Friday, September 14, 2012

I Took a Vacation Day To Run My Own Marathon...

I'm still working on the design of the finisher medal (note: singular), but I'm thinking it'll strongly resemble a wine bottle.

Please allow me to take you on the journey of my first ever solo training marathon.

I had 24 miles on my schedule this week as my long run. Due to Caitlyn scheduling, I had to do it today. I was leery of the timing as I just completed 24 miles this past Sunday up at Pumpkinman, but had no choice. Then when I was mapping out my route last night I thought "hey - why do 24 tomorrow when I can do the full 26.2?". Logical, no? Doing that would also bring my 7 day total mileage to something that started with an 8, and ends with a 0. I know this is only because of the close proximity of super long runs, but I'll take it; I've never seen that number before!  And with that the route was set, cue card made, and to bed I went!

I got up at the hour of ungodly thirty, and went through the motions. I've struggled with nutrition always, so I'm always changing up blocks/gels/beans/etc hoping I'll find the magic potion. Grabbed a fistful of nutrition, $5, my handheld and headed out.

I repeated "stupid slow" and "let the run come to you" no less than 10 times the first mile. I wanted to make sure I had my legs at the end, and that I didn't start chasing the carrot. I glanced down at my Garmin Timex at the mile 1 mark and thought "man I do stupid slow well, they should give out award for THAT.".

My legs usually decide to join the party around mile 4 or 5, so I was waiting to pick them up around the fire station. Two terrible things happend as I past the fire station: (1) my legs were smoking butts and drinking Octoberfest, and (2) there were no firemen outside. Grump. My stomach was also crampy, but there was no way their could have been anything left in it by this point! I used nature's bathroom anyway, took a gel, and moved on.

I continued my feeble attempts to spin the cobwebs out, and when I got somewhere around mile 13/14ish, I pulled over. I had a come to Jesus speech with myself that went something like this "you've done this distance before. Just because you're alone and it's harder doesn't mean you can give up. No, you can not use that $5 to get a cab home. No, you cannot hitchike home. So whatever it takes, you're finishing this damn run. Doesn't matter if it takes 5 hours". And with that, I stormed off, mad at myself.

It's funny how the negotiations between your mind and body don't only happen during races. There was a lot of "if you can run the next 15 minutes straight without complaining, you can pick up the expensive bottle of wine tonight". "the fire station is only 2 miles away. You don't want to WALK by a fire station, that's just embarrassing". "the really fast runner chick lives around here, and you don't want HER to see you walking do you?". And the reason I was doing this? While my legs were tired as hell, they weren't in pain or feeling awful. It was all in my head (and my stomach); it was damn hilly and damn hard to run this long solo. Plain and simple. And I have GOT to learn how to fight through that. If this were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Once I hit 20, and I was on one of my favorite roads, the demons started to give up the fight. While I was exhausted, both mentally and physically, I knew I was going to finish the run. And I did. The crosswalk in front of my house provides me with the best finish line ever.

There was no fanfare, no spectators,no timing clock or finisher medals. As I stopped my Garmin Timex, a small smile spread across my face. I just ran my first training marathon. It was hard, exhausting, and many times I felt like quitting. Instead, I continued to put one foot in front of the other, and fought for every last mile.

Happy Training!


  1. Nice to see that grin again :) Awesome job!

  2. Wow, this was almost like reading a race report! Amazing job! I think that's a pretty awesome recap from your day...and a 26.2 mile training run, well that's just amazing!!

  3. Wow awesome for you! 80 miles last week? I did 1.5 :( but mad props for dropping heat in the shrubbery outside the fire station. It's amazing that the fire men don't come out to cheer for you after seeing something like that! ;-) anyways great work.... You do rock as Jill said perfectly.

  4. I'll say it again -- you are effing incredible. To complete a full marathon all by yourself with no cheering squad, no running partner, just you and your mind (damn those mind games!!) and the road. Amazing test of your strength, endurance and just how badly you WANTED those miles yesterday. And ps. you look so proud in that picture, as you should be!! xoxo

  5. You are amazing and inspiring!!!!!!

  6. Wow. Just stumbled across your blog and what an amazing post! I've run 22 miles before in a training run but never thought about running an entire marathon. There is something unbelievably cool in doing that all by yourself and all for yourself. Awesome!

  7. Awesome job! And I love the mantra "stupid slow" :)

  8. This is incredible. Congrats! I can't imagine running the marathon distance in training...I really admire all of you ultra runners. I really loved reading your thoughts from the run - although it's never fun to hear about someone struggling, it's awesome to see how you got through that and quieted the demons in order to finish what you set out to do. Congratulations!