Well, so I did it! I won’t rehash all my previous oversharing about hip and not even knowing how to not RACE in a race, but to simply go and be in it and attend it. I completely showed up at this race hoping I could actually get THROUGH IT- somehow, which I realized may involve walking, to the finish line. And I did!
Overall, it was better than I expected. I was so lucky and happy to know someone else at this race and be able to see them at the start line as they prepared for their BIG EVENT- the marathon with big goals. So, it honestly HELPED ME to not be in my own head. I was mostly in my head at this point about worrying if I would need to go to the bathroom during the run.
I had jogged a mile as a warm up to get to the start line and I was SUPER nervous because THIS DID NOT FEEL GOOD. I was having my big unfortunate SHIN / ANKLE cramping issue on that jog, I Have ZERO idea why. But I thought, well, maybe now after walking it out and standing around for a bit, it won’t happen again. AND IT DIDN’T! I am so thankful because I seem to have no control over when it comes or not.
Anyway, the race began and I started and stuck to my job of jogging easy and steady. I started breathing a little, but not at all that first mile typical of a race, and my legs were just literally jogging and I was checking in thinking, anything with shin? And NOTHING, so it was great! I had planned that maybe this mile could be a 9 min mile pace, but honestly, I’ve gone out recently for runs and the first mile can be anywhere up to 11:30 even because my legs sometimes just do not function. I knew on flat, it would be easier, but still didn’t want to overdo since I’m not fit enough to push right now, and I thought 9 may be a good guess. I was at 8:45. But I was ok with it being slightly under 9 because my effort was literally just totally fine. I didn’t want to get excited, and I told myself to just keep it as it was and see how the first 4 miles felt. I kept the effort, but each mile kept sneaking up a little faster. I didn’t want to do the wrong thing, but I just kept checking in with my effort and I knew I was just easy and steady and fine.
We were at maybe 3.5-6, heading out of this residential street and up a hill and I was still in a large crowd of people and I Hear behind me, like maybe a tenth of a mile behind me (so not like directly behind me) a guy continuously YELLING something. Like he was having a conversation ina YELLING voice. Like he wanted everyone to hear?! I was like wtf is this guy doing. Until I realized, OK, I think he is a pacer and he kept yelling out when he could see port a pots coming up on the right, or water stations, reminding people nuun in blue, water in white cups, etc. He was telling stories though as well and all in this SHOUTING VOICE, which I was honestly like I Have GOT to get away from this guy. The noise was breaking up my head space and I was kind of like, first: how is a guy YELLING HIS WORDS CONTINUOUSLY, like he has literally not shut up yet. And also- does he think we really all want to hear his conversations and stories. They were all fine and random, but I found it odd. Anyway, I finally disconnected from his noise and let it be less annoying.
Once we entered fort story, I Realized the port o pots weren’t happening anymore and… of course I start to think, uh oh, I might need one. But it wasn’t a disaster, so I just kept steady and was fine. I took a stinger for some calories at mile 4 and I wonder if that was what started me thinking I needed to use a bathroom, and then knowing I couldn’t? Anyway, it wasn’t until afdter the 8 mile mark that there was a bathroom, so I headed into that and luckily was fine for the rest of the race! I started to also at that point really start to feel LEGS. Like my running/ breathing/ cardio was FINE… I was not working hard at all. But my legs were beginning to get fatigued, and I realized I don’t have enough training under me to really know how this is going to go. I’m still just holding steady effort, although I had descended and had a few miles under the 8 min mile pace at like 7:57, 7:53, 7:53 and I was like NO FASTER SHARON. But then again, it was flat and I don’t’ even know what that is like since running in reston is so naturally hilly EVERYWHERE. After I got out of the bathroom, we exited fort Story soon and there we were back in the neighborhood roads, people on the side streets cheering us on. With my legs getting tired and the worry in my head that maybe my legs wouldn’t be able to keep going, I just committed to getting to the next mile and not doing any pushing.
My miles did start to back into the low 8’s for pace here. I kept thinking about Rachel ahead of me who was on her big marathon day, and how honestly I was SO THANKFUL to not be doing the marathon! (although I was realizing, dUH, I wouldn’t have as tired of legs if I had because I would have done some more TRAINING!) I was happy to hit 10 miles because in my mind I had thought, geez, you may have to walk the last few miles back, and I knew at 10 that I could at least run another mile. And same thing at 11, I was like I can do a mile , I’m still fine, now I’m working and my legs are progressively getting more fatigued but I’m okay and HIP is not doing anything funky with giving out at all! At 12, I definitely knew I could finish, and maybe tried to just KEEP effort here, although that was now resulting in slowing down.
We turned to go onto the boardwalk and it was CRAZY CHURNING of the ocean, the wind was so strong by the ocean. I absolutely hate running on the cement boardwalk, even though I love being right up next to the ocean, the cement surface I can FEEL IMMEDIATELY in my feet and legs and back. But I knew it was just the last bit up to the finish line. I did get a little extra oomph in last ¼ mile as I saw the finish and again, this was just a feeling of PURE enjoyment of participating and being pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t nearly as slow as I thought I might be. I literally thought that I might be like 20-30 minutes slower, depending on how things were “functioning”, so I was so grateful to be running in decent form and while not near my regular half marathon times, I was acutely aware that I could have been way back taking a long walk in. This was such a motivating marathon to me- do be able to participate, and within that participation, realizing that maybe this might be the new normal- not needing to try to go fast, just going with what I have on that day- and it was still REWARDING!!!!
*It certainly didn’t hurt that we were at the OCEAN and that I got to stay in a room that was OCEAN FREAKING FRONT. Like the entire night before the race, I could hear waves. It was AMAZING. I was so thankful in so many ways.
Below are my splits for my review if I ever do this race again. Thanks for reading😊
Mile 1 8:45
9 8:44 (bathroom break)