Saturday, September 20, 2008

Whew.... I did it!

I survived a marathon! I won't say it was a great, enjoyable experience, because it wasn't (it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be), but I'm glad I did it. On the plus side: the course was quite scenic, and the weather was just right for running. The run down the canyon was beautiful: the trees are starting to change colors, and there was a nice cooling breeze blowing.

Unfortunately, things started off on the wrong foot when I woke up and discovered I'd started my period. I was afraid that would happen, but was really hoping it wouldn't. I always feel crummy, very crampy, and back-achy on the first day or so, and that was the case today. I was really counting on a good, fast pace (ok, 10 minutes/mile isn't a fast pace for a lot of people, but it is for me) during the 14 miles down the canyon, to compensate for what I knew would be a slower pace during the last 12 miles.

Because I was feeling crummy (and in pain) from the beginning, I was slower than I wanted coming down the canyon. Add to that the blisters I got on both feet, and I wasn't enjoying things too much. I stopped at the half way point to put moleskin on my blisters (I had bought some moleskin to put on my feet before I started, then realized last night as I was laying everything out that it was actually molefoam. Molefoam, while having thicker padding, doesn't stay stuck to your skin at all, and I ended up pulling it off at around mile 7 or 8.) When I pulled my right sock off, I found a blood blister on the side of my right big toe. Not good at all.

I hit the wall just before mile 20. I had tweaked a muscle in my right leg (I think I may have torn something; I'll get it checked out on Wednesday when I go to my physical follow-up appointment), and it was getting progressively more painful, the blisters on my feet were getting bigger and more painful, and the bottoms of my feet were quite sore and fatigued. There must have been something in my face, because the first aid people asked how I was doing, and put some Biofreeze on my leg and sent the bicycle paramedics after me with some ibuprofen. I almost started crying as I left the aid station: I was really hurting, I still had 6.2 miles to go, and I was going way slower than I wanted. I managed to hobble through the next 3 miles, then the ibuprofen kicked in and my leg felt better and my cramps stopped bothering me and I was able to run most of the last 3 miles. I was able to finish just before 1 pm, at 5 hours 56 minutes (it may have actually been a little less than that, I forgot to check the official results before we left and have to wait for it to be posted online). I think altogether I managed to run about two thirds of the race, and walked the rest.

I was originally hoping for 5 and a half hours, with an optimistic hope for less than that even, but by the time I hit the half way point I decided if I finished by 1 pm (6 hours) I'd be happy. So I managed to finish by 1, and I survived. There is some damage though: a massive blood blister on my right big toe, 5 blisters on other toes, a tweaked (possible torn) muscle just below my right knee, very sore feet, sore muscles through my legs, matching blisters on my back where my sports bra rubbed the muscles that lay on either side of the spine (very weird- never thought I'd get blisters on my back), and a bit of a light sunburn on my face. They haven't started hurting yet, but I'm sure my shins will be hurting by tomorrow night.

Despite all that, I don't feel any more tired now than I did after the half marathon, which I find surprising: I was expecting to be exhausted after the race. I guess if I'd actually run the whole thing I might be more tired.

End result: I completed a marathon! I might possibly try another one sometime in the future, but it won't be till after I've lost weight and have been able to train properly (without shin splints to bother me). In the meantime, I'll stick to half marathons: that's a much more doable distance.

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