Well, it’s done. After 16 grueling weeks in which my body did not know what to do with the new training regimen provided by Xplora Team, I crossed the finish line and it took me 4:11:50. As you, my smart reader can clearly see, this is almost 12 minutes short of my goal. Yet, let’s dissect that a bit.
A sub 4 hour marathon has become my holy grail. That thing I aspire to achieve, hopefully soon. It’s part of the reason I decided to tackle this marathon with a trainer and why moving forward, I will attempt to continue to beat this time even if I think I may need to find a new way to do it. If you have been reading my blog you know that this is my third marathon. So far, I have done:
The Marine Corps Marathon – 10/28/18 – 4:50:12
The NYC Marathon Marathon – 11/3/2019 – 4:24:14
The Carmel Marathon – 4/3/21 – 4:11:50
All three have provided differing challenges, but all three, have had me in the same boat when I near mile 20. For the first Marathon I trained exclusively with my sister. So, we ran at the same pace and did the same things. The NYC Marathon was just for me and I trained my heart out but without accountability. The goal was sub 4, but adrenaline got the better of me at the start and I burned out hard.
This past weekend for the Carmel Marathon, I had a dedicated plan. A plan I was sure would work and get me that coveted, to me, sub 4. Again it did not work! Not because the plan was flawed, I personally think that it was a great plan that could and should have gotten me the goal. Yet, as you may already know from reading my posts, foot injuries were a common occurrence during my training and they did not stay away or get any better on Marathon day. I ran with pain, for the last 2 months of training. I did not know what running without pain was anymore and the last 5/6 miles of this marathon brought all that pain to the forefront with force. To the point I cried multiple times thinking I was not going to be able to finish. That I would have to be picked up from the side of the road, crying like a baby whose toy has been taken away.
Miles 1 through 13.1. The marathon as you will see at the end of this was two loops. The first loop was with the people doing the Half Marathon, and the second loop alone. The last 2.5 miles of both loops were the same. I ran hard in my training and it included many many hills. Elevation gains became the vain of my existence. When my coach researched the marathon, he told me, this is ok man, the Carmel Marathon will be rather flat. So, you will be all the stronger for it. This was an outright LIE. Not by my coach, but by the elevation picture provided by the Carmel Marathon people. See!
I had a plan, so elevation or no, the plan was going on without a hitch the first 13.1. I ran at the indicated paces. I ran a bit TOO fast the first 2 miles, but not by much, in the end though, I still felt like everyone and their mother was passing me by. Yet I stayed true and those same people that flew by me to start, I eventually gained on with my steady pace. I kept myself between 8:50 and 9:00 the entirety of those 13.1. I think it did help that I ran with a gaggle of people the whole time and even though I think I ignore all around me. The people, not the spectators those were not present. But the other racers, help immensely.
Miles 13.1 – 19
I stayed sort of fine. One mile would be sub 9, the other slightly above 9. But always still within the range indicated by my coach. It worked very well for me. Then, pain!!! and the wheels came off. It started as just not being able to tune it out any more and conforming my stride to try and avoid it.
Miles 19 – Finish
By mile 23, I had tears in my eyes at time and any slight hill or anything that could cause further discomfort took me down. That could be a hard turn, or a U turn of which there were a few. The last 2.5 miles or so where exactly the same route I had already run to finish the first half and that does no good to an already jaded psyche. I committed myself to no more walking at Mile 23, but quickly broke that when a massive hill showed up right before mile 24. Then again when we were about to exit the Monon trail for the last half mile. It was a straight right turn and I walked it! A nice girl, yell at me as she passed me by. We are almost there! I knew that of course, but hearing that allowed me to finish running and pushing myself all so slightly at the end.
Even before crossing the finish line. 1. I knew I had PR’ed even if I did not hit my goal. 2. I knew the constant pain would stop or at least the stabbing would stop. 3. I cried, and was at one part overjoyed to end it, and another part of me was happy to have finished against what just 30/40 minutes earlier seemed like insurmountable odds.
The best part is that I did not finish telling myself never again like the NYC Marathon. I need to break 4hrs, and I need to continue to run. I just think I need to figure out other ways to do it. I think a start is to check out Galloway’s book on the run/walk method. We will see, until the next race! I see you NYC Marathon!