I would be lying if I said that I couldn’t wait to get a race recap up onto the blog, and to be honest I’m still not, so for now, I’m sharing just a little bit of my “marathon in the middle” story.
I ran my first NYC Marathon last year, and officially became a marathoner, afterwards, I was legitimately on top of the world for what seemed like weeks on end. I rode that marathon high for every ounce of what it was worth; capitalizing on the feel good vibes, and pushing myself to run back to back 5k PRs just 2 short weeks after the marathon. But here’s the (potentially) dangerous thing about a first-time-marathon runner’s high, it can trick you into overlooking the importance of recovery…as it tempts you with its splendour.
Those weeks directly after a marathon, are a super important time to allow your body to rest and recover. This certainly doesn’t mean you need to set up camp on the couch for good; but a nice 1-2 week hiatus from running is probably a (very) good idea. Last year, I pushed myself to run again too soon, I own that; I was back running just 4 short days after NYC. Running that soon (for me) wasn’t smart, and set me up for a 2018 fraught with injury after injury. However, while that marathon running high last year, pushed me to do some silly things, also ignited a fire deep inside of me, that crushed my “one and done” marathon theory. January rolled around quickly, and I literally threw my name into the lottery pool for 2018 as soon as it opened. I then, as everyone who enters to pool does, crossed my fingers and toes until drawing day in February. Alas, I didn’t get in (Adjusting the sails) but since the desire to run again was so strong, I quickly set my sights on fundraising for Team Answer the Call.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, November 4, 2018, when I ran my second NYC marathon in 4:29:33 (5 minutes slower than my 2017 time…no worries, I’m ok with it, mostly, I’m mostly ok with it). My training for this year was very similar to last, both had me running about 450 miles total in 16 weeks time…but this year I had all those pesky injuries to contend with, and also had my sights on running 9+1 (run 9 runs with New York Road Runners and volunteer for 1 event) to gain entry to the 2019 marathon. Insert craziness here, and again, I own it, all of it. The running bug has got it’s hold on me GOOD.
But enough about the how I got into races, and how I set myself up to run 3 back to back NYC Marathons…let’s get to this past Sunday, and my marathon in the middle. Sunday’s race didn’t have the splendour of my very first marathon, and it may not have the gusto (fingers crossed 2019) of my last, what it had was the simplicity of being smack dab in the middle of a first chance and a last hoorah. It was my place holder marathon, but of course being the freaking NYC MARATHON – it was an EPIC place holder!
Now to be fair and honest, I went into Sunday with hopes of a time (yes, of course a time faster than my 4:24 in 2017) in which I would cross the finish line…and for a lot of the race, that time seemed to be an actual, plausible possibility. But then around mile 18, 19 or 20, I honestly can’t remember, it slipped away, and, I was ok with it, like actually 100% fine. The end of the marathon is always the hardest part, no matter who you are, and on Sunday, I was let that pain slow me down instead of propel me forward. I allowed my physical to trump my mental game, and felt a significant sense of relief wash over me as I did.
I started to slow my pace even more, and took several walking breaks. I put on a brave smile for a photographer stationed on the damn floor of mile 25 **really NYRR – a low photographer at mile 25…OUCH!** I hydrated more, and then finally, texted my husband “I’m fading”…with love he responded: “YOU GOT THIS BABE!!!! LAST MILE…ALMOST HOME!!!” So close. It hit then, the reality of it sunk in, I didn’t have the finish I hoped for, but, amazingly I was completely OK with it. I still had 2019 in my back pocket as my moonshot for NYC, and so when I crossed that line I smiled one big, fat, I did it (again) smile and snapped a selfie, cause it tasted SO DAMN GOOD!
I’ll be back again next year NY, injury free, and READY…and then, you’re MINE!