State (+ District of Columbia): #5
District of Columbia Marathon: #1
Marine Corps Marathon: #1
I have a secret. I’ve been holding out on you.
After I wrote Tuesday’s post my knee started to feel normal, completely normal. I won’t get into the mental struggles that lasted the rest of the week but I will say that I think they affected today’s race.
The result of the unexpected good feeling in my knee resulted in a lack of a coherent plan today. It helps to have a plan. I wanted to go for my original goal but didn’t want to put that pressure back on myself to maintain a certain time.
I got excited at the start, especially when we arrived safely and super early. I got really excited when it came time to walk up that onramp to the start, excited and nervous.
The opening ceremonies were amazing.
The time to start came almost before I knew it. I crossed that start line (and started my Garmin a few seconds too early) still without a plan besides the thought that I wanted to try to get as close to my original goal as possible. (Spoiler: that’s too vague.)
I was on cloud 9 at the start of the race. Thankfully the congestion kept my first mile time down and prevented me from going out way too fast. I loved those first few miles and even thought “is it possible to have a smile on my face for 26.2 miles?” Not today.
I still loved being able to run past all the moments and see all the gorgeous views. The experience was absolutely incredible.
I started to get a little nervous about my knee around mile 7. It was just my mind playing tricks on me. Soon after that I made a pit stop. Even though I’d made use of the portopotties twice before the start, I still needed to go. The break helped me calm my mind and spirit.
It was in those early miles when I was still feeling good that I made a stupid decision, aka not taking hydration at the first two stops like I had planned. I have a feeling that most of my problems when it comes to the marathon is hydration related.
It’s hard to know where to go from here. My main regret is that I didn’t slow down and just enjoy the race like my secondary plan had been.
Honestly, I don’t remember much of the individual miles. I do remember loving the spectator support and noting the lack of it in Haines Point and on the bridge after mile 20. I remember getting a little choked up seeing all the spectator and runner support for the hand cyclists and Team Hoyt members. I remember starting to feel cramps in my calves as early as halfway and knowing immediately that I needed to guzzle as much as I could at every water stop for the rest of the race. I remember my legs feeling heavy starting around mile 16 until the end of the race and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I remember coaching myself to just get to the next water stop so I could walk while I drank as much Gatorade and water as I could. I remember feeling this weird pain in my left (supposedly good!) knee around mile 24 and wondering what on earth it was. (I still don’t know.)
Those last couple miles were pretty miserable. Early on I re-abandoned the 3:45 goal and made a new goal of a PR. By the time mile 24 rolled around I focused on running to the finish no matter the pace. (Miles 22-26.57: 8:58, 9:31, 9:27, 9:41, 9:26) I seriously considered taking a long break from the marathon during those miles. Of course, as soon as I stopped running I forgot all about that.
When I crossed the finish line (after that horrible hill!) the clock read 4:02:xx. I was okay with that. I would have rather had another sub 4 hour marathon but with the training cycle that I’ve had, I was pretty happy with that performance.
Turns out though, that I some how still came in under 4 hours. Chip time: 3:58:58, 56 seconds slower than my PR. I’ll definitely take it.
So…MCM was not the experience I had hoped for. I didn’t learn my lesson from San Francisco and instead got caught up in a time goal and distracted when things got tough. I’m definitely thankful for it though, more than thankful that I was able to run all 26.57 of those miles.
Where do I go from here? First, a week off. Second, a revamped training plan for HHI that includes a few less miles and more strength training and stretching. Third, a willingness to back off and reevaluate.
More immediately? Demolishing a barbecue chicken pizza and then lots of sleep.