Marathons existed as this abstract concept for years to me. I’ve known people that have done them, I knew that people would run them in crazy fast times, and that they were held all over the world. Before I started running, I never thought I would ever be in the position to even consider whether or not I wanted to run one. But, here we are, one week removed from completing my first marathon in 6 hours and 11 minutes. The fact that I finished the Philly Marathon almost 20 minutes faster than the Spartan Super in Palmerton goes to show how absolutely insane/vastly under prepared I was for that mountain. Though, full disclosure, I wasn’t 100% ready for the Philly Marathon either.
In the months leading up to the marathon, I was running but I wasn’t running for any real distance. My runs wouldn’t go over 3 miles, with the exception of the Mudder, Spartan’s Sprint and Beast that I ran in September and October. I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to up my miles in order to make it through the marathon in one piece. But for some reason, I couldn’t get past that hump in training. There were days at a time when I wouldn’t even get up for a run. I told myself “oh it’s because you haven’t upgraded your shoes yet. Once you do that, the miles will come.” Then I went out and got a new pair of Brooks Ghost 12’s. Great shoes, wound up running the Rocky Run 10 miler and the Marathon in them, but the miles were still hard to come by for me. It took some soul searching and looking inward for me to realize that I had let the specter of “26.2” get into my head and intimidate me into inaction. Running boils down to putting in the necessary work in your training runs but to also get your mind right. If you let the run you’re training for get into your head, you won’t be able to reach the goals you set forth for yourself. So I started putting the miles in and did a truncated training plan to make sure I get through the marathon in one piece.
I had to change my goals for the marathon. I originally thought that if I could finish it in 5 hours that would represent a good first effort. But, recognizing that my entire training plan went awry, that goal became “just finish the bloody thing without getting hurt.” 1 out of 2 goals isn’t too shabby.
But considering I came away with only a sore ankle that was probably a direct result of going hard right at the end to get a good finish line picture, things could have been worse. I could have lost a filling at mile 3. *Checks my notes* Oh crap, that did happen. Ummmmmm, at least it didn’t rain the whole time! *Checks my notes again* Crapdamnit. Uhhhhhh…at least it didn’t snow! *Checks my notes again* OH CRYING OUT LOUD!
My Philly Marathon experience was definitely one hell of a roller coaster ride. When a filling falling out because of the vibrations from running ranks as the least ridiculous thing to happen over the course of 26.2 miles, you know it’s a good time. Even the rain wasn’t that bad. It was consistent but it wasn’t a total downpour, I still consider Broad Street this year to have been worse in terms of ridiculous rain fall. That was until we hit mile 20. I had just taken a little shot of beer from a lovely cheer station on the way into Manayunk, whoever ran that cheer station that was giving out the beer and impromptu trash bag ponchos, you are all the real MVP’s and I would love to buy y’all a beer sometime. But after that little shot of happiness, Mother Nature decided to throw another wrench into the works and that rain turned into sleet and then TURNED INTO FREAKIN’ SNOW! WHY?!?! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WHY DID IT START FREAKIN’ SNOWING!?!?! NOWHERE IN THE TWO DAYS LEADING UP TO THE MARATHON DID IT MENTION ANYTHING ABOUT SNOW. *Ahem* OK, now that I have that out of my system, I can now check “run a marathon in the snow” off of my bucket list. The last 6 miles back down Kelly Drive were by far, the coldest I have ever been on a run. When your gloves that are heat insulated are completely soaked through and you can barely feel your fingers, you know you’re in for a bad time. But, while it was the hardest 6 miles of my life, I made it through, with more than a little help from a good friend who ran the entire 26.2 at my pace, while still pushing me forward. Kristen, thank you for making sure I made it through that in one relative piece, couldn’t have done it without you.
Now that I’ve completed a marathon I have to ask myself the question; what’s next? Another marathon? Start doing Ultras? Hide away for 3 months and not do anything resembling running until the Love Run? Well, seeing as I am already signed up for the Philly Marathon next year and have a Tough Mudder open ticket that’s ready to go, I’m ready for my next challenge in 2020. Still no Ultras though, I’m not THAT crazy. Though let it be known, next year’s marathon, I want under 5 hours. I’ll see you next year, Philly Marathon.