Happy National Runner’s Day! What better way to honour today than to finish my writing my race recap. I’m most certainly not going to celebrate it by going for a run…I’m still a bit too sore for that! I still can’t believe it’s over…I’ve looked forward to that race for weeks and weeks. Now it seems almost like a dream.
I hadn’t been feeling well for quite a few days (and had little sleep) so I had a headache, back pain, and stomach uneasiness during the first few miles of the marathon. Then the running cramps came…so I took my second pain killer hoping it would stop all of that quickly. It seemed to help everything but the cramps.
A while ago, my hairdresser had run a half marathon so she gave me a juicy, little trick to stop cramps (don’t hairdressers know everything!). Tums. So I threw a few in my pocket to see if they helped. Those cramps seemed to stop pretty soon after I sucked on a couple. Maybe, just maybe…I have discovered something that might work for me and my annoying running cramps. I ran the first couple miles pretty close to one of my brothers and he suggested that I raise my hands over my head to stop the cramping…I guess I felt too ridiculous to keep them up for too long, so I still have no idea if that works or not.
It’s funny, often the first 6 miles of running feel “out of rhythm” for me. I feel like my breathing is shallow and that I’m not getting enough oxygen…but once I get in the groove, it all seems very mechanical. That’s how it was for this race, that is, until my calf and thigh muscles started to seize up and get super tight. I started using stretching when the tightness was too much for me, which really seemed to help.
As for my knee pain, it was gone! One of my brothers prayed for my knee before the race and the whole 26.2 I had no pain, but once I stopped moving my knee started bothering me again. God was so gracious to answer that prayer!
The race had an intense, long, drawn-out hill which was a challenge. I have a little secret. I did next to nil with hill training. I know, it’s bad. I should have, but I didn’t. This race course had a good range of inclines, so that was a challenge for me…so I walked up hills when I needed to.
I used to feel that walking isn’t what runners do and that you are not a real runner if you walk. I realize now that this is pish posh. I ran my last half marathon without stopping because that was my goal, but if I hadn’t…it wouldn’t have changed the fact that I’m a runner. I knew that in this marathon I would be walking. For myself, I know that I actually have a better time overall if I walk once in a while. It seems that if I do a fast walk in between, I actually run a little faster. It also makes the run more fun for me…if I force myself to run, run, run and not stop it becomes torture. I wanted this marathon to be fun too, especially since I’m not sure I’ll run one again.
Intake during the race:
I have to admit that around mile 13 I felt a little discouraged. I realized that my two brothers had finished their half and that now I had to go and run a half marathon all over again and yes, I was tired. But I chose not to think about it and just keep going. I believe that our mind runs a race almost more than our legs…we can do so much more than our body thinks we can.
Around that time, my parents and my sister had finished their first 5k. I am so proud of them! My parents did the whole thing together and my Mom loved it! My sister ran the whole thing without stopping and she had a great time! Now she’s thinking of doing a 10k sometime…
I was surprised how alone I was for the last 19 miles were. There weren’t as many people in the marathon as the half and of course, since I’m not an expert marathoner I wasn’t exactly leading the pack. I could always see some runners, some way ahead of me and some far behind, but mostly; I was running by myself. I missed the energy of running with lots of people like in the half.
Did I hit the “notorious wall”? Once I passed the 20 mile mark I grinned…I had not “hit any wall”. I felt almost perky, aside from the joint pain in my hips and the burning muscles in my thighs and calves.
I never really looked at my time when I was running. I only had a goal for when I wanted to be finished before and it felt realistic for me. If I felt I needed to walk, I would tell myself that after 1-3 songs was finished playing on my i-pod I could walk for however many seconds. The system worked really well for me. Obviously, as the race went on and my muscles started crying, I walked more often.
Finally, there was one more mile left…I could barely believe it was almost over. Then I saw one of my brothers waiting for me by the road side. He totally made my day and then he made it even better, by hopping on the road with me and running the last mile with me! That was really special. Then with maybe a half a kilometer left in the race I saw my Dad and my sister Anne-Marie waiting for me on a curb…and then they ran the last couple minutes with me…then I saw the finish line!
That was one of the best feelings in the world…crossing that finish line and realizing that my dream had come true (and that I had beaten the man in red, haha). I did it! My time was 5:26 and my goal was not to be over 5:30. Granted, despite my long legs, I`m not the fastest runner in the world. This is something that I really want to get better at (as well as hill training!), but I`m happy with my time. Like I said, I didn’t really have a goal for a time. I just really wanted to run a marathon.
Drinking water after the race…oh my, does water taste wonderful!
All of us who did a race…it was such fun to do this as a family (though all of my family/siblings obviously weren’t there). The whole day was an amazing memory and I`m so glad that I decided to do something out of my comfort zone and run a marathon.
Lately, all I’ve really done for fitness is run, run, and run some more…so now I`m looking forward to expanding my fitness in a different direction. I would like to do more strength training, core work, interval workouts, speed-work, and hill running in substitution of some of my runs.
Thanks for reading about my marathon journey! It was special to share it with you.
What`s a dream of yours that has come true? Do you have any race day experiences you`d like to share with me? I`d love to hear them!
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