That was probably the hardest one I've done strictly because I wasn't as ready and the weather was beyond terrible for an hour or so.I started out trying to stick to the plan, which was to walk one minute at the end of each mile, but the wind and rain were so brutal, I was having trouble focusing. Everything seemed so chaotic in the midst of the rain and driving wind, which was blowing the rain sideways in sheets into the left side of my body. My HR strap came loose in the first couple of miles so I had to get that all fixed back, then at some point, I lost TWO of my gels! I had them in my race belt, and I guess they weren't secure and just slipped out. After the first round of rain stopped, after 20-30 minutes from the start of the race, I calmed down and just tried to regroup. I was cold. I was soaking wet. My gloves were soaked so I got rid of them. I had on arm sleeves that helped even though they too were soaked, and I had made a last minute decision to put on capri tights instead of shorts. I’m glad I did because it helped shield some of the wind, but my clothes stayed wet for about 4 hours. The rain came back around mile 6 I think, and it was really hard with huge drops. I would say by mile 8 or 9, it stopped for good. Someone in the crowd even said that the radar was clear. So I regrouped again, fought off the urge to turn around with the half, and tried to get back on the plan. I made it to the half, but I started struggling. My legs were hurting. I took a moment to stop and stretch, then I threw in an extra short walk or two. To try to compensate for fewer gels, I drank Gatorade more than I normally would. Of course they were handing out gels like after mile 20 so I passed on those at that point, and I avoided any food being handed out by spectators. I was doing all I could to save my run. By miles 20-22, I was pretty much done. I hurt really bad, and it was going to take sheer will to get me to the finish. I would run as long as I could making deals with myself that I could walk if I made to the mile kite or this block or whatever, or I would walk when the pain got really bad. Of course starting back was awful, and each time I moved slower and slower, including walking. When I hit 25, I wanted to tried to run the rest of the way in, but I couldn't The tailwind (which was at least 30 mph) was making it difficult to not fall forward. I simply didn't have the legs to keep up with how hard it was pushing me! I bet no one has ever wished for a tailwind to go away, but I did. I saw the banner for the last ½ mile, and I forced myself to keep running (trotting, limping, whatever it was I was doing) to the finish. I made it and when I stopped, I wanted to lie down in the road.
Moving through the finish area was really tough. I found it extremely difficult to walk. In these larger races, finish areas are big, and it's a maze almost that you have to go through to escape. I got out of that area, found my mom, and then parked it in the middle of the floor before I collapsed. Once I gathered my wits and felt better, it was time to get out of there so I could get warm and fed. Because we had come in hours earlier in the rain and darkness, we, along with many others, had a lot of trouble finding my car. I walked a LOT doing that, which really helped the soreness, but it prolonged my getting food and the recovery I needed. That night, don’t think I didn't TEAR UP a hamburger. It might be the best one I've ever had. After that it was a restful night in the bed watching the Golden Globes and reading all the fun text messages and FB posts from my friends.
This one has taken a bit longer to recover from, but that’s not surprising. Right now, thoughts of another marathon are not appealing, but I'm sure that will change. I was not completely ready for this race, and I know that going into it. A couple of illnesses did not help my training, and of course, the weather was the worst I've ever run in before. I knew to expect it to be painful, long, slow and mentally challenging. It lived up to ALL of those expectations. :) The positives are that I overcame. I overcame a tough injury that knocked me out of training completely. I overcame the fact that I wasn't as ready as I usually am or wanted to be. I overcame the weather. I overcame a huge mental battle that endured pretty much the entire race and even the morning before it started. Of those things, I am very pleased. This one wasn't about how fast or slow.
I'm feeling good today and plan to be back to running in the next week or so. I am looking forward to jumping on my bike to train for my first century ride in May at G.A.S.P, from Austin to Shiner, TX.
Number 12 in the books!
Taken immediately at the finish. I was pretending to feel good,
but the smile completely conveys how happy I was it was over.