A photographer friend of mine, who shot the story I wrote about the Pocono Marathon, was in Philly this weekend shooting pre- and post-race things for Runner’s World. As I was about to head to the start, he went to snap some fotes of me, and I said, “Remember this face?” And this is the resulting picture:
I was trying to mimic how I looked when he shot me at the end of Pocono, and that’s more or less how I looked at the end of Hartford this fall as well. That expression says, “Why did I put myself through that? I have been miserable for approximately three hours. I hate marathons and running and life.”
I hadn’t had an even remotely pleasant marathon since Big Sur, and I hadn’t come close to my PR of 3:43:23 all year. Both of these things were totally bumming me out.
I went into Philly with the primary goal of not being too completely miserable before at least mile 20 or so. I also really wanted a PR, but I wasn’t sure if those two goals could happen at the same time. (Especially since New York last fall, where I set my PR, was an incredibly unpleasant race after mile 18 or so. Still a little too early to consider dropping out.)
Well, the two goals could and did coexist. I ended up with a 3:41:30, and I never thought about quitting! The serious pain didn’t start until around 24.5 or so. I can push through a couple miles in serious pain. It felt a lot like my first marathon in Philly two years ago. I just did the whole thing much faster.
I found Bri–a friend from Philly who was shooting for a 3:50–just a couple miles into the race, and we ran together for a while. We did pretty consistent 8:40s, even through the hills. She wanted to slow down a little, so I took off around mile 12.
I was all alone (sob!) through the rest of the race, but I managed to pace myself pretty well (consistent 8:22s, mostly) through Manayunk and back toward the finish. I started picking it up (8:10s, 8:15s) after 22 or 23, and I was able to maintain that through to the chute, where I sprinted for the finish. (Once I could see the line, I perked right up and found some extra gas in the tank.)
I’m so happy to end the year on a high note. And I’ve learned some important things about marathoning in 2011:
– Two weeks is not enough time to recover from them. For me, anyway.
– “Save it, save it,” is a great mantra to use. Possibly straight through mile 22 or so, as I did. (Thanks, Jen!)
– Negative splits. Seriously. I never want to run a marathon any other way. (1:52:11 for my first half, which means the second was…1:49-something.) I was passing bitches left and right during the last 10K. It feels a lot better to do the passing than to get passed!
– If I want to qualify for Boston, which I do, I need to chip away at my time gradually. I can’t up and decide I will go for an eight-minute PR, because then I will crash and burn. And I need to strength-train consistently and run with people who are faster than I am.
– I miss half-marathons. I need to do more of those.