Marathon #6 is officially in the books!
While I am still riding the post-marathon high, I can’t believe it’s over. As a runner, there is so much that leads up to a race – the giddiness (and a little flutter of nerves) that comes with signing up, the meticulous development or selection of a training plan, and all of the hours and miles you log as part of that training. This all culminates in one event – one race that you’ve been focusing on with all your might and all of a sudden, it’s the night before, and then you’re running it, and then oh my gosh there is the finish line. You. Did. It! You go, you! This all to say…whether it’s your first, fifth, or fiftieth, enjoy it. Enjoy the process just as much as you enjoy the race.
In all honesty, I signed up for the Northern Ohio Marathon with very little thought. They were running a special (ha) and you all know how much I love a good deal – $26.20 for a MARATHON?! Sign me up!
The doubt and anxiety quickly set in. I had said I was going to be done for a while after #5, and I was in the middle of my dietetic internship. At that point, I was in survival mode – laser focused on school and my rotations. Nonetheless, the prospect of running another marathon was exciting and I knew deep down that it was something I really wanted and could do. It was almost summer, the early morning daylight would make it so much easier to tackle morning runs, and my online classes would be ending before we approached greater mileage weeks. I have come to believe that while we can do anything, we can’t do everything. I focused on quality runs over quantity, and gave myself grace when life happened and training didn’t go as expected.
And guess what? Before I knew it, it was the night before the marathon. I felt calm and ready to rock the race. Tim and I went out the night before to a fundraiser where I happily indulged in alllllll the carbs. On our way home, we popped into the grocery store to grab some items for my favorite pre-race fuel of PB and sliced banana on a slice of toast. I laid out my gear for the morning and hit the hay!
The next morning, I bounced out of bed before my alarm went off and quietly (okay, maybe not so quietly #grace) got ready and left. I enjoyed the dark and calm drive up to Mentor Headlands State Park where the race would begin. Parking was at the state park and was super easy. I zipped over to pick up my packet and jogged back to my car, where I sat and waited until about 15 minutes before the start. It was sooooooo chilly compared to the weather we have been having here in Northeast Ohio!
One of the benefits of starting at a state park = decent bathrooms! There were porta-potties available but since it was a small field and the line was short, I opted to wait in line for the shelterhouse 😉
I made my way over to the start line and found a place just after the 4:20 pacers. A few minutes later, the race began!
The first mile or so of the race takes place in the park, so a lot of spectators who were at the start stuck around to cheer on runners as we began. I opted for no music, telling myself that I would save it for the challenging miles I knew were ahead.
The next several miles flew by as I settled into an easy pace and enjoyed talking to the runners around me. There were some gentle, rolling hills throughout the course and I felt strong and confident as each one approached (thanks, trail running!).
Somewhere around mile 6-7 I started to get into my own head and negative thoughts started creeping in. My quads, knees, and hips were already sore (I’m guessing because I was so cold at the start), and mentally I just wasn’t feeling it. Knowing I had 20ish miles to go seemed so daunting, but oddly doable. I was confident in my ability to finish, I just needed to find joy in the run. After a mile or so of trying to do some positive thinking and self-talk, I realized that the feeling was frustration. I had been holding my pace back and was tired of checking my watch. I was tired of running behind a group but wasn’t confident that with my current pace, I would be able to get in front of them without interrupting theirs. I decided to let myself run by feel over checking the time. I passed the 4:15 pacer and after another mile or so, finally relaxed (yay space!) and settled in to enjoy the rest of the race.
I started thinking about all of the milemarkers and exciting moments ahead…
Mile 13 = Yay it’s podcast time! I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but running + listening to podcasts is one of my favorite things to do. Podcasts: RD Real Talk and The Minimalists (two of my favorites!!)
Mile 17 = You’re back by the lake and you know you’re heading to the finish!
Mile 20 = Yay it’s music time and just over an hour of running to go! I was really trying to get to mile 20 without music, because a) music gives me a serious boost of energy, and b) my favorite running playlist is approximately one hour long – about how long it would take me to get from mile 20 to mile 26!
Whatever it takes, right?
I finished in 4:21:56 – a new PR! I was thrilled to see these two at the finish. Thanks to the best husband ever for always supporting my running endeavors and for driving up to watch me run across the finish line 🙂
(No, we did not get a dog – we were dog sitting for family this weekend).
Thanks for a great run, Lake Health!
Oh, and as for post race plans: