and think it is the best thing ever but a marathon not so much. Maybe it is all those miles on the pavement and I just really need the trails to enjoy the long. Boston was my 4th open marathon to run and will probably be my last. After running the Ironman marathon this Sept then I most likely will never do the 26.2 distance again. Who am I kidding? I may never race again. I really am having trouble with feeling any kind of race mojo this season. I joke of retiring but that joke may be coming more of a reality. So back to my feelings on the marathon. My first ever was St. Jude back when Morgan was about 3 and I was new to running. I just had to try it out. Riley's good friend had just died of cancer and I thought why not?? Well.. I ran it with no nutrition and no idea what I was doing and HATED it... I even yelled at my family when they cheered for me on the course. I said I would never do another and didn't for quite some while.
I ran the Indiana Marathon many years later because Jennie Vee and others were training for it and I thought it would be fun! I qualified for Boston and as I came across the finish line I was miserable. JV yells you qualified!! Be happy and I yelled I will never run another marathon again. And I did not run Boston that year. Fast forward to 2014, once again I thought I wanted to do another Marathon. Signed up for Baton Rouge and hoped to qualify. I was running some but not a lot. Stewart and I had just gotten engaged and we were traveling and busying just enjoying each other so I missed a lot of long runs but did lots of shorter faster stuff. Marathon day dawned and It was beautiful weather and a great course and I "faked " it and ran 6 mins faster than my qualifying time. I again qualified for Boston and thought this is your third chance to go, you are not getting any younger, you need to go. So I went...
Training was going great and I felt great. I wasn't running tons of miles but I felt fit. I expected a pretty good race and I thought the day would be great. Then I got hurt and it would not heal so I quit running and then I quit biking and then I quit swimming. I ran for the first time the day before the race to see how it would feel. It wasn't painful but it wasn't right. I ran 6 minutes but I felt exhausted and I asked Stewart what is our pace?? The 8:30 felt like a 6:30. I hurt the rest of the day after that run and that night at dinner, JV says you look like you are limping.
So before I get to the race, I keep pondering what went wrong? Why did my legs completely fail me? Yes, the conditions were not great but I do not believe they were a factor. Maybe they were some and I just did not realize it. Was it because I had done no significant running in over 3 1/2 weeks and no running at all for 10 + days? Was it because I was running slightly different due to my left leg? Was it because I had been on a steroid leading up to the race and my nutrition sucked. I had lost about 4 lbs because with a steroid I just don't want to eat and my eating leading into the race was certainly not fueling my body. Sure I had a nice pre race carb dinner but can that make up for a week of not fueling properly?? Did I go out too fast? Based on what my paces were in training and what I ran with ease, I feel no. I would run in the low 8's easily on my long runs and finish up in the high 7's. I truly felt like an 8:20-8:30 pace was in the conservative zone. Was it because my legs had no activity whatsoever for days leading into the race and then it was just too much? Was it because I really do not like a marathon and mentally I was not present. Who Knows?
I do know this.. Boston is a beautiful city. The people take great pride in their city and their race and I was super impressed how they were out in the cold rain supporting us. I loved how whole families would be out there giving us water, cookies, oranges, etc . It was a great atmosphere in a wonderful race full of tradition but like I told Stewart no matter how much you dress it up it still is a marathon.
So.. race day dawned and it was predicted to be pretty crappy. Yes, I was not thrilled about it but I was fine with it. I have raced and trained in bad conditions so it was what it was. We got on the bus later so we would not have to sit out in the field too long in the cold and wet. Our plan worked pretty well because we were dropped off, stood in the potty line and then it was time to walk to our corral. A man was saying to each of us as we walked by.. Be proud of yourself. This is an accomplishment. You should be proud and I got a little teary because this was something that I kept reminding myself. This was just not any other marathon but I was still having trouble feeling it. People around me were so pumped up and were saying I can't believe I am here? I can't stop smiling! etc... and I just wasn't feeling any of it. Maybe it goes back to having no race mojo as stated above or maybe it was because I was super worried about the left leg and how it would perform on this day. The race started and I tried to get caught up in the excitement. I cheered, I sang to the music, I hit hands as I ran by but not sure if my heart was really into it. I was thrilled to notice I had no shooting pain going into my groin even though I did feel like I was favoring my right side quite a bit. The 10k went by really fast. I was glad my family and friends were receiving text messages of my splits because I had told them if you see 8's all is good, if you see 9's or higher something is not right.
