The difference between my first marathon (2010) and my tenth marathon: one of them I just wanted to finish, and one I was desperately trying to hit a certain time goal so maybe, possibly, I could come close to a BQ. Just wanting to finish was my goal last week, for the running of my tenth marathon. Isn't life freaking funny? Spoiler alert: I did finish, and it was an hour and two minutes slower than my first marathon, and idgaf. The difference between now and then is that I've realized some things can be measured empirically: like the time it takes to finish 26.2 miles, and some things cannot be measured- like mental health.
I could wax poetic about the struggles of having mental health issues and how it affected me, but I'm so over it. I signed up for a marathon, struggled with anxiety & depression and then things got weird and I stopped running, finally saw a therapist, got medicated and now I'm back to normal- maybe even better than normal! Albeit, maybe 10 pounds heavier and slightly out of shape.
Anyways, this marathon. I looked back at my training log and it is pitiful- my longest long run was 16 miles twice, and I averaged maybe 25-30 miles a week on peak weeks (I will mention, I'd go to at least two hours of intense power yoga classes a week). Add to that, I had created a really cute training log journal and then ... very sporadically used it. About a month prior to the marathon, on another botched long run (I was hoping for 20, only got 16) I realized how poorly under trained I was, that it was too late to switch to the half, and that I was just going to have to suck it up and do the full and try to have a good attitude about it.
Fast forward, about a week before running this marathon, I discovered a beautifully fabulous running group in my vicinity- including a trail running group that runs at the very same trails I frequent solo- as well as a group that meets about 5 minutes from my house almost every morning of the week before work. I started with a wonderful 7 mile trail run, then a Tuesday and Thursday 6am run. I am not a morning person. But I RAN IN THE MORNING and I survived, and it actually worked amazingly with my schedule. The more I ran with this group, the more I actually loved running and the more excited I got about this marathon! There were no nerves, no expectations of time, just to finish. I felt so supported and accepted by my new running group, plus feeling like I wasn't the only crazy one in this city.
Packet pickup had me all sorts of excited. Race eve I attended a wedding of my college roommate, but the BF and I snuck out early and went to bed at a reasonable hour. It was basically the ideal pre-race evening even with such a crazy day before the race. I woke up excited and refreshed, and minus some pre-race confusion, the race seemed to start really smoothly. It was like 75 degrees though, and pretty humid. I started two corrals behind where I was placed because I knew I was going to be running a lot slower than originally planned. I took it easy the first half- 9:50 - 10:30 minute miles, felt great! Even when things got dicey around the 17th mile and I needed to refill my water bottle (yes, it was THAT humid) and then got crazy windy, I never once guessed not being able to finish. I got it in my head I'd finish under 5 hours, no matter what it took. And I did- 4:54, and a LOT of chafing and I earned my medal.
I have decided I can't be as obsessively focused on tracking workouts, making crazy detailed plans and doing hard workouts all the time right now, which kind of sucks, but keeping myself half-marathon ready is much more do-able. And hey- new running buddies! I'm looking forward to trying to (attempting) to become active here like the old days of the loop in my sparse free time. Yay, loopsters!