Marathon Day – A Race is a Journey, not a Destination?
Can you hear the Rudy soundtrack playing in the background? If not, click here, and listen while you read (note: this is entirely optional – I’m just trying to add drama here. Is it working?) Apologies for the lengthy post – I promise, most will be shorter. But seriously, if I can run 26.2 miles, you can spend an extra 5 minutes staring at your screen right?
Anyway, when it comes to long races, I always tell myself a race is a journey and not a destination (thank you Steven Tyler). To me, it’s never really about the finish line or the crowds, but how I can work through obstacles mentally to finish strong. Well, in this race, it was certainly a battle until the end, but it just felt even sweeter when I crossed the finish line. I’m going to break down the race in chunks and recap my thought process at the milestones. I’m hoping the recap will be helpful and entertaining and NOT self-indulgent. Please let me know. I need all the help I can get on this blog.
Miles 1-6: Girls like me, baby they were born to run…
I’m feeling invincible so I run 8:15/mile. So what if it is 30 seconds ahead of my pace. I can hack it. I’m with the 3:40 pace group but they are going a little faster to make up for the hills. Eminem is blasting in my ear about how “success is my only mother f**** option” and I totally agree. The hill at mile 6 = a slow steep version of marathon torture, and I also realize I shouldn’t have discarded my Target sweatshirt and gloves at mile 4, as it is FREEZING. The tides may be turning…
Inner Monologue (What I said to myself in my head….):
- You are invincible. You were born to do this.
- Wow, the pace leader for the 3:40 group is kind of hot. Wouldn’t it be cute if I met my future husband this way?
- OMG maybe I can get 3:35…maybe I can be in the Olympics…maybe I’m some kind of phenom runner and I never knew it.
Miles 7-13:It’s gonna be a long way to happiness
Should have paced myself. I feel the way I would normally feel at mile 20 and I’m starved. The 3:40 pace group ditched me after the hill at mile 6, so I’m all alone. Bye bye dreams and future husband. Should have had a bigger breakfast, and it appears I missed the first GU station. I consider stopping with all of the half marathon people but then I realize the race will get better for me once I get rid of them because many of them are going faster than me and I pretty much hate them right now. I turn off my iPod to listen to the crowd for a bit, since I’ve heard the crowd support decreases in the second half anyway. They are no help – they tell me the finish line is just around the corner. I want to yell back at them “No you lazy idiots – I am running the full marathon. PS – Stop eating your breakfast in front of me – that is cruel” I turn my iPod back on. Pace has slipped to about 8:45/mile.
- Ok, apparently, am not a phenom. I will settle for average at this point.
- What if I don’t finish – omg, am I a failure at life?
- I should have eaten two of those loaves of bread last night…
- Is that the White House? S*** I can’t tell and I don’t care.
- Why am I STILL running against the wind…Who can I blame for this?
- Why is it STILL freezing…Who can I blame for the temperature?
- Why are SOOOO many people passing me?!
Miles 13-20: I’ve become so numb…
Suck down GUs at mile 13 and rid myself of all of excess half marathoners. Yippee! These next miles are pretty blurry, but I I know there are a few times in here will I still considered stopping to walk. However, visions of my Jewish mother at the finish line saying, “Glad we got here early Jaaaaaamie. I thought you said 4 hours, not 6.” Side note: My mother is the sweetest, most supportive mother ever, and she never would have said this. Clearly, what I like to call “marathon delerium” is kicking in…Eminem/Dr. Dre “I need a Doctor” is blasting into my ears, and I couldn’t agree more. I start to make it a “water station race.” I make myself run as fast as I can to the water stations every 2 miles and then walk for about 10 seconds at each station to drink my water and eat some more of that delicious Vanilla GU.
- This Vanilla GU tastes like blueberry pie right now. Must refuel, give me another!
- Just get to mile 20 and you can walk if you REALLY need to…
- Suck it up Hammy (nickname)! You’ve got friends that have given birth to children. This is NOTHING.
- I just MAY be able to pull this off, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves Hamster (nickname).
- What would Rudy do right now?
Miles 20-26.2: I’m a Machine Head – breathe in, breathe out!
Throughout the race, I told myself I could walk at Mile 20 if I really wanted to, knowing that once I made it that far, I’d want to keep going. I get to mile 20 and tell myself that in less than an hour, if I keep running, I get to see my whole family, plus my best friend Michelle, who ran in the half marathon. I start to notice 3:50 and 3:55 pacers around me, and I realize my goal of under 4 hours is still within reach. I’m starting to feel in the groove again, even though I’m going a little slower. I ask a pacer about the hill at mile 24 and start to psych myself up for a steep one. Luckily, it’s not as bad as I thought! Around mile 25, Michael Bolton “Go the Distance” comes on my little pink iPod, and I know I’ve done it (cheesy but true). Once I see the finish line, adrenaline kicks in, and I start to sprint. I see the clock is under 4, I know I’ve met my goal, and I’ve never felt so good.
- If this was easy, everyone would do it!
- Finish strong and you can have a beer for breakfast (ohhh, I hope the restaurant has Coors Light…I’ll settle for Bud Light though…)
- Do NOT let that girl in the black pass you, Hammy.
- FINISH LINE! Must…run…faster.
Clearly music and mantras helped me get through this one.
Question: What words and music do you use to get you through tough races?