Breathe, Stretch, Shake- Let it Go!!

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.

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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.

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Running for the strongest woman I know- my Grandma<3

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.

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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.

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Actually smiling- packet pick up!

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.

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Pretending to smile- finished!

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.

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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

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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…

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philly boys

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Love

Until next time…

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