Monday, April 26, 2010
My 1st Marathon (and why I didn't want to write about it)
It's not very often that I'm at a loss for words. I do the word thing pretty well, most days. But it's a lot easier when the words I write are for someone else to use. When they are words for me, about me, it gets a little harder. The words are now personal. And me, I become vulnerable.
I've wanted to write about my first marathon since I ran it on April 25, 2010--the 10th annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. But the words weren't falling into place like they usually do.
When I write, my fingers can't pound out the words fast enough. My brain is in overdrive. I know what I want to say and I can't type it fast enough for fear that I won't capture all those words swirling in my head. The words spill out effortlessly on the page.
Why not now? I just ran my first marathon--something I have been looking forward to, training hard for. But I don't want to talk about it.
For the past days, I've been dodging questions of my family, friends and co-workers, "how did it go?" They got the fake smile and "Good, it was good," as I pray, please don't ask me anything more. I got a lot of praise, a lot of "I'm proud of you." Yet, why do I feel I didn't deserve this? I think to myself, "Don't be proud of me. I'm not proud of me."
The race was one of the best supported I have ever seen--a water stop every mile, crowds cheering you on virtually everywhere on the course. There couldn't have been a better run race. I just wish I ran it better.
Things started great. I was running a 9:50 min pace. I kept thinking about what Coach Jeff told me. Think of the race in 3-mile segments. If you're off pace, you have 3 miles to get back on. It worked really well for me. I kept focused and adjusting my pacing through about mile 17.
The course wasn't hilly, but had slight uphills, what felt like the entire race.
The weather was perfect, a little windy, but wasn't bothering me...until we hit the lake at mile 14-17. The wind slowed me down, but I still felt pretty good.
Mile 20, THE WALL. I got very light headed. Part of me wanted to push on through, forget the pain, it's in your head. Go. Then reality sank in. If I don't get something in me besides water, I'm going to pass out. Next aid station, oranges. Hung out for a little bit. Decided I was doing ok. Time to push on.
I get to mile 23 and start crying. I don't cry often or easily. But it seems when I'm really angry, I cry. I looked at my damn watch and realized all that hard work was flushed away. Gone. Can't get it back. There was no way I was going to finish this in my 4:20 goal. I felt like just let the world down. I let me down. Big time. My legs felt fine. Nothing was cramping. I was really tired, but who wouldn't be after 23 miles?
Yet, I felt like I had no excuse for that time I saw on my watch. No injury. No IT band issues. No ankle issues. No knee issues. I got lightheaded. What excuse is that?
I stopped crying. I really don't know what the turning point was. But I thought: shit, you're not first, but you're not last. Finish strong. Take it home.
And I did: 4:35:03, a 10:30 pace.
It's taken me a week to write this with lots of deletes, rewrites and editing. One of the big reasons why I want to write this is I have a lot of people I need to thank.
First my coach, Jeff Kline. I would never had made it to OKC without you. Only had the pleasure of working with you for 2 weeks, but I made it there without injury!
My girlie Marci! She stopped en route to Kansas City to watch me cross that finish line! I love you more than anything!
My VP and co-workers. You guys put up with my juggling meetings, crazy stories, wearing pink KT Tape to the office, and watching me run circles on that track in loud colors.
All my Twitter friends. You all gave me so much support. I thought about you all a lot out there. I'm going to miss someone, but here's a few: Jen, Joe, Josh, Mel, Kris, Doug. You all played a huge role in telling me I don't suck and being uber supportive.
Very special thanks to Glenn. You always had the right words when I wanted to throw the towel in. Thank you for your friendship, your advice and telling me to shut it when I wanted to throw it in.
And to anyone else I missed, I apologize and love you too!
Marathon #1 is in the books. It's not always what you want it to be, but the marathon does one thing. It humbles you and keeps you coming back for more.
Chicago -- 10:10:10 -- It's where I get my revenge. I'm not quitting. Try harder. Do better. My mantra.