This was it. The final marathon of 2018 I trained to race and finally see the red digital number I had worked so hard for, appear as my foot crossed the blue and red timing mat…
Richmond Marathon took place on November 10th, 2018 and I was as ready as I could have been although I was beginning to grow tired of racing marathons. I’ve never been one to “race” more than 1-2 half marathons per year, so racing 3 marathons was a lot and after all is done, probably too much mentally and emotionally to handle.
When i pick out a race and start miles of training, I truly throw myself eyeballs deep into it. It will take a lot to skip a scheduled run. I will wake up before the sun or go out in the pitch dark evenings of the icy, winter to get the training it in. Nothing will hold me back, nothing will conquer me. But with each race after Boston, I found myself kinda falling out of love with racing, especially the marathon distance.
Richmond training was different. The miles were there, the speed was there, but my heart wasn’t. I was supposed to run a 3:15 marathon at Richmond because it’s what I trained for. On paper my training looked excellent, but I was struggling between the ears.
On the morning of Richmond, I was happy and content. Stephen was running the 8k that morning which started about 30 minutes prior to the marathon, which kept my mind busy and off my race. I got to send him off and watch his start. Then I got myself ready and dropped my bag (as well as allllll the extra layers) at the bag trucks. It was supposed to be 45 and sunny. I was excited to be running in shorts, in a new city, running my 7th marathon.
The start of the race was nothing new, just familiar and meditative. Getting the crowd energized, the National Anthem, last minute stretching, eating, sipping, lace tying, watch beeping, then the start. Hearing thousands of shoes pelting the ground, people cheering in stereo along the barriers, we ran together forging a bond, ready to complete a 26.2 adventure through Richmond.
It was beautiful. The sun peeked out, the weather was perfect, my legs felt alright. Not perfect, but alright. First miles don’t dictate the outcome of a race, usually the first miles are big, fat liars.
Somewhere around mile 5 someone who looked like Bart Yasso gave me a motivational “you’re looking great!” I found myself flowing in and out of race pace, 7:30s good, 6:55s slow down! The plan was to stick around 7:20/pace and speed up after the halfway mark.
After 13 miles, I couldn’t find the push to go any faster. I was still on pace for a PR (anything faster than 7:40/p) and decided not to push, but to feel out a few more miles and adjust. I’m thankful I did because the park had tree coverage and I didn’t realize how windy it was. There were 14 mph headwinds for the remainder of that marathon. And it just crushed me and my already worn down spirit.
I hate admitting that. The wind really deflated me. I always try and push as hard as I can when the going gets tough, but I saw pace slow and I kept getting side stitches from swallowing too much air from the wind flow and breathing hard. I had myself a little pity party, pretty sure I walked a few times, but I made sure to finish the marathon strong. I wasn’t getting my time goal, I wasn’t setting a personal record that day, but my god, i’m running in shorts and a tshirt and the love of my life is waiting for me at the finish. Life is good.
I barreled down that final half mile (mostly because it was a downhill finish) crossed the line, felt a giant relief come over me and I walked on. Bart Yasso again my angel for the day, high-fived me and said, “GREAT BQ! CONGRATS!” 3:24:41 Oh man… Did I qualify for Boston, under the new time constraints? That was pretty cool. I kinda forgot about BQ’ing since the wind wouldn’t shut up. I use to dream about what it would be like to qualify for Boston, and now i’m doing it on a bad day. I need to stop taking that for granted.
Finally I made it to where Stephen was. I don’t remember exactly what I said verbatim, but it was along the lines of, “I’m done with the marathon.” As soon as those words left my throat, I felt that heavy heart I was carrying for so many months disappear. I cried and laid into Stephen’s underarm while we walked toward the beer tents. Then he asked what most people ask as soon as you cross a finish line, “so what’s next?” And I raised my right hand with 5 fingers and the left with an “O” shape. He laughed, seemed excited and said “OK.”
50 miles it is.
Then we hit a few local breweries up to refuel before heading home. This race, city and atmosphere was really great. I don’t know if i’d run the course again, mostly because there are SO many other places and races to run, but never say never!
Ever get burnt out on a single distance or activity?
What is your favorite distance?