It didn't exactly go the way I planned. But then -I have come to learn that races never go as planned. And the longer the race, the more chance that things can go a teeny bit off kilter.
The day of the race was amazing. There were sunny skies. There was no humidity, and it was 40 degrees at the start. It was perfect running weather. Elisa dropped Felice and me off at Central Park in Schenectady. We met up with some other running friends and took a quick picture. And then it was time to line up. Before I knew it the horn was blowing and it was time to go. And off we went. I stuck to my run/walk plan, and the first four miles went by quickly. I knew that around mile 13, I would see Brian, the kids and Elisa. I kept that thought in my head, as the miles went by.
For some reason, miles 5-8 seemed to be incredibly long. I was feeling fine, but I felt like I couldn't find my mo-jo. I plugged along and fought the urge to listen to my music. Instead, I listened to the random conversations of people around me. When I finally came upon Brian and Elisa, it was closer to mile 14, and I was feeling tired and a little warm. I gave Brian my long sleeve shirt and said hi and kept moving along.
After I left them, I felt a little bit more energized and found some mo-jo. I hit mile 14, 15, and then 16.
And that's when it happened. The familiar pain of my IT band. Oh no. How could this happen? How????
My whole training, there was not ONE hint of any pain. Nothing. And now at mile 16 during the marathon, the pain appeared out of nowhere. Really?
I stopped to stretch. I decided that I was going to power through this. No matter what, this marathon would be a better experience than the first one. I ran on and tried to ignore the pain. I hit mile 17. It was a downhill stretch and I came upon Brian and Elisa again. As I ran by, I muttered to Elisa that my knee was acting up. She told me to keep going and she would see me soon. A few minutes later she caught up with me in her car, as I was running on a busy road. She pulled over and rubbed some peppermint oil on my knee. I felt like I had my own personal pit stop crew. The oil helped for a while.
I kept going. It was touch and go from mile 17-21. I spent time running. I walked sometimes. I stretched. I put my music on. I told myself I was bad-ass. I told myself that I could do this.
At mile 21, I was in pain. But I was energized. I was in the home stretch and I was at the 4 hour mark. I would finish this marathon before the course closed at the 5:30:00 mark. Even if I had to walk the last 3-4 miles - I was going to finish it. I met up with Elisa and Brian again. Elisa rubbed me down with some other oils and creams. Seriously. I love that girl. She is an amazing person.
After I got my rub-down, we were ready to go. We had planned that she would run with me during the last 4 miles.I told Brian and the kids that I would see them at the finish line. Off we went.
I wish I could say that those last four miles were blissful and full of amazing feelings. But that wasn't the case. Those miles were tough. My knee was throbbing. My legs were tight. The tops of my feet hurt. I was tired. And I was feeling nauseous. We plugged along the bike path. And finally we hit mile 25. Around mile 25.5, I saw a group of running friends. They cheered me on. They kept me going.
Finally I hit mile 26. I saw more friends, and Brian and the kids. I finished strong. I had done it. I crossed the finish line at 5:03:50. What a difference from two years ago. I took about 36 minutes off my time. I had finished before the course closed. I had finished smiling. I had redeemed myself.
Was it exactly how I wanted it to go?
But you know -it never goes the way you want it to go. That's the thing with running. You just have to take it as it comes. My main goal for this race was for me to finish happy and strong. Despite the knee pain - I still managed to do that.
I crossed the finish line swallowing back tears of pride. I had just run 26.2 miles. And one of the best parts was that my husband and kids saw me do it. I hope I made them proud. And I hope I taught my kids a lesson in perseverance and setting a goal. What an amazing day it was...
|After the race...me and my family|