Nobody likes a Negative Nelly, so I’m going to try to keep this race report as positive as I can.
I’ve been very vocal about my quest to qualify for Boston. This is truly the first time that I trained specifically to do just that and took it very seriously. I thought for sure this would be my race – after all, I had nailed most of my workouts and PR’d in the half marathon and 10K recently. My training proved to me that I was capable of a sub-3:40 race.
And then two weeks ago I came down with peroneal tendonitis (in my foot) and I questioned everything. I treated it aggressively, though (acupuncture, chiro adjustments, shock wave therapy, ultrasound, and stretch therapy on top of anti-inflammatories, ice, massage, and rest) and by the Thursday before the race I was confident again.
Saturday morning I took some Aleve and had my foot taped perfectly – I was ready. Although very nervous. In fact I felt very nauseous on the entire bus ride from the finish line to the starting line. But I figured that would go away as soon as the race started.
When I arrived at the starting line area, I met up with some friends and relaxed for about an hour. They had heaters set up in the staging area as well as a few fire pits (we were in the middle of the desert), which was definitely a nice bonus. It was only in the upper-40s, but the heat felt good. Then after the National Anthem, they set off some fireworks, and we were ready to start.
The first few miles felt fine. My plan was to stick with the 3:30 pace team as long as possible, but the pacer was going way too fast. A 3:30 finish is about 8:00 miles and the pacer was doing 7:45s. So after about 2 or 3 miles I knew I had to slow down and follow my own pace. Miles 4 through 6 were all uphill, so that was a little rough, but the rest of the race was a very gradual downhill, so I knew I could go slow during those uphill miles and make up for time later.
By the time I got to mile 10, the 3:35 pace group had caught up to me. No big deal, I thought – I’ll stick with them as long as possible and if I have to slow down, all I have to do is stay in front of the 3:40 group. I lost the 3:35 group around mile 16, right around the time when I started to feel faint, lightheaded, and dizzy. I also had some intermittent chest pain and tightening. It scared me a little because I have a very slight heart murmur and I am always paying close attention to my heart (ultrasounds and cardiac tests prove it’s nothing to be concerned about). But the pain wasn’t bad enough to stop, so I kept going. Not long after that, my quads decided that they were done. I knew another 10 miles was going to take everything in me.
Right around mile 20, the 3:40 pace group caught up to me. I stuck with them for about a mile, but at that point, I just couldn’t keep up. At the time I told myself that I had gotten this far without much foot pain and if I could just finish, I would be happy. And then my foot started to hurt pretty bad. I was okay if I took short walk breaks every few minutes, but then after another ½ mile or so, it would hurt again. So I just took it slow and took as many walk breaks as I needed until the end of the race. In the end, I finished in 3:54. Neither a BQ nor a PR. But at least I finished.
And then once I crossed the finish line, it finally hit me that I did not achieve any of my goals and I was crushed. I unsuccessfully fought back the tears. I not only was disappointed in myself, but I felt like I had let everyone down: my coaches, my teammates, my friends that were out there cheering me on, and my readers. I know that might seem silly and nobody really cares other than myself, but when you put such definitive goals out there for the world to read and then you don’t meet them, it feels like you are disappointing the world.
On the one hand, I feel like maybe full marathons just aren’t my distance and I want to retire from them forever and focus on half marathons and shorter races. Maybe a BQ is never in my future. And then on the other hand, I feel the need to redeem myself and jump right back into training so that I can try again. I have so many emotions going on right now, but I need to try to not think about it for a week or two and then determine how I really feel – when I’m not 2 hours fresh off of a race and ripe with emotions.
In the end, I am extremely disappointed in myself, but I am happy for the fact that 1) I finished (I don’t think I’ve ever seriously contemplated dropping out of a race until today), and 2) that my foot held up okay. Of course, we’ll see what it feels like tomorrow…
I also have to say a quick thank you to my amazing husband. He has been my rock and my biggest support over the past 4 months – I never could have done it if it weren’t for his help and support. He’s put up with a lot from me and I owe him a huge thank you. I’m sure he is just as glad that this marathon is over as I am.