After the Martian, I spent 4 days moaning and complaining about my time, then 3 days pondering whether or not to attempt the Toledo marathon. Actually I think I decided on Thursday morning as soon as I heard about it, then spent the rest of the time justifying it to myself. The race had a lot that I was looking for - pacing teams, a much bigger turnout, and the half and full marathons started together and stayed on the same course for 8 miles. Yet last minute registration is expensive and I honestly wasn't sure if my legs could handle it. I had done a grand total of 2 miles after the Martian. My legs and body felt incredible though. I had recovered super quickly!
The biggest factor was the weather and on Saturday the forecast looked good, so I headed to Ohio and registered at the Expo. After I registered, I told exactly one person. I didn't tell anyone else because I knew what their reactions would be.
Mom - "You have no reason whatsoever to be disappointed. You are the only person I know who ran a marathon, and you did it twice! You set a goal and you accomplished it!" (except, the goal was a time goal, not merely finishing.)
Brother - "Are you insane? You're not in shape to run 2 marathons in 9 days. Even elite runners take more time than that!* Good luck avoiding a catastrophic injury!" (*I have no idea whether or not this is a true statement. I made it up.)
Nita, Hal and all the serious runners - "I don't advise that you do a second marathon this soon. Give your body more time to rest before you try again."
Two different people - who have never met - were on the same wavelength and reminded me that I'm in shape and life is short.
And the forecast was sunny!!!! So I did it and I realized my biggest problem with running is consistency. I started slightly ahead of the 5:00 pace group, but by mile 2, the 4:30 group was in sight and it was easy to pass them while maintaining a comfortable pace. For 9+ miles I was ahead of the 4:30 pace group. My early splits were pretty good. I ran the first 6 miles in 62 minutes and it felt easy.
Slowly, gradually, each mile after 10 started getting a little slower. I was 10 minutes under pace at the halfway turn, then at mile 19.8 the 5-hour pace group passed me. I kept going my own race though and still had a slight chance of making it under 5 hours. At mile 24, however, I realized it wasn't going to happen. How cruel to make it that far to realize I won't hit my goal time. I wanted to give up right then. I would have, except we were in a MetroPark and the "sag wagon" wasn't able to drive on the path.
So I finished. My official chip time was 5:08:26. My iPod stopwatch time was 5:07:58. Either way I improved 11+ minutes from the Martian. Yet either way, I failed to hit my goal. It makes me wonder why 5 hours is so important? I've run 3 marathons and each has been a personal best time, by pretty significant increases. Why isn't that goal enough??
The race ended inside the Glass Bowl Stadium at the University of Toledo and that was pretty cool. A woman let me pass her with 30 yards left! I would have hung on no matter what. Once you're in the 5-hour range though, placements don't matter so much. (Mine was 49/58 age group and 727/804 overall)
Something funny is I grabbed a puffy vest from my "donate to charity" pile of stuff. It's way too big so I didn't much care if I never saw it again. It was pretty cold though, despite the sun, so I wound up wearing it the entire race and it came home with me. If I knew I would wear it the whole race, I would have worn my nice pink vest that actually fits. Oops :)
I learned that marathons need to happen on the middle day of a 3-day weekend. I had a meeting with my boss this morning that was non-negotiable, but I took the afternoon as personal time to rest my aching legs and feet, and hit the gym for some super easy biking to move my joints.
Not the time I wanted, but still 11+ minutes better in one week. I can't be too disappointed by my progress. Progress good, end result bad.
Don't look now, but I'm 4% done with marathoning in every state haha It's definitely NOT a goal of mine, yet I also didn't think I'd run another marathon after the Free Press. Never say never :)