Miles 14 – 16: Excitement. “More than halfway! The pain is somehow subsiding. I’m feeling better than before. How is this possible? Either I’m delirious or I’m just feeling more confident. Realizing that my legs are miraculously holding up and I’m not going to crumble today is a big hurdle to clear. I’m not running any faster, but I feel better overall. MENTAL STENGTH FOR THE WIN!” (Strange-but-true fact about me: the further I am into a race, the better I typically feel mentally. Totally opposite of what it should be, I know. I think I just start feeling like “victory” is within reach.)
Did you notice I was bib # 40? Basically elite.
Miles 17-20: Gratefulness. This was the point at which the loops started to get reallllly boring. A friend jumped in to run a loop with us. “Hi friend, thank you for joining. Please never stop talking. No, I don’t care what you talk about, just pretty-please keep distracting me.” This friend actually kept up with us easily while holding a cup of snacks and wearing a cross-body bag. I’m okay with it.
Miles 20 – 26: Motivation. I tried to rally the troops (well, troop) and focus on a goal I came up with as we approached these last few miles: finish under 5 hours. But poor Meghan was struggling. (For the record, she was on her third marathon in about 5 weeks. Rock star!) We started walking a little more, although I couldn’t tell a difference between the pain when running and when walking. It basically hurt either way. At one point, she shouted “I DON’T WANT TO SEE THIS ICE SKATING RINK AGAIN!” I giggled because it was true…I was so sick of seeing the same stuff over and over (x6). So, I tried a little tough love. I wasn’t sure how she would take it, but thankfully Meghan didn’t scream at me when, in the last mile, I said something like “COME ON. We’re picking it up. Let’s get it done.” (She obliged and still speaks to me to this day. Phew!)
26 – 26.45: Additional frustration and fleeting motivation. “MY WATCH SAYS WE HIT 26.2 ALREADY. WHY ARE WE STILL RUNNING. WHY IS THERE AN UPHILL RIGHT NOW. THIS IS NONSENSE!”
After running every single step together, we eventually finished (did you ever think that moment in this post would come?) hand in hand. It was the BEST feeling to not only stop running, but to accomplish this goal. I’m a Maniac ! Having a pal with a similar goal helped immensely; I could never have done this without Meghan being there every step of the way. Because we both simply wanted to finish and had no qualms with taking it easy and sticking together (no matter what happened, we agreed) our tandem-running worked out well.
Have I mentioned that I don’t appreciate uphill finishes?
Walking to the car was absolutely brutal (we totally got lost in the park) but by the time I got home and took a shower I was feeling almost energetic. I was moving around much better than I did after the NYC Marathon. I was so much less sore in the days following, too. I don’t know the science behind that (slower running? Less effort?) but for whatever reason, I felt good. Giddy, even.
If you’re a “numbers” guy or gal, here you go:
Obviously I was a little off. My actual time was 5:03:31; about 25 minutes slower than NYCM .
We stopped to drink water and walked some of the downhills (a more frequent occurance as the miles ticked off, as you can see) but I’m still happy with our strong finish. I didn’t “crash” and my nutrition was spot on.
Don’t I look stunning?
Still can’t believe I did that. (Glad I did, ’cause look at the medals!) As usual, running has again helped me feel more empowered, strong, and thankful for my health.
What’s one thing you’ve done this year that has made you feel empowered?! Do share!