Redemption... Failing then Fixing

Why in the world would one choose to run a marathon?

I hear it all the time!  I don't know why either, but plenty of us do it, more than once.

I had wanted to run a marathon for a long time.

Being who I am, though, I didn't want to run one until I could run it well, which is defined differently by all of us.  'Well' to me was any time under 4 hours, really secretly hoping for 3:30.

In May of 2011 I signed up to run my first marathon.

I'd been training through the winter and was ready, as far as training is concerned.

I'd thought about running my first marathon the year before, but, I just wasn't prepared mentally!

That was my fastest year of racing, and seeing my time drop into the 8's on my long runs really scared me!  Plus, I was confident in my abilities to run, not in my ability to be alone in my head, facing challenge, for nearly 4 hours!  I was afraid I'd give up!

So May of 2011 was when I decided to go for it.  The Buffalo Marathon was my race.

Needless to say things didn't go as I hoped.  My fears came full circle and I didn't finish the marathon, I finished the half, and a really sucky time too!

I was really embarrassed!  I didn't write about it.

My good friend Hayley, cheered me on anyway, reminding me that we all have bad races.  Find another race and run it, I am trained for this distance.

Let me go back to the race, which really begins before they say 'start'.

Shawn had gotten box seats to a concert, so three of us couples went to that the night before the race.

Um, it was BSBNKOTB... (Back Street Boys/New Kids)... this is a hilarious story on it's own!  The boys thought it was lame and we girls relived our junior high days!  So funny!

I thought if I could get myself fed as we first started I'd be fine.  I should've just eaten before we went.  I ended up eating late, and not foods that I'd eat now in prep for my big race.  We stayed out late, which I don't know really affected me.  Really, last year's marathon I ran on like 4 hours of not-so-great sleep and did fine, thank you adrenaline!

It really was my 3 stops to the bathroom before the first 11 or 12 miles that did me in!  By that time my time was shot and I couldn't pull myself together mentally!  I didn't want to run a slow marathon!

I know it sounds lame, and at this point I've learned that even the best runners have bad races.  Really, I was reading runners world and saw an elite runner's worst race and was like 'ok, that was really slow for her'.  Then thinking, I'm ok.  It's ok.

My choice was to run in and finish at the half... which was still a bad time for me!  (1:59:42 - 9:08 pace) I was training at much faster times.  I was disappointed.  I felt like a failure!  Was this not a self-fulfilled prophecy?

My hubs and the kids were there cheering me on!  I loved that part!  I saw them twice.  The second time I told Matt I didn't think I could do it.  He was great and supportive, and went to the next stop, which I never arrived at :(

I ran the first few miles too fast.  The sun started to feel hot.  There were a few small overpass hills.  I remember hearing one runner curse vulgar words as we faced the second one! 

I was seriously upset, at myself! 

I looked for another race, but couldn't find one in those next few weeks.

So, that next weekend I went out Saturday morning, before the rain came, and ran 26.25 all by myself!

I had to redeem myself, for myself.  I couldn't leave it finished that way.  I had trained for this distance!  My body was ready.  I had to prove that to my mind.

I still had to stop a couple of times, trying to figure out what works for me and my gut/digestion!

BUT, even with my stops I finished at 3:45.

I crossed my own finish line, by myself.  There was no cheering, no one to greet me.

BUT, I was at peace... I DID it!

I'm not marathon ready yet, although I've officially started training.  (Did my first 15 Saturday)

I just signed up for this half marathon.  This time I will redeem my half distance time! :)  I'd like to run at least a 1:45 (8 pace) I'm not at my personal best (speed or weight-wise), but I'm also learning I don't have to be running at 'my fastest' to run a race.  I've not signed up for races unless I feel good and trained for them.  Faster!  But, truth is I'm not always in that state.  I didn't train at all this winter!  This is where I am now, still need to push myself, still can enjoy a good race.

I continue to learn and grow in my running process.  I'm finding what works for me, still, and continue to enjoy this outlet and all of the ways it benefits me.