Saturday, June 2, 2012

Re-Birth of a Marathon Dream

** or this could be titled, 15 freaking miles baby! 
Last year in October, I was training for the Disneyworld Marathon (my first) when a leg injury forced me to drop out of the race and down to the half marathon. I was devastated. I wrote a blog entitled "Death of a Marathon Dream" and convinced myself that I would never do a marathon because I was too (insert your excuse here)... fat and slow!
But the desire to do a marathon just did not leave me. That weekend I watched my running friend (and former running partner) complete the marathon, along with many of my friends. I kept thinking... if they can do it, why cant I.
So I signed up for another marathon ... Fox Cities Marathon in Appleton, Wisconsin on September 23rd! I also got me a coach ... the elite and run/walk expert Jeff Galloway himself. I promised to do whatever he said until the marathon date.
The month of April-May I ran four half marathons... including the glorious Jailbreak Half where I blew my PR away by 90 seconds. But following my last half May 20th that was literally cancelled because of the heat and people were dragged off the of course ... my confidence was a bit shaken. Starting on May 21st was the marathon training.
So with this in mind, I set out for my planned 15 mile training run today. The weather was nice, although the longer the run went on the more the wind kicked up. Some direct sun but some clouds. Temp was about 60-70 degrees. 
For the first four miles, I was recommend to try and go very slow with intervals of 10 seconds running and 50 seconds walking. I found the short run intervals VERY annoying and during the walk intervals I tried to just stroll ...
At mile 3.7 I crossed a street and headed down a trail. I settled into my usual run/walk intervals and I felt amazing... I was easily turning in optimal mile times, if not running a little bit too fast. Everything was falling into place nicely.
At 6.5 it was the turn around point on the trail and I headed back. Wnd ... wind... and more wind ... definately hampered my times. But I focused on my cadence and the music on my iPod and tried to just relax. I was NOT racing ... just out for a leisurely stroll... yeah right!
At mile 9 my husband met me at the end of the trail with cold water and Gatorade. Note to self, if the temp is not over 70 degrees do not freeze the Gatorade ... I was thirsty about a mile later and everything was still frozen!
Mile 9 until 11 I headed off on the Thrivent road into the wind. The road is known by me as the "I quit trail" because I had many summer training runs that the heat would hit me by this point and I couldnt pass through the trail. Its a very long road that just winds and curves and quite frankly you can never tell where you are on the road. I hate that road...
But I slowly plodded along that road ... and a wave of happiness hit me when I finished that road. I turned and headed down another trail ... slow and sure and steady. Mile 11.5, I realized I was hungry ... ok not hungry but starving! Super duper hungry ... about a quarter mile later I was completely sick to my stomach. I walked it out until the end of the trail for the next quarter mile. Up the hill and to the light post.
I stopped at the light post and just turned my face into the wind. I stood there for a while, took a Gu, and then looked at my Garmin and thought... 2.5 miles to go, you got this. And I head up the road (and a slow incline) to my home destination!
The Jesus Hill loomed in front of me about a mile up the road. I promised myself that I could walk up the hill if I just would keep running intervals until I got to the base of the hill. I was struggling mightily, but I just kept plodding on. Then a great song came on, and gave me the motivation to finish .... 
For The Love of the Game by Pillar 

Consumed by reputation, it’s what they say that gets you down
You find new motivation, inside this new love that you’ve found
It’s now your navigation, to keep your head engaged oh yeah
Your final destination keeps you focused on the win
Count me in, but don’t count me out
You can’t shut me up, you can’t shut me down
Fight through the hurt, fight through the pain
Without the ache there is no gain
We live our lives – for the love of the game
And we will rise, this is our time
Don’t let the changes of our lifetime pass us by
And we will rise, this is our time
We’ll give this everything we’ve got – for the love of the game
Reach for new elevation, and see just how high we can go
Full blown determination we will us further than we know.
My own anticipation keeps the fire from burning out
It’s time for domination; no one will ever take us down
I walked up the Jesus hill ... ran down the hill on the other side and then walked up mini-Jesus hill. I then was able to run intervals all of the way back to my car and finished ... 15 freaking miles baby!
My time was 3 hours and 41 minutes for a pace of 14:45/mile. Yes, I am probably capable of doing a bit better, but I just kept telling myself slow and steady... slow and steady. When I got back to my car I felt a bit dizzy ... but after 1 1/2 bottles of G2 I felt awesome. I posted the run to Facebook and laid down on the ground to put my feet up ... the rush of happiness hit me (ok and exhaustion too)...I just wanted to lay there forever! 
Eventually I got up ... and was craving Tuna Casserole. Stopped at the grocery store to pick some up. Walked past some blueberry muffins but since I dont like them they did not tempt me... all of the sudden my brain screamed at me ... I WANT MUFFINS! I asked the clerk would it be ok to eat one before paying for it ... he said ok but just looked at me like I was crazy.
I stopped at the Deli to get some kabobs. This guy looked at me eating my muffin ... looked me up and down, chortled and said "wow, you couldnt even wait to get home eh." I wanted to punch him, but I was soooo enjoying the muffin. I looked him dead in the eye and said "well after my 15 mile run this morning my body needed some fuel." He didnt say anything more ... but after he walked away the other guy next to me said "wow great run ... and uhh that guy is a douche."
Ya know, before that stuff would have bothered me I did not care! Because the marathon dream is alive and well ... and I finished 15 freaking miles. Two weeks until I go to 17 miles ... and yes the concept of that terrifies me ... but another thought I had while running -- if it was easy, everyone would be doing it -- and "training" would not be necessary!
Sooooo ... one major hurdle completed. The rest we will just take day by day. Only 3/12 months to the marathon ... and almost exactly 6 months until the Goofy challenge (with my bestie RunningAggie)!