As many of you already know, my Boston marathon experience wasn’t all that I was expecting it to be. I appreciate all of your support and encouragement through this entire journey. That is what a marathon is – a journey. It’s not just about the race, but everything that leads up to it as well. When I look back at my training cycle, I feel proud. I went out and gave 100% at every workout. I also had some pretty major life transitions over the 15 weeks of training. Some really good. Some not so good.
So, what happened at the race? I felt so ready at the Starting line. Better than I have ever felt at any race. I don’t know what to say other than my body just wasn’t prepared for that kind of heat. I already decided that this was not going to be a PR day for me. When I lined up at the Start, I was ready to take it slow and just finish feeling good, embracing/appreciating the experience. I was so excited. Well hydrated. Well fueled.
Even though the humidity was pretty low, the sun was so hot. I was already sweating by the time I got to my corral which is really unusual for me even in very warm conditions. It usually takes me about a mile or two in 80 degree weather before I have to wipe the sweat off my brow. I had been training at an 8 minute mile race pace, but decided to take it back and aim for an 8:30 pace because of the heat. I felt ok the first 4 miles: 8:28; 8:26; 8:25; 8:28. I carried a handheld with water and was drinking every ½ mile. I ate a Peanut Butter GU at the 45 minute mark. Then, I noticed my pace really starting to drop 8:40; 8:46; and my breathing was all off. (It gets gross now, so you can skip to the next paragraph if you have a weak stomach.) Just as I passed the 10k mark, I started burping up the Peanut Butter GU. Then, a wave of nausea hit me like a truck. At the 7 mile water station, I went behind the tables and threw up. That has never happened to me before. I was freaked out, but decided to just keep going. The miles kept getting slower with the same amount of effort and I felt like crap…8:51; 9:18; 9:47. I stopped sweating. I kept going. I got the chills. I didn’t know what to do. I stopped and chugged water and Gatorade, took another GU. I kept going. The pace was pathetic. Then, the last straw. My fingers and toes started getting tingly and numb. I stopped to walk. I thought, well maybe I will just walk/run it from here. The tingly sensation didn’t go away and I knew that it wasn’t going to get better. I knew right then, there was no way I was going to run a “respectable” race. I wasn’t going to finish happy or strong. IF I even made it that far. I ducked in a medical tent. They made me lay down, put ice packs on my body, filled me with fluids and I sobbed.
They put me in a van and after a couple logistical SNAFUs, I eventually made it to the Finish where I met my mom, Aunt Jane and Brenda. They had been waiting for me at Mile 17. I felt horrible. I made them take time out of their busy lives to come and watch me and I couldn’t do it. Then, out of the blue, Nora (a CAR teammate) popped up. She had dropped out at Mile 16 but was physically and mentally a little (A LOT) more together than me. She told me that she talked to George and he said we did the right thing. She offered words of encouragement and a hug. Quite admirable for a 23 year old. I found the bag I checked, called George, blabbing nonsense I am sure between the sobs, then got in a cab to head back to the hotel with my cheering squad.
I took a shower, sat in my room and pouted for a couple hours. I called (cried) to Amy. She told me it was ok to feel sad for a bit, but not for too long. Set it aside and move on. That is what I did. It was tough to see everyone walking around with their medals and smiles – although there was a hint of defeat and disappointment in many people’s eyes. No one had an easy or spectacular day.
I kept wondering what I could have done differently. In hindsight, I should have deferred until next year. That did not happen, so instead of dropping my pace my 30 seconds, I should have dropped it to a minute or even 90 seconds if I expected not to crash. It is what it is. Who knows if that would have helped.
“What is next?”…“What redemption marathon will you do?”
I started getting these questions almost immediately. My answer was: “I don’t know.” I decided not to think about it until after Jim’s Memorial Service. I didn’t look up any other races, but did start running again on Wednesday. No watch, no pressure. I just ran because I needed to. I logged 43 miles last week.
I returned home on Sunday and started a pro/con type of list in regards to what I want to do next. I think I had a couple choices: 1) Do a marathon in the next month or two. 2) Call this training cycle a wash and move on. With some help, I have decided on option 2. I invested so much time, energy, emotion, money, etc., into Boston that I don't know if I have it in me to do one again so soon. That line of thinking just leads me to question whether I am just being a wimp/taking the easy way out because I am scared. But, oh well. It seems like such a shame to let all that work go to waste. Was it really a waste though? I have to keep reminding myself that it is about the journey. I have built a solid base; I am feeling more confident on the track; and I have learned so much. Option 2 is the right decision for me.
So really, what is next? Anyone who knows me, know that I am at my best when I have a goal. I can jog around town for about a week, before I start to get antsy. It was recommended that I do Pike’s Peak 10k this weekend. My first thought was, “What?!? Race this weekend?!? Already?!?” I trust though that this is the right thing for me and my running right now.
Thank you all for your notes, texts, emails, tweets, Facebook messages, etc.. I will never be able to express how much your words meant to me when I was feeling pretty terrible. Thank you to my cheering squad for putting up with me. I did have a great time despite the end result. I will be writing a post about the fun too in the next few days!