This year would bring about new challenges in preparation. I had only 4 weeks to recover and keep fitness at the same time after Ironman Chattanooga. I didn't have to just keep fitness, I had to keep focus. This proved challenging every day with every workout. But this race wasn't for me. It was for this year's partner, Naomi. I have a hard time brushing off a workout when it isn't just about my personal results.
Life seems to be happening a lot these days, and I couldn't get them all done. But I tried. Boy did I try. I missed things. I missed a 2 hour bike ride because I had work commitments that ate up my day and by the time I got home, I walked right past my bike (that was nicely set up in the living room) and climbed in to bed. I had to drop 10 minutes off a run because I over slept and was time crunched with a family responsibility. I ended up splitting my one and only longer run into 2, because after 11 miles in 80+ degree weather while trying to stay whole30 compliant, my legs gave out on me.
But quitting isn't an option when you push. After rehydrating, fueling, watching a 7 year old baseball game, taking the kids to dinner, and then putting them to bed; B went out to finish the last 5 miles with me even though we started them after we usually go to bed. (His mom was in town, we didn't leave the kids alone!) Had those miles been for me, Training Peaks would still be yellow.
I ask people all the time who are struggling with getting their workouts complete, or following a plan or the plan, "What's your why?". It's my why that keeps me going and it's my lack of why that is my reason for hiatus from 140.6 for a bit. I digress... but Naomi was my why for this.
B and I got into DC Friday in time to hang with some of the crew for the weekend before heading out to grab some dinner. Then on Saturday morning, B and I and three others headed over to the expo to grab all the bibs and race shirts we could for the KPeasey crew. With the 5 of us, I thought it went incredibly smooth. Then to a relaxing lunch and time to get my feet up until our team dinner.
Race morning....I was nervous. And anxious. I've been achy since Chat. I have never pushed a race chair. It's 26 point 2 freaking miles!!! I don't think the distance ever gets easier for me to process.
Marine Corps Marathon is one heck of an event. Pushing or running, I highly recommend it. The pageantry before the start, and the on course support is just simply amazing. However, it is a crowded course and it seemed even more crowded this year than I remembered it to be in the past.
Naomi and I took off when it was our turn and I ran by distance only. No data display except on the mile chirps. No heart rate. No pace. I ran completely by feel. B asked me what the race plan was...I told him it was to have fun and get Naomi to the finish line. There were zero expectations on us for a time, except to finish. We also had the honor of running in memory of Spc Tyler R. Seidman who died in a helicopter crash in August 2007 through the Medals of Honor organization.
The first few miles just kept going by. Towards the beginning, we were going up a slight hill and the elite runners were going past us. So we cheered them on and occasionally I would turn to them and tell them we would race them to the top. That got them to crack a smile. And the miles kept going by. I'm still in awe at how seamlessly the miles seemed to go by. I think about mile 3, Jeff caught us and visited for a moment before going on to finish his race.
At mile 4 we saw Brent and he checked on us both and we were great. I think we saw him again before mile 10, but I'm not positive. Somewhere on the out and back both Amy and Smitha hollered hellos from the other side of the road. At about 10 Naomi's mom and B were on the right. We pulled up to them and stopped for a quick visit. Tina (Naomi's mom) checked on her, B checked on me. We reloaded my Gu's and I told B my knee hurt and I needed water. He didn't have any on him, so off we went. Less than a quarter mile later, up came B sprinting after me...Tina had water!
We were then on our own till about mile 16. Naomi and I are yelling at the Marines supporting the course, "Oorah!". We are walking the aid stations and grabbing water. I'm trying to stay on top of my gels. Did I mention the miles kept rolling by? I gel by mileage and I kept missing the aid station I should have stopped at. So I averaged a gel about every 4-5 miles instead of being spot on the 4 like I had been doing.
The last 10 miles took us a bit longer to get through than the first 10 but we were still moving. Naomi offered to share her cookies, but I was good. Right before mile 20, there were spectators handing out beer and fireball shots. Since the Tylenol wasn't dulling the pain, I figured fireball might...
Then we beat the bridge. Knowing we would finish, I now had a decision to make. Walk it in, and my knee was going to hurt, or jog it in the best I could and my knee was going to hurt. Naomi cheered me on and we walked/ran our way in. At about mile 22 there was a non-official aide station set up and they offered chips that Naomi wanted. She was great about sharing them with me also. If it's good enough for Ironman, it's good enough for a marathon!
What I haven't mentioned is I had a whistle for the whole run. Naomi had been blowing one at dinner the night before, and lost it. So I brought another. I gave it to her to use but she didn't want to. So I took it. I would blow it, and she would tell me to stop. I think it kept us both engaged in the event.
At some point, we hit mile 23. A 5K to go and our hotel is RIGHT there! I mean, RIGHT there!!! I jokingly ask Naomi if she wants to just call it quits and go back to the room for a shower and naps. She says NO! She's the boss today...so we finished it off.
At about mile 24-25 we caught up to Cynthia who was having a tough day. She walked/jogged with us a for a little bit and then we finished it off on our own.
We both enjoyed getting our medals and high-fiving the Marines in the finishing chute. And I don't know about Naomi, but that was the best tasting Coke, ever!
With Naomi wearing this year's medal and happy to be back in the tent hanging out with friends, B and I made our way to the Metro and back to the hotel.
Personally, I am happy to report that I barely chafed at all and that I had about a 16 minute PR over last year. It was a great way to wrap up my long course career (for now). I PR'd my 140.6 and I PR'd my push marathon.
After a shower, Motrin, and a short nap (and some tears getting out of bed), B and I went out and ate amazing Ethiopian food and milkshakes with NFG.
Monday morning when the alarm went off, B asked me if getting out of bed was going to make me cry. With that statement I had an ah-ha moment. Truthfully, there were some tears getting vertical. I'm having a really hard time getting up from an extended seated position. Stairs are not my friend. BUT...this is temporary. It's temporary! There are people for whom this is an everyday part of their life. Everyday they wake up and wonder if the pain will be so bad that getting out of bed is going to make them cry. I'm actually thankful for this pain. I'm thankful that I am healthy enough to do what I do to cause this pain and that it will go away. The extreme pain from the race has diminished and was replaced by muscle soreness. Soreness because I was able to, chose to, and had the privilege of running a marathon with Naomi. (You'll want volume for this one also.)
|16 teams. 16 TEAMS!!!|
I will be taking next year off from the marathon distance, but plan to stay involved with KPF! 2017 has been a heck of year for me in all facets of life. Thanks for being part of it and let's see what the last two months bring!!
|Cheers to a wonderful 2017!|