Marathon Reflections: Thinking Out Loud v3

When I posted my marathon recap I made mention of reflecting on the journey but wasn’t at a place to do that just yet. Enter Thinking Out Loud Thursday! Thanks to Amanda at Running with Spoons for hosting. And I’m happy to see so many of my blogging peeps picking up on this (cough Sue, Lisa cough). I guess we all need an untargeted outlet once in a while. Thinking-Out-Loud2

It has been nearly a month since I completed my first marathon. I’ve taken more rest days than not over the past few weeks and feel like I’m still playing catch up with my life but I hear that’s normal (validation anyone?!) While I wouldn’t change this experience for anything and am proud to call myself a marathoner – I was and still am tired. 

Part of that is tiredness is a result of other non running related things. However, when I reflect on my year of running the reality is – I’ve been marathon training for most of it. For 10 weeks I trained for Shamrock before falling to injury. After a 6 week layup I was itching to run again and in an abbreviated time span trained for the Pittsburgh half. The ZOOMA half came a few weeks later and then I shut it down for a month or so before my 16 week Marine Corps training plan began. If you’ve done the math that is 26 weeks/half a year of marathon training alone. Add to that the 2 months it took for me to recover then rebuild my base. Just typing that makes me tired. Just Tired

Following injury all I could think of was “get healthy, get healthy”. The second my foot brace came off I was excited to run again. I entered the Marine Corps lottery on a post injury high (whim). The happiness I felt upon acceptance meant that I was going to get to finish what I started and run a marathon to celebrate 40 years. It also meant I didn’t have to travel!!

Overall the training process went just fine. I fought the blazing DC heat and humidity on some runs but for the most part it wasn’t a bad summer to run in. And to break up the monotony I did some travel and incorporated a few races into my schedule. There were a few things though that brought about some challenges. For the first time I’m actually admitting I was training scared.

My foot just felt “different” after injury and I was constantly worried about re-injuring it. My thoughts were focused on my form, my strike, and the shoes I wore. I also gained weight and while I tried to keep a personal training schedule, I lost some fitness (I tend to lift heavy to build muscle but abandoned that). As a result my speed suffered. My speed work was inconsistent and the typical 8:30-9 minute miles I had been building up to were replaced with 10+ minute mile runs. Then of course the knee tweak 3 weeks out of the final event. My average pace during the marathon ended up in the 12+ minute range. Going into my first marathon my goal ultimately was to finish but I did have a secret goal time I finished nowhere near.

If You WaitEmotionally I wanted this run this year almost out of (personal) obligation. In all honesty though, I was not in the shape I would have liked to be in leading up to a half marathon let alone a full. On top of all of that some personal events added a load of stress I hadn’t expected to deal with during this process. Hindsight is always 20/20 but if I hadn’t gotten accepted into Marine Corps I likely would have rested until my March Shamrock Marathon deferral, though I did have other fall marathons on the short list.

All that said, you can train and train and train but nothing quite prepares for what race day may hold. You just do your best and see where the road takes you. I learned a lot about myself during this journey and absolutely respect the marathon.

journey reward

Will I marathon again? Undoubtedly, yes (happy now Courtney? πŸ™‚ ) but not for at least another year. If nothing else but to give my body the rest it deserves. Imparting the lessons I’ve learned, I’d love to come back stronger and healthier and see how I can improve. Building my speed back up is a major focus moving forward. My next big challenge is a sub 2 hour half marathon which I hope to accomplish at Shamrock in March and already have a training plan for.

My world won’t crumble if marathon #2 never happens or if I don’t meet my secret time goal but the challenge is definitely out there.

Have you ever considered running a marathon? To my marathoners, how did you feel about your first experience with 26.2? What made you decide to run #2 (or 3 or 4)?

