There were so many titles I could have named this post:
1. Three marathons back to back
2. Completion of Marathon Number 11
3. My failed attempt at being super woman
4. Deciding to run a marathon… in pain.
5. One of the dumbest things I’ve ever done.
My thoughts long ago when I signed up for 3 marathons, back to back was that one would be my key run for the fall, one (Chicago) would be slow, enjoyable, and celebratory because I was running for the first time with my husband, and finally the third was going to be a run for the finish to A. Get into Marathon Maniacs (qualify by running 3 marathons in 90 days) and B. To see if I could actually run faster than my first fall marathon (Rochester).
Well, I’m not super woman and my body doesn’t do miraculous things so by the time I got to marathon number three, I was spent, mentally and physically. You see, I knew Chicago would be slow and easy so I thought a third marathon wouldn’t be difficult. What I DID’NT count on that being on the road for 26.2 miles, 2 hours long than I’m used to would take tremendous toll on my body.
I went into Syracuse Empire State Marathon with a painful hip and hamstring but with an even more painful foot. I’ve come to the conclusion that the foot pain is plantar fasciitis. Because of this pain, I was seriously considering not running, avoiding any additional injury which might take me off the road for an extended period of time.
When we picked up my race packet and saw the shirt, I said “I’m running”. I LOVE this shirt and wouldn’t wear it if I didn’t try to run.
It’s so red, colorful and, well, happy
I was still questioning my decision on Saturday since walking around the house was painful without soft soled shoes. *I’m big on bare feet around the house and hate wearing slippers or shoes. Guess I think it makes my feet stronger. Sunday morning, I got up at 4:30 to eat before the 7:30 am start, and wondered about my decision. It would have been easy to go back to bed. I knew if we were out of town there wouldn’t be any question about running: came this far, just do it, attitude. But I was at home, no additional expense so backing out would be easy.
We parked at NBT Stadium at the starting line. This is a small marathon, in it’s 3rd year, so parking and starting were one in the same. It was windy and cold. VERY windy. The cold went away after we got moving, at least for me.
The race started and I couldn’t hit my goal pace. I reminded myself there was not supposed to be a goal pace and this was simply a run to the finish, no worry about time since I needed to manage my pain over trying to run to achieve something most likely impossible. I was on and off with this thought through the race and it eventually came down to just wanting to cross the finish line under 4 hours.
It was tough and not due to a painful body but rather an unwilling mind. The mental desire just wasn’t there today. I struggled through every mile.
The foot pain went away once I began to run. The hamstring and hip pain were with me but didn’t get any worse, just nagged. I had a knee issue for about a mile between 13 1/2 and 14. Once I got off the road camber, it went away.
The wind was an issue. It seemed to blow right at us for the majority of the race. The hills were tiring from miles 10 1/2 through 18. By the time we entered Onondaga Lake Park for the final 6 miles, I was spent and walked through the water stations. The other issue was the lack of crowd support. The only people cheering us on were the few that tended the water stations. Two points along the course I thought this was no better than running my 20 milers ALONE.
The course wasn’t very pretty, only going out along the lake and coming back along the lake. There wasn’t much food at the finish and no one was handing out Mylar sheets, you had to grab your own if you wanted one. There is one more issue with this marathon that I didn’t like: they didn’t post correspondence or updates on their site and even Facebook was a bit lacking in updates.
Ted got a little worried when I didn’t come in at my usual time. While I was on the course, he had gone to see his brother and the cats.
The last mile was a struggle. Once again I didn’t attribute it to pain but I was tired, physically, mentally. I decided that instead of giving into walking, I would do sprints then walk a little. This was after watching my pace go from an 8:55 to 8:57 to 8:58. When I saw the finish line around the corner, I kept running for a stronger finish.
No cramping. No pain manifested itself. I felt ok. I finished under 4 hours which, while not my best, not my worst is very acceptable to me. Third in my age group at 3:57:59 GUN TIME, AND 3:57:40 NET TIME…eking by (14 in age group. 522 marathon finishers. )
Yes, I will request membership in to the Maniacs
and NO, I will NEVER do three consecutive marathons again…no matter how much I like the medal and the shirt.
This was my version of an “ultra”. I really don’t know how those folks do it! 50 miles, 100 miles in one day…I can’t imagine.