The Marathon Recap Pt 1

23 Oct

“Is there a wait for a table for 5?”

“Not for a marathon girl.”

I glanced down at the medal around my neck. Marathon girl. Me.

Even now, over a week later, I am still amazed by the fact that I did it. I ran an actual, full, freaking marathon. I can call myself a marathoner. Whoa. You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging for ages and ages. Life is super busy when you’re training for a marathon, working full time,  in grad school, and completing a residency. Life is still as busy as ever, even with the marathon over, but I hope to blog more than I have been lately. I digress…

It all started with a post from Liz at One Twenty Five about running a marathon, specifically the Chicago Marathon. I’ve been following Liz for a while now – seeing her adventures, following her running story. This marathon, by the way, was her 4th full one. Color me impressed! I had been so in awe of her dedication and accomplishments with her previous marathons. In fact, my New Year’s Resolution for 2012 was to run a half marathon. At the time, 13.1 miles might as well have been to the moon, it seemed sooo far. And then around February of that year, I was laid off. And let me tell you something, having no schedule, no job, no actual reason to change out of pj’s in the morning, made for one reeediculously lazy me. And despite having all the time in the world to train, somehow that 13.1 mile race never did happen. I should have tackled that goal with no pesky schedule to get in my way. I know, I know, turns out, I’m a little insane. Eventually, I was hired, and got out of my slump. Despite not loving my current job, and complaining about a lack of free time, re-hashing my unemployment experience is a good reminder for me that I do seem to thrive on schedules.

Reading the post about running the Chicago Marathon lit a fire under me. I decided to sign up. I remember sitting at my desk at work, feeling a nervous excitement, texting Kris, emailing my mom, and then really deciding. I still had a month or so before the registration opened, but I knew I was going to do it. And come Feb 19 I was ready at 12pm CST to actually sign up. And then I couldn’t. And couldn’t. And couldn’t. Turns out, this year so many people wanted to sign up for the marathon that the server crashed. I was so anxious about actually getting signed up. How sad to decide to commit to something so huge, and then not be able to simply because I couldn’t sign up. After a call to my mom she was able to put me through with her iPad…twice. Luckily it wasn’t too difficult to get the duplicate entry’s refund back. I was just thrilled to actually get in.

After a few hours, Marathon officials opted to close the registration. Those like myself lucky enough to get in were in. Whew! But there were several thousand who found themselves without a registration. The reminaing 15,000 entries were handled on a lottery system. Unforuntately, not everyone interested in the marathon was able to get a registration. Chicago, up until now, was the only World Marathon in the United States to have registration on a first come, first serve basis. This very well may change next year, and who knows how they’ll arrange it. For me, not having to have a “qualifying time” was one of the appeals of this particular marathon. From registration, my only goal was to finish in time to be counted. From what I understand, many marathons have a cut off time of 5 hours and 30 minutes. Chicago’s is 6 hours and 30 minutes which totally benefits pokey people such as myself. That being said, I simply wanted to be able to count. To run this thing in under 6 hours and 30 minutes. To many  probably all marathon runners, that is practically running at a snail’s pace, but still, for me, it seemed like a big challenge.

This book helped me a lot. It added humor to this giant feat I placed in front of myself. I mean, just look at the cover. Hilarious. It called to me. I also joined a marathon training clinic through a store called The Running Room. It’s a Canadian company, but there are a few stores in the twin cities and one in West Des Moines for all my Iowa friends!

The 16 week training program put me with a small group of runners who all were better and more experienced than me. I had never even done a half! I remember being sooo nervous at work before the evening of my first session. What was I doing? I signed up for a MARATHON? Holy shitballs. It got super real that day. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a lovely picture of myself after that day’s first run. Which was, ahem, only 3.5 miles. It was a HARD 3.5 miles, and at that point I knew I was in for a lot, a lot, a lot of work.

RR1

Week after week we had sessions from everything from nutrition to injury prevention, each session concluding with a run. Being the slowest member of the group could be really disheartening at times. At one point I almost quit the group, vowing to continue on my own. Fortunately, I came to my senses and did not quit. As difficult as it could be sometimes, I was conditioned to push myself. It can be easy to back off on runs when alone.

Another huge challenge I faced was what was diagnosed as neuroma, which is honestly just a compressed nerve that made my feet numb when I ran. Running with numb feet was so discouraging. Being aware of every step, the tingling, sometimes painful throb on the pavement. I ended up getting (holy, expensive!) custom orthotics, which are these solid inserts that fit into my running shoes. They keep my feet stable, which prevents the nerve from getting compressed. These took some serious getting used to. Because on the one hand, while they keep my feet stable, the transition to running without your foot being able to move was quite painful. After some time, this did get better, but especially on my long runs, I would come home with achy, sometimes bruised, feet.

Photos from Running

Leading up to the marathon, I was so anxious. How would it go? The worst part for me was feeling like I didn’t have a sense of how the day would go. I was filled with a mix of dread and excitement leading up to Chicago, and though I feel as though I didn’t train as much as I needed to, given my schedule, I was as ready as I was going to be.

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One Response to “The Marathon Recap Pt 1”

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  1. The Marathon Recap Pt 1 | Purplecrayondraws's Blog - October 23, 2013

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