I made it to the marathon!!!!!!
The expo was unreal! Usually we walk right in and get our packet, but this year was different. We stood in a line for over 30minutes, winding throughout most of one floor of McCormick Place just to get our COVID-19 vaccination cards checked.
Once into the expo, I picked up my bib, T-shirt and then immediately got into line to get taped at the KT Tape booth. The 45 minute wait was worth it!
We went out for dinner and then went straight back to the hotel where Adam worked on my back for about 20minutes (by the end I could finally turn my head and my back’s pain didn’t keep me up all night. I’ve got a good guy!) and stretched my legs and hips until I went to sleep.
Race day morning I enjoyed a bagel and banana (no caffeine this time!) and headed to the start line. It was everything I could do to keep from crying. After everything that happened in training, I made it. I was finally toeing the line.
I had a goal time. I had a plan for pacing and fueling. Halfway through, it fell apart.
The first half of the race I was on point pace-wise and was feeling pretty good…..until I wasn’t.
My stomach decided it didn’t like nutrition, and all I could get in for the race was 8 salt chews, one gel, one Gatorade and water. That’s not enough.
Marathon officials turned the event from a “Yellow” level to a “Red” level about halfway through. That’s not helpful mentally, being told it’s getting dangerous to run. It also didn’t help running by people on the ground non-responsive to medical personnel (I spoke with a friend the next day who ran the same race and he described it as a “war zone” of bodies, people getting sick, being carried away on stretchers).
I finished 15 minutes behind my goal. To say I was pissed was an understatement. After all the hard work my coach and I put in, how my running had taken center stage in my family’s schedule and diet, I felt as though I had let all of us down.
Reflecting back, I felt as though I was pushing hard through the race, but I just couldn’t get my feet to move faster. I never walked. I held my goal time in the forefront of my brain, but it wasn’t enough.
Afterwards, my whole upper body was sore, more than usual. While I’m sure some of that is because of my poor fueling during the race, but I also believe that it’s because there was a constant wind we had to fight. I also have a black toenail on each foot. Yes, my feet are plenty big, but I think I was working so hard that I clenched my toes to the point of trauma (two days later they are still not like socks, if that offers perspective). My legs and hips are also extremely sore, more than my last few races, so this tells me that I did leave it all out there.
Disappointment. That’s what is consuming me right now. I had a goal. I completely missed the goal. I worked hard for 18 weeks (and long before), and I missed it.
While all training fuels future training cycles, it’s still a hard pill to swallow. Normally I would get right back on the horse and try again. Never give up. But my body has been tortured this year. I must rest. I have never felt more prepared and more beat up pre-marathon.
I’ve started looking for Spring marathons and what other States I can check off my list and what courses look friendly (aka flat). Not quite sure what’s next, but I’m not done.
Happy trails, friends!