Rockford Marathon day. After not running for seven weeks, you didn’t know what to expect. You’d signed up last minute and decided to use this as a training run to see where you were at and to gauge the injury. You were pretty confident you could get the thing done, you just didn’t know what kind of time you could pull off. The forecast was hot, humid and possibly storms. You had a few friends doing it as well. Sounded like a party…
Just like usual, you took off too fast. You ran three or four miles and realized you were doing 6:45’s. You needed to slow down. W/ the heat and humidity, you wouldn’t be able to hold that forever. You backed off a bit and tried to find a decent rhythm that would suit you well for another 22 miles or so.
A couple of things you noticed while running (not to be a Debbie Downer, but…)
1. You don’t like running roads. It’s not nearly as forgiving as the trails.
2. You don’t like the marathon distance. You have to run so fast and you can’t walk the uphills.
3. There was almost no shade. Trail runs are full of shade, making a hot and humid day more manageable.
4. It was HOT!
It’s amazing how much time you have to think while running for three and a half hours. You thought about your family. You thought about your future. You thought about your injury over the past couple of months. You thought about how grateful you are to be back running. You thought about your friends. You thought about the mountains. You thought about her. You thought about why you were doing this. Why? And you decided that you must enjoy suffering. Suffering somehow makes you a better person. You love to be on the move while sweating and being out in the sun. You love racing. But suffering teaches you who you are and what you are really all about. And that teaches you more than anything. If you can’t figure out your problems in the time it takes to run a marathon, you aren’t going to find any answers.
So there was the emergency bathroom stop at mile 10. There was the shoe coming untied at 13 and almost tripping. There was the heat that kept telling you to stop, walk the hills, take a little break. But something just a little deeper inside of you kept telling yourself to push. Push farther. Don’t stop and walk just yet. Push. Move. Keep on keeping on. Oh, and there were your friends and crew that drove from aid station to aid station and may or may not have flashed you. For motivation purposes only, of course.
Either way, the day was a success. You finished the race virtually injury free and with a smile on your face. You were ecstatic. You ended up getting a little dizzy afterwards but kept it together. You didn’t puke afterwards like you did at Ironman last year. You cheered a few more of your friends in and just finishing on a hot day like that is an accomplishment. And then you had to rush home and get to work. You may have been a half hour late but you did it. Goals accomplished. And now…on to bigger things…