OK, so I take it back! I AM disappointed with my time; not in a "you suck as a runner, you'll never reach your goals" catastrophizing kind of way, but more in a "the weather was perfect, the training was amazing, based on your half marathon 3 weeks ago you could have ran a 3:15" kind of way.
But let's backtrack. I'll keep it brief, I think.
No stress getting to the start. My A+ husband drove me and a neighbour to the 21B exit into Hopkinton, dropped us over there at 8:00am, we got a bus to the Athletes' village, no problem. Low stress, no worries. People in the village were great, super excited. I was feeling great, too!
The start was a bit difficult and slow, but I pretty much managed to stay a little slower than goal pace, as planned. At mile 3 I noticed a little blood on my R shoe, but did not pay attention to it. I did not feel super well, but I knew I need at least 5 miles to wake my legs up, so I was fine. By mile 5 I was feeling great, and trying to get into a groove. This was very hard, particularly because somehow I always end up behind a group of folks talking, and I have to weave around them. No biggie, though, I knew this would happen. And I knew I'd end up running 26.5 at least (I ran 26.57), so I was prepared. By mile 11 I noticed that my stride was weird, and that my R foot was supinating. I tried to correct my stride, and then I heard a pop, and saw blood taking over the front of my shoe. And that is when the pain started. It was burning and stinging. Initially I thought I'd tough it out and just run like I normally do, but that was impossible. I admit I had a little melt down here, a tear or two might have been shed, but I remembered Alberto Salazar (of all people) and how he used to run through foot stress fractures by landing on a different side of his foot. So I did that. I started to land on the R side of my foot. The blister pain was better, just pulsating, but it hurt like hell when the terrain was changing and my toe would tough the ground. By the half point I knew I would not be able to get my 3:20. I seriously fantasized about dropping out, kept the option open but kept deferring it. I think it was a good strategy for me. At mile 14.5 I saw my friends Sue M and Sue C, and their kiddies. At that point, I also had a L sided stomach cramp that I was trying to get rid off by breathing when the opposite leg landed, so I probably looked like hell at that point. Anyway, seeing them out there and particularly their little kiddies reminded me of Petru and I knew I would finish. I stopped looking at my pace tat, and just ran. The downhill at mile 15.5 was the worst for me. I had to walk it. In general, the downhills were tough bc my toe would inadvertently touch the ground. I walked all the steep downhills and ran the uphills on the R side of my foot. It worked. I also really started enjoying the crowd. I knew I had to get out of my head - it was not pretty in there, I admit - and just enjoy the race. I think I did, the last few miles. I saw Chris at mile 19.5, and got some Gu from him. He saw my bloody shoe and the look on his face broke my heart. Man it helped to see him out there! I made it to the finish line pretty much on one leg. It was comical, I wonder if the photographs captured any of this. I crossed the finish line relieved and puzzled.
Relieved - because I finished; because I got an almost 5 minute course PR; because my R hip was quiet; because I was feeling pretty good outside of the blister.
Puzzled - because I have had blisters before. After Boston last year, I lost a bunch of toenails and had blisters on all my toes, yet I did not feel any pain and managed to have a great race; because someone does not run a 1:32:XX half marathon and a 3:40:18 marathon one month after. Also, what happened to my endorphins, weren't they supposed to take over the pain? Hrr
But I wanted to be happy. I needed to be happy. And darn I was happy. I hung out and watched others finish, I got my medal, some food. Then I met Chris and we took the train back home and I got to feel like a little celebrity in the train, with my bloody foot and all. Chris wanted to carry me home, that's how concerned he was, but darn, it was only a blister! Poor guy drove me to Hopkinton, then drove to Newton with my mom in law and Petru, gave me GU at mile 19, then hopped on the train to meet me at the finish. And I am a B+ wife on a good day. Yes, I am that lucky! (BTW, he just got back from tennis with a Nutrageous, my fav candy bar!)
OK, back to the race. Lessons learned. Many, I think! Some are still feelings and those will pass, and probably become concrete lessons in the days to come. I know I'll be thinking about this for a while now.
For now, a couple of things:
1. The blister pain completely took me by surprise. I knew that I could get some hip pain, and had prepared mentally for that. I knew I'd get blisters, like I did last year, but I did not think they'd give me a hard time during the race. This took me by surprise and played with me mentally. I think that even with the blister I should have been able to do better than I did.
2. This marathon was a good lesson for me. Although I always say "life is NOT fair, you can work hard and NOT get what you want, etc", the truth is that I have always gotten what I wanted in life; I knew what that was, and went for it. And always worked my ass off, no shortcuts! In my romantic life, school life, work life, family life and athletics, I pretty much never failed at anything, or never not gotten what I expected based on the amount of work I put in it. I expected to do well in this race, because, well, I worked hard! And the truth is that without that blister I would have probably gotten my goal. But the truth is that marathoning is not supposed to always work out for you, as much as you work out the details and control everything that you can control. I am OK with that. I needed this lesson. This makes me hungrier for my next marathon. I am going to try for a 3:15 in October! I am going to trust that half marathon time, and train my a$$ off again! And I will get that 3;15. This Boston 2010 IS a means to a happy end!
More later, after my thoughts have a chance to brew a little longer!
Congrats to all those who ran Boston today! Hope you had a better day than I did!
Building a clock
8 months ago