Last weekend at about this time I was putting the finishing touches on Flat Me, making sure everything I needed for Portland Marathon race day was ready:
Earlier in the day, Trish and I had gone to the Expo. She’s a lifelong runner, has done countless marathons (and is running GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon tomorrow!). We met up with a couple other Pip runners, and had a great time. After that, we split a burger since it was already late and we’d be meeting up with our guys and the water boys for dinner. MY prerace dinner is usually a high-quality Totino’s Pizza and a beer, but Trish vetoed that and we ended up at The Rock, Wood Fired Pizza. A little more expensive than my usual party pizza, but still tasty (and they would probably be horrified to be compared to each other).
Once back at the hotel, the boys headed out so I could get to sleep (thank you!). No problem. Know why I got to sleep?
The marathon was STILL not on my bucket list. It was really just a long training run to me.
Morning came, I had my trusty Chia Seed pancakes (I froze them at home and brought them with me), PocketFuel’s Chocolate Espresso Almond Butter and a banana for breakfast and off we went. Zero traffic meant my guy was able to drop me off at the corner of the Hilton where most of us were meeting.
Still no nerves, just boggled that we are heading out to run 6.2 more miles than our last long run. Melinda and I ran the first mile or two together, then she made a break for the porta-potty and I kept going.
My Tuesday night running buddy Lynn, also a multi-marathoner (you should see her medals!!!), told me that if I felt my pace was good in the first couple miles…I was going too fast. Best. Possible. Advice. In fact, my first 10 miles were amazing, and my pace was strong (approx 11:30 avg).
And then I ran into a couple of the other Pip Runners who were switching to run-walk (K’s leg started bothering her for a bit so they were switching it up). Their run pace is faster than mine, so we did a little leap frogging for a while. You know what can really mess with your race pace and mojo? Yeah…. so I walked when they ran to ensure I wouldn’t catch back up. It was time for a gel anyway, so I was good.
I knew going in I was going to walk the big hill to the St John’s bridge at about mile 14-15, but 13 was a little bit of a struggle mentally, so I walked and stretched a bit trying to get my head back where it should be. I surfed a little Facebook as I was coming up to the hill, got a pep talk from Lynn via text, had a couple messages from my Sub30 friend Bryan, got a HUGE shout-out from my running friend Angela (who is a total badass and was in Rome at the time) and a text from my guy telling me I was doing “wicked awesome”! These were just the pick-me-ups I needed, so off I went.
Not more than .2 miles later, Melinda came up behind me and was super happy to catch up. She’s awesome and we’ve run some of our long runs together, so our pace is pretty compatible. We walked up to the bridge and caught our breathe as we took in the view!
And then….it was mostly downhill from there. Literally and figuratively. We ran, then walked a bit, then ran a bit and then walked. It was hot, in the 70’s, and we were tired. Even worse, we were admitting out loud that we were tired.
At mile 21 we met up with my guy, the water boys, Trish & her husband. Trish wanted to run the last 5 with me because she figured after 21 solo, I’d be ready for some friendly motivation. Trish has legs that are about 2.6 miles longer than mine, so at the pace we were ‘running’ she was walking. And, she’d already run 11 that morning.
To her credit, she did ask several times before we headed out if I was sure I wanted her to come with us. I’ve known her for 40 years, this was as big of a deal for her as it was for me. I was sure. And she took pictures!
Quick note: Mile 25 I am holding two “flatties”, Lynn & Bryan. They are laminated and were pinned to the back of my best the whole way, so when I gave my best to Trish and took only my Spibelt to the finish, I had tony pin them and put on my belt. They were ready for their picture!
After 22, I convinced Melinda to go on. All the walking had really messed with me so my right knee and left hip were bothering me. I didn’t want to crush her race groove just because I watched my A & B goals slip away.
At 25.6 Trish had to split off because I was going to be running in the participant only chute to the finish. She ran along side and cheered me on – super cool! And she was running, because so was I. Cruel joke that it was, I felt GOOD running. So good, my last .47 mile pace was right back to my pace from the first 10 miles. Damn.
It’s taken me almost a week to come to terms with what was a big let down. And then I remembered a couple REALLY big things:
- Doing a marathon was NOT on my bucket list
- That said, I DID finish 26point2 freaking miles. Upright. Smiling. Doing a “Rocha” (airplane across the finish line).
- The next day I felt really good and had no problem going up OR down stairs.
- The day after that, I ran 3 easy miles. And they felt great.
- Two days after that, I ran the 2.21 mile loop in my neighborhood that I haven’t run in ages – in my 2nd fastest time EVER (10:10 pace).
- I trained and ran a marathon… uninjured. That WAS my goal.
- Goal accomplished!
So now what? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve already been on Gametiime searching races (trails and shorter distances) and adding to my wish list.
And even better? Next week I WILL be doing something on my bucket list. I’m going to Pennsylvania for Runner’s World Half & Festival with 160+ members of the Sub30 Club, and I’m running the “Dirty Hat Trick”. Which equals, as luck would have it, 26.2 miles over 3 days & 4 races.
Let the wild rumpus begin!