Happy weekend. I am still not running, don’t let the title of this post get your hopes up, but I’m starting to feel that itch again. For a few months during my last marathon training cycle I was just not feeling it. I think I was burned out from work, life stresses…and yes, perhaps mentally I just wasn’t in the right headspace to run a marathon. Perhaps that’s why I got injured? Maybe my body got tired of me not listening?
I have been feeling the urge to run, and to run fast, which is not really like me. I’m a long, slow runner, perhaps by nature but perhaps more because I have never been anything close to fast. As I noted in this post, five years ago I was most definitely slow: 9-10 minute miles on my regular runs. At that point, I really didn’t care, I just enjoyed going out for a long jaunt. In the last few years though I’ve gotten faster, exemplified by my weekly runs, but also by my marathon times. Before looking forward to the next great whatever, time for a little reflection on past races.
Marine Corps Marathon: This was my first marathon in 2004. I registered on a whim because back then, they had a lottery system and I assumed that there was NO way I would get in. Then I got the email congratulating me for earning the right to pay to suffer through 26.2 miles of running. I was shocked. And terrified. Prior to that I had “trained” for a couple marathons, but hadn’t actually made it to the race. I would get through about 4 weeks of the training plan and then just get bored and stop. This time I was actually registered for a race so I had no choice. (If I remember correctly, they also had a sneaky system by which you would put in your credit card number when you signed up for the lottery so when you got in, you also automatically paid. Sneaky.) I used the Jeff Galloway run-walk method to get me to the start line and finished my first Marine Corps in 4:53:57. Not bad for a first marathon and for someone who had never had any coaching in any sport whatsoever. I did this race again in 2006 (4:19:13) and the last time in 2010 (4:17:09).
Philadelphia Marathon: This is another race that has a lot of meaning for me, where I have toed the line 3 times, and where I have reached some significant goals. Working backwards, this was the first race that I DNFed, the race where I injured my back in 2013. While it was my first “fail” technically, I would also consider it the first time I have made an adult decision with regard to my running, deciding to stop running while the pain was under control rather than being stubborn, finishing the race, and dealing with potentially longer-term consequences. In 2012, I PRed this race, getting SO close to a BQ that I could almost touch it: 3:35:34. Yep, that’s right, missed it by 34 seconds. And you know what? If I hadn’t missed it by 34 seconds, I might have been in Boston for the bombing. The day of the bombing I got a number of texts and emails highlighting that fact, so perhaps it was my guardian angel looking out for me… The first time I ran Phili, I also PRed: 3:41:19 in 2011. That was a big one because my goal was to go under 4 hours. Well, I guess I went under four hours!
The National Marathon: I’ve done this one twice because it’s close to home, but honestly, I hate this race. Sorry race directors, I just can’t love it. The first time I did it in 2009 (4:14:40) the course was actually pretty good. It involved loops around the mall and a little jaunt into Anacostia. Interesting to run through those streets at that hour of the day. Apparently my dad and husband-to-be at the time had to walk by some half way houses and passed-out-junkies to cheer me on. Interesting. Oh that was also the day I got engaged! So I suppose though I hated the race itself, I had positive feelings associated with the day, hence my reason for running it again. I ran it in 2013, finishing in 3:46:18. And hated every step of it. The only reason I ran it and kept running was that I knew someone else in the race, a person I deeply dislike, and all I wanted to do was beat her. And I did. I will not be running through the industrial parts of DC again any time soon.
The Las Vegas Marathon (before it was run at night): I did this race twice when I worked for a running store in Utah. The race itself is actually quite lovely as far as I’m concerned–flat, perfect temps, good energy, and you get to see a lot of the city. Most people don’t get beyond the strip, but this race definitely does that for you. And, one of my favorite things about this race is that there was no doubling back or running where you’ve already run. I find that a little discouraging. In 2006 I finished this one in 4:16:24, then in 2007 in 4:15:05.
Chicago Marathon: Okay THIS was the worst experience ever. Really and truly, there is no comparison. I ran this race under a friend’s name when her husband registered her for the marathon and she basically said “no way, no how.” Good for me, right? Well, not so much. This was the year that they canceled the race about 3-4 hours in because they had run out of ambulances to take people to the hospital. It was 80F and 90% humidity at the start line in October. By the time I got to the first water station there was no water left. And it just went downhill from there. I made it to about mile 20 when I heard the helicopters overhead telling people that the race had been canceled and to stop running. Really? You’re going to tell me to stop running 6 miles from the finish? Being a good rule follower I did walk. For a bit. Then I found out that they were letting people finish and the clock was still running. This was back in the day before I had a cell phone and I was meeting my friends/my ride at the finish line. So I ran. I finished, under my friend’s name in 4:58. Disaster.
Deseret News: 4:10:02 in 2007. This was a spur of the moment decision. I was given a free entry to the race and figured that since the start line was about 2 miles from my front door, why not. Most of the race is downhill, and though I am a quad-dominant downhill runner, I remember my legs being completely toast by the end. Also, I think my net time was actually something like 4:08, but they didn’t do chip timing so I will live with 4:10 for this race. I harp on this because for a while, it was my PR.
Maine Marathon: 4:18:19 in 2005. You may notice this was my second marathon, after the disaster that was my first (see Marine Corps marathon above in 2004). Yes, I managed to take off about 30 minutes. I think my goal for this one was 4:20. Oh, and to beat a friend who was running the race too. Hm, I’m noting a pattern here.
Ogden Marathon: This was one of the more local races I did when I lived in Utah, and to this day I think it might be my favorite race. It’s mostly downhill, through the mountains, point-to-point. Just perfect. 4:20:02 in 2008.
Top of Utah Marathon: Another local Utah race, ran in 4:37:13 in 2006. It was the first of three races that season so I guess I took it easy? I think its close to the truth to say I just ran slowly. I also remember that I was trying out some new nutrition during the race and let’s just say there may have been a few pit stops. This was the first time I remember running a race and not wanting to die at the end, so I guess that’s something.
And I think that covers my marathon experiences. I have done a little bit of “other” running. I ran a couple 5Ks for charity in college, a 10miler, a half marathon, a steeplechase (this race was AWESOME), and I paced someone for the last 25 of the Wasatch 100. That’s the running-me in a nutshell.