Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Hush Falls Over the Crowd

All's quite on the front line. I'm a little antsy. Like I have all this pent up energy that is not being exerted anywhere. Huh. I never thought I would find it difficult to take it easy.

I'm ready, sure, but apprehensive. In the way that you know you have something huge looming and the task seems daunting and overwhelming. Like most other things in my life, I've just tried to ignore it.

I know it will be EXCITING. I know I'm gonna feel so BLESSED to be in that starting corral. I'm totally focused on the GLORY. But that pesky feeling of impending work and pain keep side tracking me.

So far for this marathon, I've stopped drinking alcohol (most of the time), I've put on weight, I'm about to experience a lot of pain which will quickly be forgotten when they put a medal around my neck, I'm tired all the time, I've got chafe marks that won't go away.....wait am I training for a marathon here or was I pregnant? Just kidding.

This whole wonderful experience will be coming to a close in a few days and for that I am a little sad. You only get one go around for the first time of anything. I've enjoyed it all. Even in the last few weeks when I was getting a little burned out. I know I've changed. My views towards running have actually changed. This is already great. The work ahead and finishing is only the final scene.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Holding Back

This weekend I was registered for two races. The Blubber Run 5K on Saturday and the City of the Lakes 25K on Sunday. Here's why:

  1. We ALWAYS do the Blubber Run. It's only for fun; people dress in costume and there is a beer stop at the 1/2 way point. And lunch afterwards and then prizes for the costumes.
  2. I signed up for the 25K way before I knew I wanted to run a marathon and it was supposed to be my long distance run this year.

Here were two races that I was registered for that I knew I would not be "racing". What I didn't know was how much that would SUCK. It's totally mental I know, but it is soooooo HARD to be walking something that you KNOW you could run and have all sorts of people pass you.

My plan for the 5K was to run super-de-duper easy for the 1st half and then walk the second. I was planning 20 miles on Saturday and I just wanted to be out there for fun, not to run. I started out with a light jog, but the next thing I knew my heart rate was up and I was passing people. Realizing this, I stopped and walked. And then the WORLD passed me. But, but...but...I can run with you! I just can't today :( Sad. Maybe people could tell by my super athletic physique that I was probably a true competitor, but was maybe injured or something. Maybe. Then I met my husband at the 1/2 mark, we had some root beer and then he walked the rest of the way with me. That helped. Because 2 people walking means they are enjoying the day, but 1 person walking a race means......absolutly nothing, I'm just paranoid.

I wasn't actually "racing" the 25K the next day either. This was my last long run of marathon training. The race is 15.5 miles so the plan was to run 4.5 before the race and then use then take advantage of the water stops during the race. Except again, I found it hard not to want to attempt to compete.

First off, I miscalculated my pre-race run and ended up doing 5.5 instead of 4.5. As I approached the start line I could hear them announcing 8 minutes to race time. Shoot! Then 4 minutes, and I started to pick up the pace. So NOT what you want to be doing when you have 15+ miles ahead of you. I got to the start line with enough time to eat a gel, drink 2 glasses of water and take off. While everyone else was excited and took off on mile 1 I stayed the ever-so-slow pace and was working on mile 6.

My mile times for the first 10 miles were 11:12-11:30. And it got hot fast. And it was lonely. I've run every long run this season with my group. I missed them. It wasn't long before I was amongst the last runners. But I forbade myself to look back, repeating over and over that this is not a race. It's not your race. By mile 18 (mile 12.5 for the racers) I'd had it. I didn't think I would make it around Lake Harriet one more time. But what else are you gonna do? My average pace slowed way down for the second 10 miles. Backwards from what I wanted to do. A 72 year old lady beat me. Total Tortoise and the Hare situation here. I would pass her, then walk and she would pass me again. Next thing I knew she was out of sight and I was strugging to go a half mile at a time.

So I finished. 21 miles in 4:11. 5 to go for the marathon and I have mixed feelings about that. It's weird. Of course I'll make it. No doubt there, but will I like it? Does it get easier after your first marathon? Like maybe knowing what's in store helps a little? Or you become a better runner or something? Or maybe 1/2 marathons are in fact "where it's at".

Only time will tell. But in the meantime....bring on the taper!