Well my 4th full marathon has come and gone and it was pretty uneventful. I guess that’s pretty good when it comes to the notorious 26.2 distance, considering everything that could go wrong.
My pace was decent (for me at least), my nutrition was great, the weather was beautiful and I felt pretty good almost the entire race.
I ran. I laughed. I smiled. And I was happy to finish.
I’ll be completely honest that the thrill of 26.2 just wasn’t there for me this year. It wasn’t my worst marathon time ever, but it clearly wasn’t a PR either (not that I even tried). I found myself lacking passion almost the entire race. Sure the race was fun and there were plenty of moments where I laughed, smiled and chatted with other runners, but I can’t help but notice that I just felt “over it” for the majority of the race. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve ran this race for the past four years straight or if I felt bored because of the lack of swimming and biking before the run! Either way I was happy to be done when it ended and I’m left questioning if I will be back next year. Not because the race itself sucked — far from it actually — Akron puts on a great race every September.
It’s almost like a weird breakup…it wasn’t the race — it was me.
I was happy for the chance to run with one of my best friends, Katie. I’ve ran this race with other friends before and ran solo last year, so it was nice to be back with friends again. Katie’s husband and my husband kept us company at the start and I’ll admit it was awesome to have my husband there post-race to drive me home!
I ran with Katie up until mile 7, because I was starting to get nervous that I was falling too far behind the marathon course time. Unfortunately Katie was having some knee issues during the race and was trying to push through it. Sometimes training and running is like playing Russian Roulette with body parts. Everything could be going fine and then suddenly your knee, or ankle or Achilles’s tendon starts acting up out of the blue. Despite a tremendous amount of pain (and possibly a stress fracture!!), Katie DID end up finishing. She put in the months of training and hard work and like so many of us, an injury started to surface in the last few weeks of training. I’m reminded of that quote “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face”. How many other runners can relate to that?!
I woke up the next day after the marathon not nearly as sore as I thought I’d be. Honestly I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I’m left wondering what my plans are after the marathon. I want to build more muscle in the off season, while also maintaining my fitness. I’m notorious for taking three full months off in the winter and then coming back in January and having to rebuild from scratch (and having to lose 20lbs!!). I’m really trying to avoid that happening again this year!
This week I started, Charlie Mike, which is a free 6-week workout plan on BodyBuilding.com. It’s 5 to 6 days a week and it’s always a lift (bench, squat, etc.) followed by two conditioning circuits. I think it’ll help get me out of the cardio/endurance state of mind and it’ll be nice to focus on something other than swimming, biking and running. Today was day two and I am a good sore. I also completed both workouts in about 50 minutes each — which is a short workout compared to Ironman training! I know the workouts are going to get harder though, so I’ll just enjoy it for now!
Here’s to the off season that won’t be so “off” for me this year!