What a Difference a Year Makes

Treadmill + progression + last mile at 7:09 (wow! for me) pace:

Monday: 6 miles in 49:58
Wednesday: 9 miles in 1:15:21
Thursday: 8 miles in 1:06:31
Friday: 6 miles in 49:33
Saturday: 6 miles in 49:19

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So, a year ago last weekend, our friend Tara and I ran our first fulls (Cleveland Marathon), and Kelly her second. (That’s actually us post-that race in our blog header picture). A lot has changed in a year. Since we didn’t start our blog until last July, we thought it might be worth a little reflection….

Hmmm….how can I sum up that experience, for me, in three statements or less?

1) First and foremost, it was insanely, and by that I do mean INSANELY hot and humid. I believe it was 85 degrees by the time I finished and well over that in %humidity. And that, of course, set the tone for the rest….

2) I started out just fine. I was nervous, for sure, as this was a first for me. I followed Ryan’s advice about maintaining no faster than an 8:45-ish pace to start. I saw my family and Ryan around the half….yet it all kinda fell apart after that. I hit the wall no later than mile 15. And by hitting the wall I mean I had to….I’ll just say it….walk. It was that or collapse or get sick. I know marathons are mental battles, but this felt mostly physical at that point in time. People were going down all over the place due to the heat. I think they may have called the race at one point? I had never, NEVER walked on any of my training runs. Ever. Long runs included. I just didn’t do it. I’m a little neurotic like that. I remember finishing and not feeling like it counted as a marathon because I had to walk way more than just through the water stations. I felt like I failed myself.

3) Everything in my training (despite an early injury), had gone so well…yet when it came down to it, I rapidly went from changing my goal of a sub-4:00 to a 4:05, 4:10, etc. as the miles passed, all the way down to what Kelly calls “Beat Oprah” time.

OK, that was definitely more than three statements or less.

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So THIS I believe is one of the photos my husband group texted to everyone after I finished. Lookin’ good, yes? Not exactly my first choice of post-26.2-finish photo-ops, but it pretty much summed it up quite accurately.

What I learned:

1) Despite everything, this was a HUGE accomplishment. I finished in a more than respectable time, 4:22:22. Be grateful. And be proud.

2) Sometimes, despite doing everything right, circumstances are beyond one’s control. A hard thing to accept, for someone like me with control issues, but it is what it is. Be willing to adjust goals.

3) This was an incredibly humbling experience for me as a runner. When all was said and done, was I a touch disappointed? Yes, maybe. Afraid to try again? No way.

Besides, I was already registered for the 2012 MCM before I ever ran this first one. File THAT under the category of “Who does that????”

35 miles total for the week.

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