Two weeks ago I completed my 2nd marathon. It was truly 26.2 miles of pure hell. I had trained and it had gone well. The weather was even looking perfect. I had discovered that my optimum race temp is low 50s. However, the temps had spiked the few days prior and my goal time finishing was not looking good. I remained optimistic but I had a plan b and plan c in place. The only time when I plan it seems.
It started off with never sleeping the night before. I tried everything but never happened. I was still optimistic as I had a good nights rest 2 days before.
I figured run hard till the sun came up and then take it down and be smart. However, first 5 miles I had major side cramps. Never experienced that before. I had anticipated my calf giving me an issue but it remained strong. After the side cramps I had an issue breathing and needed another puff on the inhaler. Another issue I’ve never had. Ok. No problem. Keep moving. I’ve done this before. It heated up quickly and the humidity was brutal. I approached the turning point between half and full and seriously considered it. I then weighed my options. I thought I might not get a medal and that would suck because it was pretty cool. Then figured. Well. Fuck it. What could possibly go wrong in another 13 miles. So off I went to do the full.
We got a bit of a rain drizzle for maybe a mile and that helped. Once that stopped I was miserable again. Briefly chatting up with anyone I can. Then the best table ever appeared. It was one that ha beer shots. I felt better. It was everything you could imagine and more. I believe it was mile 16.
Along the way I discovered ice on the side of the road. I used that to rub on my neck and eat. At this point I didn’t care. Survival was my only plan. And if eating ice off the ground was the way then so be it. I also picked up 2 uneaten bananas along the route that were tossed to the ground. Again. Survival. I haz it.
Up until around mile 21 we ha some decent shade. I picked up a young woman who looked more miserable than me and I gave her a high five and told her to run with me. It was her first marathon and I told her about my first time and I had her tell me about herself. We ran together for about a mile till she hit a portapotty.
After we came out of the neighborhood we were along the causeway where there were no clouds or shade. It sucked but I discovered a table with more beer. That helped and I just trudged along. Hoping for the race to end. Everyone looked miserable. It was a beautiful day tho. I just kept thinking about the finish and the beer.
Once I hit that corner to the finish line it was Chicago all over again. I just balled my girly little eyes out and tried to keep my shorts from falling off as I sprinted to the finish.
The key is I didn’t quit. I wanted to. Every muscle ached. I had huge support from a friend of mine that never gave up on me. He pushed me to the finish even if he wasn’t there physically. Without him I would have just gave up.
Oh. And there was no more beer left. No more ice left.
I learn something after each race. Whether it’s about myself or racing tips or all of the above. This time I learned a lot more and I was able to establish a bond with someone. I’m a fighter but I’m also stubborn and dumb enough to do another marathon.
My body took a beating. Took longer to recoup and I couldn’t eat much for 4 days later.
That’s ok tho. It is all worth it when you see the finish. You forget the pain. The 26 miles of suffering. I wouldn’t change any moment of it. You find out what you are made of. That if given the chance to give up or push on that you put one foot in front of the other.
I will just do a marathon outside the state of Florida.