|At the starting line, ready to go!|
I trained for about three months and followed Hal Higdon's Beginners Marathon Training Plan to the "T", until I couldn't. Turns out, newbies like me get injured. Our bodies break down and we get sick too. Then we get scared. Check, check and check! My training started out great and I had worked up to 15 miles and was really feeling great. Then I injured my calf, and that changed everything. I thought I pulled a muscle and began seeing a Chiropractor who specializes in runners. We were able to work through it, he said I was over training and said to cut back on miles and up my protein intake. He said to eat my weight in protein ounces. But I lost any speed I had and my lower legs never felt the same again. They always hurt, whether it was a 3 mile or 20 mile run.
My 19 mile training run was demoralizing, and I was starting to feel isolated and lonely. Then two weeks before the race I got an awful cough and chest cold. So I started telling myself, and a few friends, that I was done. I didn't have a strong enough core and I wasn't really a "real runner" anyways. But they reminded me why I chose to run a marathon and that I had done all the hard work. Even walking into the Expo the night before, my legs were sore, still sick and I was freezing cold. Everyone around me seemed so young and fit, I definately felt like an outsider.
But I got up early last Sunday morning and caught a bus to the starting line. The bus was filled with experienced marathoners with lots of last minute advice. I stayed on the warm bus until just a few minutes before 7am, then lined up near the 4:40 Pace Team. When I first started training, before I got shin splints, calf pain and my chest cold I thought I could do it in that time. But I knew that wasn't possible anymore. I had decided to implement Jeff Galloway's run/walk method and did Run a Mile, Walk a Minute the whole race.
At mile 2 I shed my extra shirt, and was down to two long sleeved shirts, running tights, knee-high compression socks, gloves and a banana that kept my face and neck warm. At the first water station, the water was frozen, the street was an ice skating rink and half the potta potties were frozen shut! Did I mention it was cold? And it never warmed up and was below freezing nearly the entire race. I got to the half way mark about 5 minutes off my normal Half Marathon time, I was about 2:25 into the race. I was so surprised and thrilled to see my husband and boys there! That was a surprise. Apparently my husband completely forgot about our meeting arrangements on the course! Miles 15-19 were the hardest and I ended up walking here and there and not feeling too motivated. I stopped and used a porta pottie and when I came out it was a whole different group of runners and the people I had been running with were all gone. It seemed like the course had cleared out too. I remember another runner coming from behind and saying "Come on, we can do this!" and I nodded was like "Yea" and he said "No, COME ON!". And I was like oh, okay and started running again and got back on program. I was still cold, but realized both my shirts were soaking wet from sweat.
|Mile 24, slow but still running|
|Finish line with my boys|
BTW, not only did I not lose weight training for the marathon, but I put weight on! So I'll be rededicating myself to Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure for the new year. And again reminding myself it is diet that sheds my weight, not exercise.