My Local Readers~
Ok, I finally have a time when all of the stars have alligned- 1) I am far enough away from the marathon where I can actually think about it 2) I am close enough to the marathon to remember it, and 3) I finally have a spare second to sit and write it all out. So here goes....
My 10th on 10-10-10. I have to say, my first thought is to write that it went 100% differently from the way that I had hoped. But, upon further consideration, I think that is overly dramatic. So, like any good teacher, I will start with the good and THEN go to the bad. Always helpful at Parent-Teacher Conferences. But I digress.
The good: I was in Chicago. I made it to 10-10-10 with alot of training and pretty much no injuries (knock on wood- even though its over, I still must knock on wood!) I finished the marathon. My sister and brother-and-law were amazing- even setting a record for their cheering skills by seeing me 5 times on the course! Which is amazing considering the craziness of the city and layout of the course. There were fun *parts* of the marathon itself (ie the first 8 miles when I actually thought it might be an ok day). Hmm, yeah, that about sums up the good.
The bad: Well, I might as well just come out and say it as I already alluded to: I ran my slowest marathon ever. Yes, with the most training I have ever done, on the day where I had originally hoped to run my best ever, I ran the complete opposite. 4:05:something. And honestly, it still feels unreal to me. I came into the race knowing that it wouldn't be a PR, but I didn't even know I was capable of running that slow. I have NEVER trained that slow on ANY run. Literally, the second half was at a pace I haven't seen before in my life. It was so weird. It was like it wasn't even me running it. My long runs always average betwen 8:15-8:40, so the fact that I ran a pace so much slower during an actual race is mind blowing. And I simply don't know why.
Well, that's a lie. I do know sort of why. I was facing a burn out going into this race and the last month of training, as I mentioned on the blog before. It wasn't necessarily a burn out due to the summer of training, but rather the consistant 2 years of training I have been going at since starting training for my first Boston in 2009. That feeling of going from marathon to marathon with little to no time between training cycles, all the while adding milage and racing anything from 10 mile races to half marathons to a 50K mixed in. I expected this would lead to a PR, but more is better only to a point. And I think I got to the point where it became counterproductive to my goals. My paces weren't picking up and my motivation (gasp!) wasn't where it had once been. I feel like the last month of training was an exercise in survival. One bad run led to a lack of confidence which led to another bad run, which lead to more self-doubt, and so on. Coupled with a body that although it was holding up well, was just plain tired, and I arrived at the Starting Line feeling like I should be arriving at the finish line already! So I guess in that since I am proud that I did it.
Outside of the running craziness inside and outside my head, was my work schedule. This year feels particularly challenging for me. Teaching above full time at my school, with new classes to prep for has been alot. Added to that, my boss at the bakery has been continually scheduling me more to the point where including the market I am working almost 30 hours a week at the bakery- on top of my 'real job' teaching. So these 6 day workweeks that are many times 12 hour days, plus having to cram all of my prep work for my classes onto my 'weekend' on sunday has overwhelmed me. I'm honestly not saying this because I think I am all that great or anything- I understand lots of people work long and hard to make ends meet- but rather because although these aren't 'running related' necessarily, I think work + crazy commute contributed to my end-of-the training blues.
On a purely physical level- it was hot. 85-90 degrees, which would have been fine in August, but I felt like my body adapted to the cooler September temps and the heat was a shock to my system. And for some reason, I didn't handle it well. The whole right side of my body started hurting by mile 10 and I knew it would be a long day from there. I felt so sad and embarressed. But when I finished I was so happy just to have it over with. Despite how poorly I did, I just laughed it off for the rest of the day with my sis and bro-in-law and with my parents (via the phone.) It was only that night, when driving home from the airport late that it sunk in and I just let the emotion of everything take over. It was so hard to fathom all of the time and training that I put it, to run a marathon I probably could have done with 1/4 of the time and training. That has probably been the most difficult idea to come to grips with.
So where to from here with me? The good news is, I have proved that I can handle a new level of training. And I liked that. But, that doesn't mean that I need to train like that 365 days a year. This is the first time in over 2 years that I am not signed up for my next marathon. Yes, I have a few ideas on the horizon, but nothing official. So I'm taking that time. I'm keeping my workouts completely slim-none for the rest of the month. I feel like especially with my work schedule right now, I need the physical and mental breather. In November and December I will get back to it, but with running just as a part of my workout routine, leaving more time for swimming and strength training which I have missed for the last few months or so. That will also give me time to decide my spring plans. I don't plan to start any 'formal' training until atleast the new year. I want to be totally hungry and focused when I start up again.
I did run once with my friend this week. He was running a marathon today, and I am still awaiting the results. He took me out to dinner afterward to celebrate my 10-10-10. It was super-sweet thing to do. The run was on Wednesday and it was hard. I'm glad to be taking time off right now.
So yeah. I feel like a 'fraud' runner right now, after such a less-than-ideal performance. But, I have to get over that. I'm looking forward to some time away from formal training and to getting my body in better all-around shape (ie better arms and core that come with strength training and swimming) over the next couple of months. We'll see where I go with the blog from here. I'm sure I'll be around.
Peace, love, and running,