About mile 7 I noticed my right more than my left quad was burning, really burning and I pretended not to notice. Both legs felt really fatigued. I pushed it out of my mind because really there was no way at mile 7 I should be feeling this type of fatigue and pain. Ignoring it I kept running and I have to say I loved the crowds but was really disappointed that no one around me was talking. I would have loved to have found a group to chat with. I would hear bits and pieces here and there of chatter but that was it. It seemed everyone was focused on the task at hand. So I hit my first dark spot about mile 9 to mile 12. Really? This was way too early but my legs were tired and hurting and the miles were taking forever! I really just wanted to be done already. I was so looking forward to the half point because then I felt like I could just begin the countdown. We did enter Welsey College around mile 12 and this was fun and I think it did do something to help brighten my mood. I felt in a happier place and came around for a bit. We started to hit the hills around mile 16 and my legs just felt like they had nothing in them and the downhills by this point were so painful. By mile 18, I was once again in the dark place and my main thought was to get finished. I was so envious thinking of Jv who I knew because of little bit was going to cut the race short. I would have given anything to quit at that point. And I am not going to lie.. many times the thought of screw this went through my head. I felt close to tears and I was not having much fun. Stewart had said he would be at mile 21 and I was praying that he was. I needed to be able to tell someone how bad I felt, how this sucked, and how I wanted to quit. I felt like if I could voice this it may be all better. Well he was not there but I did seem to hit a rally point around here for a bit. I noticed we had lots of downhill and was so disappointed I could not take advantage of them. The legs would not allow it. I began to repeat the mantra shuffle your feet in my head because if I tried to really pick them up, they just hurt. At this point, I was just on major countdown. I spent the remainder of the race this way. Counting the miles or half miles, trying to pull my head into the game and enjoy where I was , feeling pain and fatigue in my legs, and wanting to be done. Stewart was at mile 24 and somehow we missed each other. I would have loved to see him at this point. As I rounded the corner and saw the finish line, I told myself to get it together, you were doing something that people dreamed of, to enjoy it, to realize where you were, to take in the moment because I felt like I would not be back.
People around me were crying, hugging, celebrating and I did a forced victory sign as I held my hands up in the air. I was just so happy to be able to stop moving. Unfortunately I still had quite a trek back to the hotel. I struggled to move forward, numbly grabbed a bottle of water, had my finisher's medal put around my neck, had a sweet volunteer dress me in my finishing warming blanket as I was like dressing a two year old and now just as my focus had been to reach the finish line, my focus was now laser beamed to reach the Sheraton hotel. It seemed as soon as I quit running the rain and wind picked up but maybe I was just now noticing. I was cold, shaking, and barely walking. I knew we had to loop around to Stuart street but played dumb and tried to cut down other streets but this was a no go. It was crowded as hell and I was bumping into people everywhere because I wanted to get to the hotel as quickly as possible. I was so jealous as I walked by the family meeting area and saw family members helping others walk and I had no one to drag or carry me. A man jumped out in front of me and said can I please get your picture I am from Competitive Magazine. Not today sir. Nothing was keeping me from moving forward. Finally entered the Prudential center which connected our hotel so it was now warm and dry but unfortunately I had to keep moving. A man stopped me and asked was I able to get on any warm clothes? I guess I looked as hellacious as I felt. I mumbled something about trying to get there. I bumped into Stewart in the lobby who was in a highly celebratory mood and wanted to bring me outside for pictures etc and said JV and the group are meeting at 5 napkins. My response was get me to the room. No pictures, no food, I just needed a hot bath.
This run really did me in. I came off the finish line from an Ironman ready to eat, drink, celebrate. Hell I played putt putt with Noah the next day. This is no lie, my legs hurt so badly I would have accepted a wheelchair for the rest of my trip in Boston. I also was so disappointed as I felt like we didn't get to enjoy the city as much as planned after the race. It was rainy, cold, and I was moving like a 100 year old woman. I love traveling with Stewart and checking out new places and I did feel a little depressed that this did not happen post race. Even though we did have a great visit to Newport the day before the race.
To say the trip home was an adventure to say the least. An airport personnel actually asked me if I was going to be able to make it after watching me walk down some stairs. Stewart either caught a bug or food poisoning and spent the whole flight home throwing up. Both of us have never been so happy to see Memphis.
So in short.. It was a great experience. It is a great race. I had an awful day but feel truly blessed that I was able to experience it. Will I ever go back, highly unlikely but I have learned to never say never. As I always tell my kids you have to try things more than once because you should never make an opionion off your first try. And I am more than thankful that I have a body that can do what it can do. As I boarded the plane, the man behind me said Oh Boston.... that is my life long dream to get there and I have not been able to do it. I am still trying. Yeah... I jut did that.
Now.. time to recover. Yesterday work was painful. The kids were so sweet but I left track practice and went straight to bed. The act of walking and moving just wore me out. Today my legs feel better and feel marathon sore. They feel like what they should feel like after a marathon not the shreaded mess they were... ready for some Ironman training... I think :)
Please excuse all typos and grammatical errors.