I had to give myself a couple of days to be able to sit down and write my wrap up without just spewing off how disappointed I am in myself.
That isn’t how I want to end this. I can’t change what happened, but I can change the way I think about it. So I am. Slowly.
I’ll start with the race itself. To be honest, besides the perfect weather, it didn’t even begin good. I had a searing cramp that lingered in my upper stomach from the start for the first three miles that made it hard to breathe in all the way. I was furious and tried channel it until it finally disappeared. I got into a little bit of a groove until mile 13 when we split from the half marathoners. Boy that finish line looked so good. Uh oh, don’t think that, I thought. I could tell at that point my legs weren’t where they were supposed to be. I smiled at Emily (who is a freaking amazing runner herself) as I went by and then really tried to focus. I caught up to the 3:35 pacer around mile 16 and worked hard to stay there, but around mile 18 my legs would not do it anymore. I literally watched Boston run away from me as I ran slower and slower. Then I watched the 3:45 go by…then 3:55. I ran/walked the entire last 8 miles, defeated.
Those last eight miles were awful. I felt like I could barely even walk. I became so thirsty I couldn’t stop drinking which in turn caused my stomach to slosh around. I wanted to see Brian so bad- to just fall into his arms crying. I literally pictured that. Then I thought of Grandma and how she’s told me she wants to give up on her chemo because she’s tired and we won’t let her. I thought how my “fight” for finishing a race is absolutely nothing in comparison to what her body is fighting. I ran for her. And in the last few miles I just wanted my babies. I ran as fast as I could at the moment for the entire last mile- I needed them that bad. It was so emotional for me.
When I crossed the finish line I could not even walk- my leg cramps were ridiculous. I sat on the curb and took in my time of 4:06:03 and cried. Not one other part of me hurt- just my legs and my ego.
Now I realize that if my biggest problem is not qualifying for Boston, things are pretty good. In fact, 4:06 isn’t even a terrible time- if I had run that in Syracuse, I would have been happy with the PR. Boston seemed like a crazy dream then. But when I almost achieved it there, I guess I didn’t even consider not doing better next time. I am always in competition with myself.
The worse part is that I know exactly what I did wrong. I over-trained. I kicked my ass in a half marathon race the week after a 20 mile run and my legs never recovered. I should have never run that half because when I run a race, I put my heart into it. I try to cross every finish line feeling absolutely spent and deliriously happy. If I am going to pay for a run, I’m going to give it my all. That is how I finished Syracuse. I did that in Corning- too close to race day. That is not how I finished in Philadelphia. In the weeks of tapering, I swear I could feel my muscle tears repairing themselves little by little, but it just wasn’t enough time.
My legs were too exhausted to do what my mind and heart wanted because I didn’t train smart.
I do not take many risks- probably because I’m scared of setting myself up for disappointment. I clearly don’t handle it well. But how would we ever grow without facing challenges and setbacks? I think I needed a little blow to the head (or more accurately, legs) to bring me back down to reality. Things don’t always turn out like we want and that’s ok.
I am going to look positively at this and learn from it. It obviously has taught me a huge lesson in training. It has taught me a lot about myself as a runner. It almost seemed like for a little while I was thinking “well I didn’t qualify so I might as well discount the entire thing.” Like running 26.2 miles is just all in a day’s work- giving myself no credit for the time and effort I did put in. I was being way too hard on myself and I had to let it go. I will have many more opportunities to make it happen- and it will someday.
The day itself was perfect marathon conditions- cool but not cold, sunny, and dry. In fact, the entire weekend was amazing. We had a fantastic time in Philadelphia- it is a beautifully historic city and I am so happy I chose there to run.
The crowd was AWESOME, the course wonderful, and the fellow runners inspiring. I was called many variations on my name (Jerma, Janice, and Joanna my favorites) which gave me some needed smiles. And I keep laughing at the music a girl was blaring as I ran by her. I can only describe it as fairies playing the chimes. I guess whatever pumps her up.
Anyways. When I got home and could reflect through the pictures, I felt so much better. I had let that one moment of sadness consume me for too long because there in the memories were happy smiles of myself and my family- the people who love me regardless of marathon times. They just think it’s pretty cool I run and they get to reap the travel benefits. Thank you to Brian, my babies, Hannah, and Emily/Nick for being there and just being wonderful. And everyone who well-wished from afar. I am so so so so so so so lucky to have the family and friends I have<3
So here ends another chapter of my marathon adventures. Not the way I’d hoped, but still with a smile. I finished my third marathon on Sunday and that is an accomplishment. Congratulations to all the 8k, half marathon, and marathon finishers in Philadelphia this year- I’m grateful to have been among such great company.
Thanks to anyone who encouraged, supported, read, and ran with me along this journey- you keep me going!
Now I can finally relax. Rest these weary legs. Eat until my heart’s content. Watch a little…
Oh wait. B & C don’t rest just because their mom ran a marathon. They steal the medal and run away from me.
Better go chase those babies…
Until next time…