Sunday, October 01, 2006

"For there to be good, there must be bad"

I have to say - Iliketoast must know some secrets. That title quote is his. He also said "good to me is a matter of contrast". I think life is a constant balance of contrast. I did nothing right at all for the marathon I ran today, but I had a great - no - most excellent run. In the words of my daughter, " I was so stinkin' proud of myself!"

Here you go: Portland Marathon: 3:34:05 - 1st half in 1:44:27, 2nd half in 1:49:38. Not a PR, but I havent' run a marathon that fast in 12 years.

What I did wrong (or at least not ideal):
1 - I ran a marathon 5 weeks ago
2 - My last 5 weeks of mileage: 9 - 21 - 37 - 12 - 14
3 - lunch yesterday @ McDonald's
4 - dinner last night @ Subway
5 - hours of sleep last night - 5? (I'm really not sure - I fell asleep next to my 6-yr-old trying to get her to sleep in the hotel.
6 - I got to the start with only enough time to wait in the potty line, stretch for about 20 seconds - literally - peel off my sweats, and get into the start corral
7 - I ate nothing before the start - had one sip of water.
8 - I unintentionally lost 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks.

Extra bonuses that made the trip worthwhile:
1 - no stress - I chose not to have a time goal for this marathon, and I enjoyed every minute of it
2 - the kids are so used to camping that they thought the hotel suite was like Disneyland
3 - my husband had a pass to the Nike employee store in the area and he snagged me a really sweet jacket

The race itself:

I started out slower than I usually do, intending to enjoy it all and take in the experience. I had a packet of clif blocks in my hand that I rationed one at a time every few miles until about mile 18 - and I took sips of only water at most of the aid stations. I had some gels at mile 18, 21, and 23. My stomach felt better than it has the last two marathons. My pacing was pretty consistent - I slowed down some from mile 18-22, and I made two bathroom stops on the course.

Those are the tangible details. Those and the fact that my legs felt pretty good for the whole race.

The non-tangible details are the most amazing things I've ever experienced in a marathon - this was my 8th one. I thought about all of the things that people have said or written to me in the last couple of weeks about life and running. The big one that hit me over the head was ''what are you running to?" as oppossed to my questioning what I was running from. I thought about that one the entire race. I think I was running through and toward an enormous euphoric running high the entire marathon. I thought about Steph's recent trail race report, and how during the race, she was in such a state that she was convinced she didn't want to run anymore - she'd pushed her body to that limit. I thought about the kids I'd gone camping with recently and how hard they pushed themselves when they were miserable. I thought about all of the runners out there who run for a cause for people who are less fortunate and can't run. I thought that I was tired, but I wasn't hurting or suffering. I could stop and walk, but I'd just have to start running again at some point, so why bother? Allof these quotes from other people filtered through my mind over and over:

"If you're enjoying yourself, why slow down?"
"Take a leap of faith . . . Make it an experiment."
"Just run - just breathe"
"Does it make you feel good when you run fast?"
"Shift your thinking."
"You are awesome."

Somebody told me this week, about themself: "I do what I do because it makes me happy." I thought - how simple, but how profound . . . and how inspiring. I went out there today, and I did what I did because it truly made me happy - very happy. The spectators out on the course were like nothing I've ever seen in 26 years of road racing. There were people lining the course for the majority of the 26.2 miles. It was like running along a parade route for a good portion of the marathon - except all of the people were so pumped up and supportive it was just crazy. There were people with cowbells, signs, music - there was live music every few miles - cheerleaders every now and then - even a beer stop on mile 25 - which I joyfully took part in. It was like the whole population of Portland came out in full force to watch and support the marathon. I was so excited the whole race - I don't think I've ever whooped and hollered and thanked people and high-fived so much during a race before. There were so many runners to run with every step of the way. What a cool experience. I can't stop smiling from ear to ear about it. I feel like I became a true marathoner out there today because I finally understand why so many people love it so much and become addicted.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know I'd like to run faster - but that will take some training goals - one thing at a time. I leaned a lot about the mental aspect of myself today. I ran Portland today approximately 10 minutes faster than my last 2 marathons - which were 5 seconds apart (3:43:56 and 3:43:51). Ten minutes faster - that's HUGE! I'm so excited. Those last 2 qualifed me for Boston 2007, and now after today, I think I'm qualifed for 2008. But I think I'm gonna train for 2007, and I'm gonna take a break from running another marathon until then. I'm looking forward to some cross-training and to stengthening some parts of my body besides my legs. And did I say how excited I am with myself? Maybe not . . .

I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!
Now I need a nap.


Sarah said...

I had a feeling you were running Portland. ; )

Awesome job!.... both on your time and on your enjoyment of the race. Portland is definitely a fun race.

Yesterday I re-read your "Never underestimate the power of marathon" post. I think it helped!

I passed on the beer. : )

JustRun said...

Congratulations! That's wonderful. I'm so excited for you!

Bob said...

Wow that sounds like an incredible run. One that is good for the soul. Excellent.

I hope there is a beer stop in Chicago, we have a person all set to drive us home. We are planning on drinking many beers after the race.

D said...

Each one of your posts confirms the fact that you are one of my FAVORITE Bloggers. Your posts are inspiring, informative, thought provoking etc.

CONGRATULATIONS on a great marathon. You amaze me with the fact that you can run marathons so close and then to top it off you cut 10 minutes off. WOW.

If all goes well with my next marathon (if I can nail your times) It would be cool to meet you in Boston!!!

Just12Finish said...

That's GREAT! I didn't even know you were planning on running Portland. That's a finish time I could only dream of ... that's what I'M running to :)

Robert Song said...

Well done on the race.

And thanks for the thought provoking post.

Danielle said...

Congrats on everything coming together and having such a great race. I think you found the meaning you were looking for.

Ah, beer at 25, my last marathon was the only one I havne't gotten beer on the course...of course it was also my best...hmm...

I'm so envious if your run though, you hit a goal you find slow and your goal is my time goal I want for my next...which right now I'm doubting will happen...and I think you're right about 2008 though. If I remember right, 2008 has the trials at it, you might want to consider Boston then instead of 2007!! Or I guess you can do both!!

Ginger Breadman said...

Danielle - I don't find the time slow - I just compare it to my fastest time - but that time - 3:25 - I ran in 1994 before I had 3 children. Since then, my 4 fastest times have all ranged between 3:40 and 3:45. Right now I feel like 3:34 was super fast. I just have big dreams. And Boston in 2008 - I know the trials are there - how awesome would that be . . . but I've wanted to go to Boston for years, and I might just need to get it out of my system sooner.

Jessica Deline said...

congrats. sounds like a great time to me!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Wow, that is a truly joyful post. I love it!

Anne said...

This really brings a smile to my face. And right now that's difficult to do. I'm so glad to read about someone who ran a great race -- and for all the right reasons.

stephruns said...

you are a deep thinker..and oh wow..what a runner! i was simling when I read you would like to run faster; remembering your last post.

what was the time of your first ever marathon? i'm curious.