34 thoughts on “Marathon Reflections: Thinking Out Loud v3

  1. I waited 7 years between #1 and #2 – mainly b/c of “life” – grad school, community to baltimore for work (pre and post grad school). In hindsight, I wish I didn’t do that b/c it impacted my health. I know I would love to run #3 next year… just some unfinished business – I know I could have a better race (I imagine it would be difficult to have the perfect 26.2… one day). Rest up and see ya at VABeach πŸ˜€
    Jennifer recently posted…Throwback Thursday – Remember When…..My Profile

  2. I actually loved the experience of the first marathon last year. I didn’t hit my time goals at all, but I was happy with the “experience”. This year I hated the “experience” and to be honest, if Paris wasn’t already paid for, I wouldn’t be running another marathon for a while. I think all of your thoughts are normal AND justified!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Thinking Out Loud….Vol. 2My Profile

    1. I think anyone can do any distance with the proper training – but the marathon definitely adds a huge time commitment to the training cycle. But I love shorter distances for sure!

  3. love this post – so honest. the truth is the marathon is a beast. what has motivated me is feeling like (and now KNOWING) i have a better marathon in me than what i’ve run. i’m not sure if that means that when i actually hit my goals in a marathon i’ll be done. i have no idea. i think you are amazing and a rest period is WELL deserved. i’m still gathering all my thoughts post marathon so i loved reading yours πŸ™‚ sub 2 is DEF gonna happen in va beach – that flat course will be yours to own!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Holiday Gift Guide for RunnersMy Profile

  4. Wow, that is a lot you’ve had on your plate this year! I can definitely see why you’re tired and I hope you get lots of rest in πŸ™‚ I don’t know if I’ll ever do a full marathon. I think I’m going to keep doing halves for a while before even thinking of that decision.
    Chaitali recently posted…Richmond Half MarathonMy Profile

  5. My first marathon was awful! I trained poorly, got injured, and walked the second half. I hated it and said i’d never do it again.

    Two years and a baby later and I ran my second! I ran my second mostly as motivation to lose the baby weight, but also to prove to myself that I could do it a second time and come out on top. It worked! It was awesome. SO awesome.

    Don’t give it up, just give it some time and try it again!
    Kelli recently posted…Thinking Out Loud Thursday #2My Profile

  6. Girl, seriously. Running a marathon takes so much work, so much detail, with regards to training and nutrition. Then, there’s the actual race day.

    All I know is that at the beginning of my last marathon (where I reached my sub-4 goal), I kept telling myself that this is NOT a distance to underestimate. EVER. It WILL hurt. A LOT. I expected the suffering that came with the joy.

    You have this to look back on next year, and that’s the most valuable experience ever. πŸ™‚
    Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete recently posted…New Purse Drama, Costco Loot, and I NEED Your Advice!My Profile

  7. Congrats again on completing the marathon! You’re honesty is refreshing. I was really nervous about my first marathon. It didn’t go as planned either but I did it. At first, I wasn’t planning on running another marathon but I deferred my Chicago Marathon entry for this year to next year so I’m already looking at marathon 2 (and oddly enough planning 3,4 and 5 over the course of years).

    I hope you sit back with your feet up, wine in hand and a good book(or TV). Relax and enjoy!

  8. I loved reading this. I am not a runner, but any definition, but have always wanted to call myself a runner. So, last week I started training. I love it. I’m not good at it yet – but each day I get better. My goals is to complete a half marathon in 2015.
    Sonja Pound recently posted…Five Ways to be More SocialMy Profile

  9. Ok, I’m going to bookmark this post and come back to it next week. Doing my first full this weekend in Philly and am already freaked out about it. When I got to how tired you were, I thought it prudent to stop. I’ll come back and reflect with you next week:)

    1. Keep in mind these are my reflections based on my own training and marathon experience. I had an injury earlier this year that I never quite got over so don’t be alarmed for your own experience!!

  10. Whewww, props to you on finishing a full marathon, and it’s good that you’re taking some time to rest your body! I ran a half a long, long time ago, and am pretty certain that that’s the longest distance I’m ever planning on doing. (I discovered rather quickly that running really isn’t my thing, but I really wanted to cross that off my bucket list! πŸ˜› )

    I very much agree with that post on “waiting for the perfect conditions!”
    Farrah recently posted…Reflections on Emergency MedicineMy Profile

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