I ran a marathon 2 weeks ago. I totally forgot to write about it.
Probably because it sucked so bad I just wanted to block it out.
Last summer, in July 2013, I did the NYC Triathlon.
And that was such an amazing experience that at the last minute, I registered for the NYC Marathon.
Less than four months later, in November of 2013, I ran my first marathon and crossed the finish line in Central Park.
And that was so awesome that I kind of made a secret goal to run a marathon every year.
I’m not fast.
My time in New York was a 4:37.
My ultimate goal is to break four hours.
My friend Erica has been on a pretty amazing journey since September of 2013.
That was when she made a commitment to lose weight and embrace a healthier lifestyle.
In doing so, she started running. And then she kind of fell in love with it.
So we started running together.
At first, it was sporadic. An occasional weeknight and then whenever we could make it work on the weekend.
This past June we ran a half marathon together.
Erica had already committed to running a marathon in October in Cape Cod.
It was a personal goal as well as something she was doing in honor of her friend Karen who, at the time, was battling cancer and who just recently passed away.
She asked me if I would train with her. She also asked me if I would run the marathon.
I really wanted to run the race with her, but since it’s in Cape Cod, I’d need to drive up the day before and stay overnight. There’s not really money in the budget for that.
So I told her I’d train with her.
And every Sunday for the past four months we’ve run together.
Even on those long runs, the fifteen and sixteen and twenty milers, I’ve looked forward to my Sunday morning runs with Erica.
About a month ago, I registered for the Hartford Marathon. I didn’t want to do all that training for nothing, plus that race is close enough to home that I could just drive up there that morning and then come home when I was done.
It was two weeks before the Cape Cod Marathon, so as far as the training schedule we’d been following went, I’d be pretty much on track.
Like I said before, I have a long-term goal of breaking four hours. I knew that wouldn’t happen in Hartford. But I was hoping to break 4:30.
While in my regular everyday life I consider myself to be a risk taker, when it comes to races, whether it be in running, or swimming, I’ve always been conservative. I always take it out slower than I probably need to. I almost always have just a little bit too much left at the end.
For instance, in the NYC Marathon, my fastest mile split was my last mile.
So in Hartford, I figured I’d just go for it. What did I have to lose? Rather than try and break 4:30, why not go for 4:15?
And so, I went for it.
It was pouring rain the entire time, but I felt great.
My first thirteen miles I beat my fastest half marathon time.
I was on top of the world.
And then, I hit a wall.
At mile 18 my legs seized up.
And by mile 20, I thought I was going to die. For real. I thought I might need to drop out.
I had to dig down deep. Real deep.
The last six miles I’d run as far as I could and then walk until I felt like I could start running again.
The bottoms of my feet were covered in blisters from wet shoes and I could feel where my sports bra had rubbed through my skin under my boobs and on my back.
There wasn’t one part of me that felt okay.
But I finished.
I didn’t break 4:30.
I didn’t even beat my NYC time.
A few years ago, I would have viewed this as a total failure.
But not now.
I went for it.
I tried something new.
It didn’t work out the way I would have liked ultimately, but I have no regrets.
No what ifs.
What if I had run faster?
What if I had pulled the trigger earlier?
But I do have some more experience under my belt.
I learned a little more.
And it’s going to come in handy.
Because unbeknownst to Erica, I talked to my parents.
And I secretly registered for the marathon.
They sprang for a hotel room.
And they drove up to Cape Cod with me.
I didn’t tell Erica until about…
30 minutes ago.
When I tracked her down at a restaurant in Falmouth and surprised the shit out of her.
And so, what we started together, we finish together.
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