Sorry the delay in my post, but I kinda wanted a few days just to soak this in for myself. I haven't really talked about it a lot because its hard to describe how I feel, so lets see how I do.
A group of 6 of us decided early last spring to run the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon. 5 of us ran Charleston together, with the addition of our friend Keisha Rathbone, whose husband was already part of our group. We decided to follow the same plan as before even though it was a first timers plan. Because of all my teaching, the three running days a week are easier for me to follow without overtraining. ok......hahahaha I overtrain.
My training went really well, all my long runs went faster and easier than the time before. We also used lots of long trail races as our long runs, making the training more fun as well. Unfortunately, I also suffered from lots of leg cramps and a back injury, so I had some really good, and really poor races along the way. A month before the marathon I realized I was worrying so much about times and pr's that I was loosing my bliss, so I made the decision to enjoy running first and foremost. The Cherokee Half was my first race getting this back and I love it.
It was very cold at the beginning of the race, about 40, but was supposed to warm up to mid 60's during run. I was layered well, but did have on shorts. Everyone knows I always freeze so my muscles were really tight all morning. From the first mile I could tell that I would be fighting leg problems this race, I've felt it before, I know. My hope was it would hold out as long as possible, the end of the race please? I ran the first 12ish miles with my friend Alice. I knew I wouldn't be able to hang with her the whole race because she is able to kick it in last half much better than me, but we held together good until the split. I did, however, push how fast I had planned on starting, but I really didn't want to run alone, and then I decided, well, it is a race, push it a little. By pushing I mean I hit my 9:40 and then 9:30 pace quicker than I had planned.
At about mile 14 or 15 my legs were fighting cramping everywhere. At this point we also entered the Savannah State University Campus. These students lined the campus everywhere, cheering us on, singing, giving us high fives. When we ran around the track they were lined up all around, cheerleaders were there, athletes, and someone over the loud speaker cheering us on. It gave you chills. I stopped after this to loosen and stretch quickly, but I think I should have done that sooner. At mile 20, right inner thigh completely locked up. I mean, you could see the cramp sticking out of my leg. I was across the road from a med station. I debated, and then decided to visit the med tent. They gave me salt, not much because I was also using Gatorlytes, I massaged and iced my legs, while I watched the 4:15 and 4:30 pace groups go by. At this point, I knew I would just be finishing this race, but I was going to finish this race. Sprayed down with Bio Freeze I started back.
The last 6.2 miles are kind of a blur, the pain, a few steps walked and then the determination to finish strong. These 3 stages repeated the whole last 10k. This is when I turned on my music, but sometimes their bands or music were so good I would turn it off.
At mile 25, I ran up to one more medic tent, grabbed salt Gatorade, sprayed my legs with bio freeze and vowed to not stop again. And I didn't. I was so afraid I would lock up again, but I continued to pick up my pace, slowly haha. At 26 miles when I entered the finishers chute I was extatic. I finished the race, on my own!!! Best .2 miles of the race.
Normally, old me, would have obsessed about the slower finish time. 4:54 and some change where last time I was 4:33, I would have obsessed about the speed I started with, or should I have worn my older shoes, etc etc etc. Of course I wish I had been faster and not hurt as bad, but how can you not be proud when you just ran 26.2 frickin miles. It wasn't a fluke, it wasn't a one time thing, I AM A MARATHONER! This race was harder that Charleston by far, I hurt more during and after, but I learned more about myself this time. I can do this...I am strong,.. I am determined.... I want to see how far I can push myself. And I love this crap. Will I do another marathon, why yes I will.........
AFTER I RUN MY FIRST ULTRA IN JANUARY. Stay tuned to my insanity