Excited. Exhausted. Emotional. Those are just a few words to describe my experience in training and running my first marathon race.
For 2016 I committed to running the San Diego Triple Crown series, which is running three half marathons in a given year. I had ran a couple half’s before and felt confident I could complete this challenge. Although I knew I would be training most of the year, I was excited to have a consistent running schedule.
Then I had this bright idea that I did in fact want to complete a full marathon by the end of the year. My only stipulation was that I wanted to run all three of my half’s to make sure I completed the triple crown without injury. However, Mike was also on board and convinced me that we should do the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, with good reason! I mean people travel from around the U.S. and world to run this race, and it’s in our own backyard, how can we not run it?
So, we signed up at the end of March and had two full months for training. I didn’t think it would be too difficult since I would have two halfs under my belt by the time the race came around. Jump forward to my second half marathon of the year, and low and behold, I injured myself. My left IT band was acting up and it continually got worse. This in return did not help my training and I was constantly anxious about how this would effect race day.
However, I am stubborn and was determined to race. I pushed through more mileage than I should have in the weeks leading up to the race, which really caused me to forfeit all training for the two weeks leading up to the race.
No matter the mileage, there is a very strong mental game, as well as, physical that goes into training.. Come race day, my mind was ready, but it knew my body was not. However, I jumped into my corral and patiently waited and prayed that I would get through this race.
My corral finally started after about 45 minutes after the first wave was released. The first half was good and I was on pace. However, after the split from the half marathoners to the full – it quickly dwindles and you are left at times with nobody around you. Not quite the race I was expecting.
There was nobody to keep pace with. And then, it continued to get worse. My left leg eventually caused my right leg to start cramping at mile 18. This caused me to walk/run for several miles. It was extremely frustrating as my mind was ready to fight through it and run. But each step was so excruciating, it was unbearable.
And just when you think it couldn’t get worse, mile 21 provided a steep uphill for three miles. Really?!? Who puts in a hill right before the finish? Rude.
Nonetheless, I don’t believe I ever hit such “wall” that a lot of marathoners talk about because I was in so much pain to think that I couldn’t make it any longer. But maybe that was my wall…
My goal was to finish with a ten minute pace, and that definitely did not happen.
The finish line was very emotional as I hobbled over it. Mike had finished well before me and was patiently waiting and thankfully endured my tears.
The discipline for training and the challenge of running that race will always be worth it and I will forever be grateful for the experience; however, the emotional and physical impact will take some time to recover from.
Will I ever run a marathon again? Probably. My competitive nature knows I can do better. 😉