It seems like only yesterday, but two Saturdays ago I completed what was to be my first and only Marathon. After weeks of soft core training I was convinced that I had done enough to finish with a decent time. I had no delusions of setting any world records, just to scratch another item off the old bucket list. To that end, I was successful. I completed the 26.2 mile journey and lived to tell the tale. However, the tale didn’t unfold exactly how I wanted it to.
On race day I wake up around 5 a.m. pumped and ready to go. I eat breakfast, make sure the Iphone is completely charged, and try to psych myself up. I’m not really nervous, just not sure of what to expect. 26 miles is a lot of ground to cover in one day but I’m in pretty sure I can handle it. I step outside of my apartment to check the weather and get the first clue that the day may not go according to plan.
It’s cold…and windy. I knew it was supposed to be a little chilly that day, but this was a bit much. I hate running outside when it’s cold. I think it’s because I don’t know how to dress when it’s cold outside. There’s a fine line between wearing just enough to keep warm, but not so much that you don’t overheat. I usually toe that line with the grace of a drunken ballerina. I decide I would wear the shorts I bought the day prior (not short shorts, but shorter than I prefer) and bring along a pair of long sleeved running pants just in case it doesn’t warm before the race starts at 8. I would also bring two shirts: one sleeveless and one long-sleeved. I figured I would look at the other runners and see how the dressed to give myself a clue.
At the race site, the other runners were useless. Some were sporting leggings and thermal shirts while others had on tank tops and booty shorts. There was a guy wearing a garbage bag for a shirt another wearing a kilt. I decide to play it safe and go long-sleeved all the way. Better safe than sorry.
The race starts and things are going smoothly for the first few miles, but somewhere along mile 8, things get tricky. My left leg starts to hurt (ITS, I suspect). Luckily, I remembered to bring a few aspirin just in case. I pop a few pills and keep going. I feel a little better, but I’m moving as quickly as before. Around mile 12, a guy named Dave notices I’m moving a little slower. I had apparently passed him up earlier and now we were neck and neck. Dave was running the half marathon and so his day was almost done. We ran together for a mile and then split up where as the courses diverged. At the half-way point, my time was about 2:20. It wasn’t the fastest time, but it was respectable. At that pace, I figure I should be done in 4:45 or so. That plan went out the window around mile 17.
With nine miles to go, I realize there’s no way I’m going to be able to run the entire way. Not because I’m winded, but because my right foot hurts like hell. It feels like my toes are on fire and being stabbed at the same time. I try to mix up jogging lightly walking, but it’s useless. Right around mile 20, I realize I’m going to have to walk the rest of the way. In everyday life, I’m a pretty fast walker. After 20 miles… not so much. I hobble across the finish line at 5:50. I pick up my medal, eat some free food, and head to my car. I immediately take off my shoes and discover the source of my pain: A blood blister had formed on my pinky toe. I was crushed. Not only had it slowed me down, but I realized that blister had effectively ruined any chance I had of becoming a foot model.
On one hand, I suppose I should be proud of finishing the race, but one the other hand I’m disappointed in my time. I had no intentions of running a second marathon, but I know I’m better than 5:50. I don’t know when or where, but I know there’ll be a second marathon.