Knocking off that run was a big ‘bucket’ item for me. I ran the last 20 feet and crossed the line with my son in the warm glow of delirium – it was fantastic and beautiful and heart-warming and I was beat. I finished in an “okay” 4:36. I feel like I did well enough but could have done things differently – that list is a few items, so I’ll break them into bullet points:
- I should have picked up orthopedic insoles a lot earlier. I had my squishy foam insoles the entire time I was putting on miles; 5k, half-marathon, and all training of the full marathon. Physical therapy docs said to buy new ones asap – and that was five months before I started running. Your feet/ankles/legs hurt a lot? See a doctor. Already have orthos? See about an upgrade.
- I should have trained harder/longer. I made the mistake of letting my body dictate how the last few weeks of my training played out. I was so tired – mentally and (mostly) physically I was worried about injuring myself. My big 20-mile run ended at 15.8 because I cramped up so bad and had to be driven home. I never reached that goal and only hit 20 miles out on the trail, which is where the real race began.
- I should have waited a year. This goes with the training regiment. I had ample time to ramp up according to my plan, but given that I was going from a 5k in October 2015 to a full marathon in 2016; I was pushing too hard.
- I should have paced myself better. Again, as an inexperienced runner, I went out and did the first half of the marathon a solid minute/mile faster than I was aiming for. I got all amped up and didn’t pay attention to the pace runners until it was too late. I felt amazing before ‘the turn’ – where the half marathoners went to the finish line, and I had to keep going – after the turn was a fast descent into sadness.
- I should have checked how long my book was. I run with audiobooks, and it’s always worked to remove myself from myself. You’d have thought I would learn my lesson from the incredibly short “Born Standing Up” for the half-marathon, but no. I chose the amazing book “Bossypants” as my marathon book. Painfully, I finished the book around that 20-mile mark, and I was left without my comfort blanket of reading to keep my mind company.
- I should not have walked so early. Everyone was right, that first time you walk is the worst – the door is opened, that option was there. Just a little bit more walking. Ugh, I’m tired, maybe I’ll walk a bit. Bleh.
- I should have NOT left for a business trip the same day as the race. It was silly and memorable, not as awful as I thought it was going to be, but it just put an odd spin on the whole recovery process.
Would I do another marathon? I’ll likely do another, someday, if my body can take it. Training for a marathon is work, like an actual part-time job level of work. When you commit to putting two and a half to three plus hours of your Saturdays into running and cramming in another 4+ hours during the week, then add on the stretching & more stretching – it’s work. I’d have to allow myself the time to commit to it before anything else. I’d love to do a ton more half-marathons, 5 & 10Ks. I’d just need a buddy. I’m fully recovered, which took a lot longer than anticipated and worked through a lengthy cold season and now am stuck in the doldrums of deep winter. Running will continue as soon as it gets above single digits; the itch is getting worse and the sads are creeping back in.
More soon, stay sane and safe.