Marathon miracles and mistakes, and trying to keep my glass half-full.

In all honesty, I’ve been writing this post for weeks.  I figured out most of the mistakes I made BEFORE my race, but AFTER too much time had passed for my body to adjust and heal properly.  Before we dig into the meat of what the universe is attempting to teach me (and, boy, do I hope I FINALLY learn the lesson this time),I feel compelled to share some positives from the race.  There were A LOT of positives and I am trying to keep myself focused on them.  I understand that you may be are asking yourself WHY I made these mistakes if I figured them out before the race?  It is a valid question to which the answer is that I am most likely certifiably insane, not to be confused with certain types of insanity.

Miracles first (if I were Catholic, this could be grounds for sainthood): I DID NOT CHAFE.  Not one bit.  Not at all.  ANYONE who runs long distances realizes that this was probably an Act of God.  (I doubt it had anything to do with the 1/2 jar of Vaseline that I slathered on pre-race in each and every possible chafe zone.)  To further prove my point, the weather was muggy in the 60s, cloudy with misty or rain the entire time, so I was very sweaty and ended up very wet.  I should have been chafed from head to toe.

On a scale of 1-10, my muscle soreness is around 3-4 (muscle soreness, not ITB related soreness).  I kid you not.  It boggles my mind, as well.  I can only think of two possible explanations: either the Sport Legs pills I take hourly during long workouts really work or it was due to the walk breaks I was FORCED to take.  It was probably the walk breaks.  Funny how humbling 26.2 miles can be.  HUMBLING.

A text from one of my volleyball-parent friends.  I had a discussion with her husband this summer when I was able to clear up that 13.1 & 26.2 are not, in fact, non-existent radio station stickers.  (Yes, he is an Aggie)

A text from one of my volleyball-parent friends. I had a discussion with her husband this summer when I was able to clear up that 13.1 & 26.2 are, in fact, running distances and not radio station stickers. (Yes, he is an Aggie)

The next isn’t a positive as much as it is down-right funny.  Parents from Alli’s volleyball team were cheering me on and later saw my Facebook post about my ITB.  Apparently a group discussion ensued because no one had ever heard of an ITB, much less have any knowledge of it.  I’ve been told a couple of moms confused it with IBS and they were not only concerned about me, but the runners behind me. (Although this was never said in so many words.)  Thank goodness they finally consulted Google in the matter.  I assured them that not every runner suffers from ITBS but every runner has gut issues, so IBS could have totally been appropriate…..especially in a marathon and if Mexican food was involved the night before. (If you don’t get the Mexican food reference, you haven’t been running long enough.)

Dinner last night, celebrating the holidays with Alli's team after practice.  This is for those of you who think I don't eat.  Trust me, I had PLENTY of chips and salsa to accompany these tacos and nearly asked someone to roll me to my car.

Speaking of Tex-Mex…. Dinner last night, celebrating the holidays with Alli’s team after practice. This is for those of you who think I don’t eat. Trust me, I had PLENTY of chips and salsa to accompany these tacos and nearly asked someone to roll me to my car.

If you have lived under a rock for the past 6 months, you might not know that I went into this marathon training coming off an ITB injury.  I pushed my body too hard after the injury, experienced a setback and was just able to start the training plan fairly healthy.  Now on to the lessons this journey taught me.

  • My training plan was too aggressive for my stage post-injury.  OK, I knew this before I started.  I added drop back weeks in between long runs to help with recovery, but it was still too aggressive.  Intellectually, I realized this might be a problem, but I have a brain/body disconnect sometimes (OK…ALL the time).  I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted training to look like and was convinced that it would TOTALLY work. BUT I am actually glad I used this plan.  (May I interject that before my body started breaking down, my runs were ahhhhhmazing!!)  It may not have gotten me the best results on race day (the results were actually TERRIBLE), but I now have a better idea of the mileage windows in which I need to run to remain a healthy runner.  I am sitting down this week to roughly outline a new training plan for the next marathon before I put a complete mental block on everything that happened the past 5 weeks.
  • I didn’t have enough time.  Isn’t this always the case?  I had the time, in that I had 16 weeks to train, but time within my day-to-day activities was the problem.  I am over-scheduled.  Training this year has been a catalyst for me to begin thinking about how I can change.  (This is a GOOD thing!)  I worked full-time, drove Alli to volleyball practice (1 hour each way), officiated volleyball twice per week (and some Saturday tournaments) and STILL managed to squeeze in my runs.  I am looking to make some changes in 2015 that will allow me more time to train to hopefully avoid injury.
  • I didn’t foam roll or stretch enough.  This is a constant battle for me, which dovetails back into the time issue.  Even though I get up at 5am every morning to stretch and foam roll, when I was in the meat of training all I wanted to do was sit and wake up with a cup of coffee.  So many times I just sat and drank my coffee.  There were days that I was sooooo tired. (Actually, during the last third, I was ALWAYS tired.)  Plus, when you are feeling healthy you let some things slide…..like foam roll and stretching.
  • I slacked on the strength training.  Once again, a battle of the schedule…..and I just don’t like it.  During training for my next marathon (OF COURSE I’m going to run another!) I am going to try to clear my schedule as much as possible.  Marathon training is a full-time job, if one does it properly.  (I’m nothing, if not proper….but perhaps would be better said, I’m nothing, if not Texan.)
  • When I had a hard time believing in myself, my running friends (all my friends, really) carried me.  This happened all throughout the year, not just during race training.  The amount of support that I received when I was injured and during training was nothing short of AMAZING.  I would put my network of running buddies up against ANYONE.  The messages and well wishes I received in the days leading up to the race was mind-boggling.  I am still in awe of all the people who took the time to reach out.  And, for this tough Texas girl who never sheds a tear, I found myself with eyes-watering each time I read a tweet, Facebook post, email or text.  STILL. IN. AWE.

    This is the banner I spoke of in my last post.  Just looking at this picture warms my heart.

    This is the banner I spoke of in my last post. Just looking at this picture warms my heart.

Usually, I would be so angry and upset with myself for making these rookie mistakes.  (I am a little disappointed.)  However, I am trying to learn the lessons so that I can apply them to my training.  I want to continue running for a long time and there is a delicate balance between training effectively and pushing yourself to the next milestone versus over-training.  Now I know where some of those boundaries are and, hopefully, can apply them successfully to run injury free in the months to come.  My biggest obstacle is myself and the battle that I fight within to do the necessary things I don’t like to do….like strength training.

Try as I might, I am not satisfied with Sunday’s performance.  (I KNOW I ran a marathon and SHOULD just be happy that I finished, but I am not satisfied.)  But, like I said, I am focusing on the positives and I WILL be a better, stronger runner on the other side!

Intellectually I know I didn't "fail", but this spoke to me because I need to train more intelligently.

Intellectually I know I didn’t “fail”, but this spoke to me because I want a better result and I need to train more intelligently.

Happy Hump Day everyone!!

I only have 3 more days of work until a 2-week Christmas break!

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3 responses to “Marathon miracles and mistakes, and trying to keep my glass half-full.

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