This was supposed to be my “goal” race. My ultimate marathon goal at the moment is a sub-4 marathon, but going into this race I knew that wasn’t going to happen for a number of reasons.
My speed work has been a bit sporadic, not helped by my pulling a hamstring back in August. Not bad enough that I ever had to stop running, but I have had to back down a bit. I ran two half marathons in September, one being a real disaster at 2:14, the other a decent 2:01 … but it’s still been over a year since I’ve run a half under two hours. I think that has to be pretty comfortable before I can realistically expect to run a full marathon at that pace!
Goals revised, I decided to line up with the 4:10 pacer. My PR is a 4:09, and I was hoping I could hang with her most of the race, and surge towards the end giving myself a shot at a new PR.
But that didn’t happen. Not even close.
Things started out fine. We had a nice little group and were hitting the mile markers right on pace. We ran along the boardwalk, and then hit the road, doing a few miles around the farther casinos before returning to the boardwalk.
We ran past the finish line around mile nine (I hate that!) and got to see some of the half marathoners coming back. Near mile 11, we passed the half marathon turnaround (I hate that too!), and then it was just the marathoners left.
We got off the boardwalk and continued along the road. We hit the halfway point right on time, around 2:05. I was starting to struggle, though.
Part of it was me wanting to stop. Some days I can will myself to keep up the pace, other times I can’t. Clearly, I could not this day.
It wasn’t just “The Wall.” I was starting to hurt — it was my ankle.
I had a little pain at the end of a 14-miler two weeks before the marathon. It was just a twinge, though, and was completely fine post run. I brushed it off.
That same pain returned late in a 16-mile race (that I ran easy!) one week before the race. It didn’t bother me much during, but did hurt that night and the day after. The next day it was fine, and I felt no pain during a short run during the week. I figured it was tight calves and did some stretching/rolling.
Marathon day, though, it came back. My pace slowed way down, and I started taking walk breaks. Most of the time I managed to keep running and use the water stops as my walk breaks.
The 4:20 pace group passed me, as did the 4:30 group. At least I wasn’t the only one struggling that day. I chatted with a girl from the 4:00 group that was shuffling along around my pace for a little while. She dug deep, though, and pulled away as we got closer to the finish.
We got back to the boardwalk for the last three miles. I was happy to be nearing the end, and enjoyed the ocean views, but was near tears many times. The pain was pretty bad, but I was so disappointed. Disappointed that this wasn’t the race I wanted. That running MCM in two weeks could be in jeopardy with this injury. That I wasn’t enjoying this race.
The 4:40 pace group passed me. We got back to the busier part of the boardwalk, and I was annoyed that there was nothing to designate a race was going on. People were milling about, and tired runners had to watch out for obstacles!
It wasn’t until the last .2 or so that there were barriers and spectators. My husband was there cheering for me, and I didn’t even smile. I thought I sent him a disappointed/sad face, but he said I looked pissed. Sorry honey!
At least I managed to get up to a 10-minute pace for the last .2. I always sprint once I can see the finish line. And at that point in time, that was my sprint!
At least I got a light-up bottle opener medal.
Marathon #10 done.
I decided I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. While far off my goal and far from my PR, it’s still faster than four of my marathons. And I finished. Not how I wanted, but I got it done.
One week later … I’m not entirely pain-free, but doing better. I’ve gone on two runs (three and six miles at easy paces), and felt fine. I got a massage. I’ve seen a chiropractor for some ART. She didn’t think running was out of the question (yay!). She’ll work on me again this week, and tape me for MCM.
Which I will run with NO goals.
And *then* I will take a long-distance break 🙂