2010 was the year of the marathon for me. I had 2 great races (Grand Rapids and Columbia City) where I set a new best time for myself at 4:22. I had 2 not-so-great-puking races (South Bend and Presque Isle). 2011 was the year of pregnancy and the half marathon. I wasn’t really sure what to expect for this marathon, since I hadn’t run one in awhile. And I knew my training hadn’t been enough. I hadn’t logged enough miles, I hadn’t hit some crucial long runs, and I overall had been feeling pretty tired and clumsy. All the same, I lined up on Saturday feeling a mixture of dread and optimism. I knew the marathon could be long and brutal. I’d had those races. I also knew it could be enjoyable and challenging (in a good way). I’d had those races, too.
The Carmel marathon was probably a bit more toward the long, brutal races, but not completely. The first 10K felt pretty good. I was running conservatively but felt like I had locked into a decent pace. Around the 8 mile mark my stomach felt a little unsettled, but not enough that I was throwing up. By mile 12 I was pretty tired. I knew I would probably see Dave and Melody (my sister-in-law) around mile 18 or 19, so I basically just counted down the miles until then. I talked with a few other runners. I ate GU chomps. I drank water and powerade. I took a few short walk breaks. I knew I would need to walk part of the race since I wasn’t prepared, so walking wasn’t defeating for me or something I beat myself up about. I took a short break and then jumped back into running. I told myself to “run what I could.” And I’m pleased to say that I really did. Sometimes I can be prone to just give up and walk once I’ve started, but I really did a good job of running what I could and walking what I needed.
Just before mile 19 I saw Dave and Melody. I immediately started crying because I was tired and really really didn’t want to take the energy to gut out the last 7 miles. They gave me some extra tissues, encouraged me, and I set off again. The next few miles were pretty uneventful. I ran with the 5:00 mile pace group for a mile or so, but then they passed me by. I knew I probably wouldn’t catch them again, which was a little sad. By mile 23 all I could think about was laying down on the grass and taking a nap. It was cold and windy, but an outside nap sounded so wonderful. My head felt fuzzy – when I thanked policemen standing at intersections I felt disconnected from my words – like I wasn’t sure what was coming out of my mouth. I started two-fisting powerades after that, suspecting I was maybe a little dehydrated and needing some extra oomph. I walked a lot of the last 3 miles. I ran what I could, but I walked a lot. I had no energy, no juice. I tried to walk as fast as I could to get there. And then finally I found the finish! 5:07:02, 11:44 pace.
It’s not my best time, but I’m happy with it. I tried to enjoy the race as best I could, I didn’t get too in-my-head and psyche myself out, and I ran all that I could (I didn’t give myself the easy-out)! And hopefully I’ll have some pictures soon, once the race photographers put them up! (I imagine I’ll look very tired.)