Time for a little throwback Thursday.
Nike Women’s Marathon
I’d of course signed up for marathon number five before the wheels completely fell off my running at Boston 2009 (marathon number 4). I know I’ll get around to a recap of what is now known as “Don’t run a marathon while anemic race” but that story is for another day.
Today let us focus on every girl’s friend Tiffany & Co.
Nike Women’s Marathon is not the easiest race to register, go ahead just try to find their website. Once you find this allusive website you only have a few weeks to get your name in the drawing and then just maybe you and your best ladies (or boys) will get selected.
And we were selected in the spring of 2009. The same spring my running sort of fell apart.
By the time I ran Boston I couldn’t even run an easy run pace without being in total aerobic threshold territory (think one-one breathing), let me back up, I couldn’t even run a full minute slower than my normal easy run pace without hitting aerobic threshold zone.
I barely finished Boston, I couldn’t really walk- it seriously felt like someone had beaten me up.
I found the local GNC off Boylston Street the morning after the race and picked up some iron and tried to imagine a time when this whole running thing didn’t feel bad.
Test results confirmed I my iron stores were low, just under the normal range (11.5) but that didn’t mean much to my non running doctor (he thought I was close enough to the normal range… umm… close enough to the low-end? Really? Really?). Our coach likes our iron stores to be at 40- but I didn’t know that at the time, I just knew something was off. (Please note I’m not a doctor… nor do I have any medical training… is that enough of a disclaimer?)
In the midst of all my running drama the hubs and I found out we were moving back to the PNW (goodbye Fresno… 5 months was… well 5 months… we had some good times, some good laughs… met some great friends, but my heart will always be with the evergreens… dang does that make me a tree hugger?).
Okay back to this race.
Most of the training leading up to WNM was done on my own. I managed to make it to the track about twice a month (I used to NEVER skip a day) and I’d run my long runs with the group about twice a month. I could make it through a long run but struggled to keep up with everyone. The weeks I didn’t make it to the track I ran a workout on my own and the weeks I didn’t run long with my peeps I ran alone.
Truth be told my confidence was shaken and sometimes it was just too intimidating to try to keep up with others.
Needless to stay as I stood on the start line with Beyoncé telling everyone to “Put a ring on it” I wasn’t the most confident version of myself.
Up until the last spring I’d been dropping my marathon PR: 3:29, 3:25, 3:20 then anemia and 3:46 (maybe 3:47). I know, totally respectable time but 26 minutes slower, a full minute per mile than just a few months earlier.
Can I do this again? Will it ever feel good again? The only way to know is to just start.
So start I did.
I was conservative (clearly not the easiest course ever). But so far so good.
The miles ticked on by, a few hills here and there but all was going well. I loved the start in downtown and then making our way out to the water. There were a lot of half marathoners so the course felt full.
Then we reached about 11 or so and we parted from the half-ers and I realized just how many people were running the full… not many.
The full marathon runs through the park, slightly up hill with and out and back type loop. We made our way back to the coastline around mile 16 and I was done.
I had my doubts during the inner loop but I was just more in shock that everything was going so well. But mile 16 was a different monster. I tucked in behind two guys and hoped for the best. By mile 17 I’d magically recovered and I left the two guys behind.
18, 19, 20. Just kept going. Then the final outer loop; I was all alone. I hadn’t seen anyone in ages, finally I saw people ahead of me and worked my way up to them passing each one. The course at this point was slightly up hill but I seemed to be getting stronger and stronger. I knew I just needed to make it to mile 24, then it was just 2 miles back along the beach.
At mile 22 or maybe 23 (it was 20 something) they had a chocolate station. The kid working it tried to hand me chocolate and just stared at him, I think he thought I was losing a lung (or two). But I kept going.
Mile 24, back to the beach. The last two miles were brutal, straight into a stiff headwind. But I powered through and finished.
3:23 on a very challenging course, my friend Karly was just a tad bit wrong when she promised it wasn’t hilly but I blame myself. I mean who was I kidding, SFO is not a flat town.
I was thrilled!
Since I didn’t know how to use my fancy Garmin (and still really don’t) here are the boring details… (and no there are not 32 miles in a marathon, my Garmin was off on some of the miles – or I was running poor tangents- and then I pushed buttons and messed things up… yes lots of human error here people… shocking.)
Once I crossed the finish I was in a hurry. I took my necklace (seriously the best part) grabbed my shirt, some water and found the very, very, very long bus line.
It must have been 45 minutes to just get on a bus back to the start (we had an inflexible hotel checkout time from the host hotel- one of my biggest pet peeves with races… come on) and I was trying to get back in time to not get thrown out.
As I stood in line I was surprised to find my legs weren’t even sore; for reals, my second fastest marathon at the time and no soreness. But even better than legs lacking the normal post marathon deadness was I proved to myself I could in fact do this… this whole marathon thing.
We all have bad races, but the good thing about a bad race is that there’s always another race just around the corner… ya just got to put yourself on the start line.
run pretty run fast (and see you on October NWM… this time for the half!)