Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Different Beast

Well, I did it. I finished my first marathon, Grandma’s Marathon, on Saturday. First of all, I have to say thank you to my family for putting up with this hair-brained scheme. Secondly, I have to say thanks to M., L, E., and J. for letting me join their band of merry makers. Without you, I never would have been convinced that; a) a marathon would be a good idea, b) that I could complete it, and c) that training and the race would be fun. During training I raced a couple of half marathons, a 5K and did a sprint triathlon, but the full deal was a completely different beast.

The race did not go as I envisioned it, not at all due to training - because I finished the thing without injury - but due to rookie mistakes and weather. I admittedly had lofty goals going in, but they were all tempered by the acknowledgment that everything was up for reassessment on the starting line and any time during the race. The facts are: I went out too fast; I didn’t remember to use my gels consistently, probably didn’t drink enough electrolyte drink and was hammered by the sun. Recognizing all those factors I am extremely satisfied with my time of 4:03:02 (chip).

I found out a lot about myself and running a marathon. It certainly was a humbling experience. I have more respect for those people who run a marathon well. I also, learned that I have a high pain tolerance and willingness to tough it out. I can’t say I had any thoughts of dropping out. As long as I could run once in awhile between walking, I was determined to keep going. In the midst of it, it was a miserable experience – painful, frustrating, hot. Those last two miles felt like a Death March. But I finished running and never during or now, after, have I thought, “I will never run another marathon again.” It is a puzzle I am determined to keep working at – like the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle. I know that I will never solve the whole thing, but it is fun to see how far you can get.

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