This was it. This was the big thing. The race I’ve been training for for months. All of that time, energy, effort and now it’s over. For what it’s worth, it was a really amazing event for me. No, I didn’t PR. Not even close. But despite that, or perhaps in part because of it, this race was the perfect culmination of this training cycle.
The course was really tough, others words didn’t prepare me. But I got through it. And I had more fun at this marathon than I did since probably my first one, maybe more than that even. I got a pep talk text from one of my buddies on race morning that reminded me to have fun. And that I did.
I ran the first two miles (uphill) with someone I’ve been friends with for a very long time. The initial 3 mile ascent (I kid you not, the first 3 miles are all uphill) puts you in the zoo, where some of the animals were out with handlers. I stopped for selfie with a penguin. I didn’t wear my headphones, instead I just took in the city, I talked to strangers running near me. I had headphones with me in case I felt like I needed them, but even when it got rough I never put them in. I said thank you to as many police officers and volunteers as I could. I smiled at signs and talked to the people holding them. Slapped five with anyone who had their hand out, and tapped every single “power up” sign that I saw along the way. Chatted about being from Pittsburgh and in ‘enemy territory’ when people noticed my Terrible Towel. I took a dixie cup of beer and a shot of tequila when offered. And though I really fell apart between miles 18 and 24, I crossed the finish line running with my Terrible Towel twirling overhead.
This wasn’t a PR race. It was warmer than it was supposed to have been (though mercifully it wasn’t humid). I wasn’t as ready for the hills as I should’ve been. But I am REALLY proud of myself for this race. I trained hard for it. I stuck it out even though I really wanted to downgrade to the half. I relaxed into it and had a ton of fun. And I EARNED that medal.
All of that said, I’ve been saying through almost this whole training cycle that I was done with fulls for awhile after this, and that was cemented for me during this race. And surprisingly it wasn’t during miles 18-24 when I was really struggling. It was around mile 16, somewhere after the tequila shot. It was all very clear to me that I need to be done for awhile. I’ll never say never. I may take a couple years off and get the itch again (like I did this year). Or maybe this was it. I won’t speculate on that, but it is safe to say that I will not be doing a full next year. Half marathons and shorter for awhile. I really want to work on speed and seeing what I’m capable of there. This was a good race to end on.
approaching the finish with my Terrible Towel
Thanks for sticking by me through this journey, friends. On to the next…