So I've recovered enough from yesterday's marathon to be conscious. Just don't ask me to go up or down any stairs.
I was hoping that my second marathon could be injury free- didn't happen.
I wrote a few weeks ago that I had some trouble on my last long run before the taper. So I've been babying it since. It came back with a vengeance.
The first eight miles flew by. We ran through a little farming town. Lots of pastures and horses. In fact I swear the horses were looking at all of us saying, "Wait...people run? Well what do you need to ride us for?"
After the eight miles, we got to the canyon. But to start going down it, we had to run up first. Big hill. BIG hill. But, it was pretty funny to watch people try to barrel up full speed, then sputter to a walk.
Before I knew it, I was running through the starting line for the half marathon. I'd made pretty good time for the first thirteen miles, about 2:07 I think. I got excited thinking about not only beating 5 hours, but maybe beat 4:30. Cue right leg.
Before hitting the fourteen mile marker, the earlier training pains were back. My knee hurt on the side, and tight pulling shot up my flank and through my lower back. But I grit my teeth and ran through it anyway, sticking to my run walk method. Unfortunately, I probably altered my running form to compensate for the IT Band injury. By mile 18, my left kneecap felt like it had been whacked by loan shark from Jersey. I could run through the tight tearing pain up and down my right leg, but the sharp stabbing pain under the left patella was not workable.
What to do now? Give up and catch a ride to the finish? Not a chance. When in doubt, keep moving forward. At a much slower pace, but forward nonetheless.
The left knee pain immediately ceased with the walking, but the right leg was still sucking though. Just six miles left. I would finish.
I modified my walk into a speedwalk, and stopped taking the slow walk breaks every half mile. When I did the math in my head, with my great first half, I could still beat the five hour mark if I kept my pace around 12:30 per mile. That is more than a fast walk, that's a jog. But the impact of a jog was too jarring on the knee. Oh well I had to try.
I can only imagine that I looked like a robot on speed. My leg was pretty well locked up, the knee not bending anymore. My arms were swinging a hundred miles an hour. My head lowered with what I imagined as a fierce look of determination on my face. Most likely, it really looked like a constipated bull with the grimace and flared nostrils.
In the last few miles, nearly everyone was struggling. Half were walking slowly, the other half doing the runner zombie shuffle. I can speedwalk faster than both of those. One man that passed me a few miles ago had lapsed into zombie mode. He recognized me as I passed him and dubbed me "the little runner that could", impressed that I was still trucking even my walk now had a pronounced limp. I couldn't afford to slow down. I still had a chance to beat the five hour time, but it would be close.
I gave my last burst of speed at a quarter mile to the finish. Ran past my hubby and two kids on the sideline, cheering and giving me the strength to push past the pain. I crossed the finish arch at four hours and fifty-five minutes after I started. The girl at the end put a medal around my neck and herded me to the side before I passed out.
My husband, bless his heart, was ready with the car and ice packs. It was over, the countless hours of running through dark mornings, rain, and other crap had finally paid off. They had prepared me to be in good physical condition, but more importantly, it gave me the will and discipline to keep pushing when it didn't feel like I had anymore to give.
So here I am, the day after. My legs hurt like you don't even want to know. But I'm still ecstatic that I reached my goal of a 5 hour marathon. I'll tell you a little secret though... I would still be just as happy if I didn't. As long as I shuffled across the finish line, it could have been an 8 hour marathon. The accomplishment would be the same. Finishing.
Thanks for sticking with me everyone . I really appreciate all the support I've gotten through emails, messages, and Facebook.
So what's next? First, mastering the stairs without crying. Next, probably building up the muscles I've burned by the long distance running.
Time to tone up. After I've healed that is.