I get mind blocks.
My mom once went a year with out cleaning her car because she had a block about it. I get it. I get those type of mind blocks and no matter how hard it is to overcome them sometimes I can’t.
I get mini blocks about writing race recaps. I don’t want the race to be over. I want to be in that moment and writing my thoughts down means the moment is over. The looking forward, the pain during and the elation after is over. The race is finished.
#23 came and went with the blink of an eye.
The weekend I had looked forward to ended too soon. When packing up my suitcase the morning after the race my husband and I both agreed that while we were happy to go back home and see our littles we wouldn’t mind staying in the dream world that was Vegas for just a couple of more days.
The hotel was AMAZING and our room was equally as nice. I spent most of the day on Saturday laying around in the room and I don’t regret it one bit. I was just as happy in that room looking out over the city of Vegas as I was walking around.
There wasn’t a moment in Vegas that I wasn’t happy I was there.
Friday night we went to the VIP Party Competitor was hosting at the Hyde nightclub at the Bellagio. As the night wore on – I got happier. It wasn’t just the alcohol, that was causing my eyes to get sleepier, it was a inner feeling that I was in my element. I was surrounded by like minded runners. Magazines from Competitor Group were strewn about the nightclub and I couldn’t help but feel giddy inside seeing my face on the Women’s Running ones.
I got to meet Mario Fraioli – someone who I follow on twitter and instagram and who is an inspiration to me to chase after my dreams. I got to meet Rod Dixon the winner of the 1983 New York City Marathon. I loved that when I met him I couldn’t help but feel that your accomplishments in running live on your whole life. A PR or a good race will always stick with you. Your memories are treasures to be kept in a safe place so that you can think about them when you need inner strength.
Signing Magazines and posing for pictures at the Women’s Running booth Friday and Saturday was surreal. It was a dream come true in a dream world. Dreams can be reality. They don’t have to stay dreams forever and they can fuel you to DREAM BIGGER and THINK BIGGER when it comes to what you want to accomplish and what you want out of life.
The race was an after thought to an amazing weekend. I knew I was going to run and I knew it was going to hurt. I didn’t train for this race. I trained for Marine Corps Marathon. I ran Richmond on what fitness was left after I had recovered from Marine Corps. Vegas was not a marathon I was going to breeze through. It was going to take all of my inner will power to get me through. My mom later remarked that it’s not so much will power that gets me through things like that, it’s the fact that I am one of the most stubborn people on this planet. For 23 miles I wanted to drop out and for 23 miles I reminded myself of the mantra – RELENTESS FORWARD PROGRESS. One foot in front o the other was what was going to get me to the finish line and that is all that mattered.
I started out too fast in the 7′s because I didn’t even know what pace to aim for in this race. The first mile the adrenaline was pumping and I thought to myself slow down – slow down.
After mile 3 I bumped into someone from Reston, my old home town and for one reason or another we started chatting. I don’t talk during marathons typically but I was glad I did this time. I met the man who started Team Fexy and made a new contact in this small running world. We stayed together for about 3 miles when I lost him at a water stop. I was alone with my thoughts till somewhere around mile 15 when another runner came up to me and started chatting. I was happy to have company and told him I would slow down or speed up based on what he wanted to run. I was planning to start run/walking at 20 and wanted company.
The race is dark, very very dark.
I love running in the dark so it made me feel alive. I was in pain. A LOT OF PAIN.
There are two types of pain in my eyes. Pain you can control and pain you can’t control. You have a choice whether to embrace the pain and wallow in it. The lines are blurred in a marathon whether the pain is what you can control or can’t control. My stomach was killing me, but I could in fact control that pain by dropping out. DNF’ing wasn’t an option in my eyes so I embraced the pain. I knew that the moment I had the medal around my neck for marathon #23 the pain wouldn’t matter any more.
I’ve been accused of having an obsessive compulsive pursuit of marathon finishers medals. Maybe I do. Maybe it’s crazy to run 3 marathons in 5 weeks or maybe it’s normal, my kind of normal. What is crazy and what is normal can only be defined by you.
I stayed with my new running friend till mile 21 when I told him I was ready to run/walk. I had made it farther running than I had planned because he was by my side but I didn’t want to do it any longer. He said he had to go on – if he stopped and walked it would be too hard to start again.
I was alone. Alone in the dark – yet not alone.
I’d be lying if I said it was fun being in pain. It wasn’t. There were a couple of points that I had some serious talks about life with myself. Things have been up and down for me in my personal life lately and it has taken a toll on me.
I think clearest when I am running long.
At mile 23 I told myself only 3 more miles.
I actually wanted to cry. I wasn’t sure if it was happiness that I only had 3 miles left or sadness that 3 miles seemed like an impossible distance at that point.
I ran and walked. My stomach turned and cramped. The day had been very windy and wind and my body don’t mix. Breathing was hard.
The lights of Vegas were in the distance and I kept focusing on them. I had to get to the lights. I felt like a bug trying to get closer to the light but knowing the closer I got to the lights the more it would burn me.
Mile 23 – 26 felt like forever. I took some solace in the fact that it seemed like everyone around me was not running what they wanted to be running. I was walking in packs of people. Was it the wind? The late start? The partying that many of us had done pre-race?
When I saw my time I wanted to run a 4:11. It seems silly, but it’s my birthday and I like numbers. So why not run a 4:11. I realized however that I needed to do more running and less walking to get that time, so I tried to pick it up. As I got closer I realized that I had run faster during the running parts than I had calculated and my time would be faster.
I finished in 4:07:09 and was so happy/proud/elated/exhausted when I got my medal.
#23 was a hard fight.
The race went off with out a hitch. I had heard horror stories from the year before but I can honestly say other than the wind there was absolutely nothing I can complain about when it came to this race. The logistics were perfect, the course was great, water at every station, plenty of music…the list could go on. I know I’ll come back again and train for this race. I may party a little less beforehand OR NOT.
If I had to do it all over again I would. I’d take 4 hours and 7 minutes of pain to get back that post marathon bliss. Thank you Competitor Group for an awesome weekend and fantastic marathon!
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