On Sunday I finished my 18th marathon and 1560th margarita.
Going into the 2017 Madison Marathon on Sunday I didn’t have a clear expectation. It was a toss up, what were my legs willing to give me? As mentioned in my previous post, my long runs had a fat tire bike race the day before. I somewhat expected newfound strength in my legs on race day without a fat tire bike race the day before. The plan was to start slow for the first hour, and then find a “joy pace”.
Race conditions were cloudy, forecasted showers/snow though it didn’t, 30 degrees, and 0-5 mph wind.
I stuck to my joy plan. I even had my virtual Joy Run bib behind my Madison Marathon bib. Throughout the race I would repeat to myself “Joy pace, joy pace, joy pace, you’re doing this, it’s a great day, you feel awesome, joy pace, joy pace!” I really did feel strong and consistent. I even smiled at the race photographers knowing there were free photo downloads.
I didn’t stop to walk until mile 19, a PR in longest distance before walking. I also mastered the art of grabbing a cup of water, squeezing the top shut, and pouring water into my mouth without having to stop. It was nice to see some friends out on the course cheering too.
My wall was at mile 20 when I let myself peek at my Garmin. I was disappointed to see 3:25. My splits and positive mindset took a dip. I walked a couple more times and cursed the hills.
Here’s the ridiculous part, all of my splits before that moment were consistent high nines and low tens. My splits were in my joy pace, until the last six miles when it became about “you MUST sub ten, sub ten, sub ten, shit you ran an 11, hurry, damn this hill, get your butt moving!” My mindset went from joy to time focused.
That balance between my expectations and joy is tough to find. That’s why I continue to do marathons, to keep chasing after this all-stars-aligned, unicorn-filled finish. But even then, I’m likely to find one part not to celebrate and try again. This finish had many stars align, and a few unicorns. I’m celebrating the smaller pieces of this finish, the fact that I didn’t walk until mile 19 and kept my head strong for just as long. I’m proud of my ability to train in my untraditional ways, show up, and bust out a pretty darn solid 26.2.
18th marathon: 4:37
Slowest marathon: 5:38, Ironman WI 2016
Fastest marathon: 4:27, On the Road, Iowa 2012