My race belt contained the following: race bib/number, 3 gels, some bio-freeze in case my muscles became completely worthless during the race, and some almond in case the need for salt arose. I felt like something between a pack mule and a belly dancer.
This winter I've felt slow, sore, and not particularly motivated. I had to run in the rain, around and around on a track, and inside on a treadmill. I endured loneliness because no one (except Erika) wants to train for a marathon in the wintertime. I guess that was kind of the point - if I could keep a basic training plan against all odds, and while eating too many cookies on Christmas, then I could motivate myself to do pretty much anything. (Jury on starting a real diet is still out.) Still, I felt like maybe I shouldn't be attempting a marathon in the winter when I should be resting, or hibernating.
Pish posh. The race went fine. After the last month or so of airing my grievances and stories of fatigue and muscle aches, endorphins and adrenaline kicked in when I needed them.
During the race, I didn't hold back much and went faster when it felt good to go faster, instead of holding back. I even ran a few sub-9 minute miles, which I wasn't planning to do. But, a few 8:50 miles put me in a good position to run 10:00 minute miles in the second half, and still be under 4 hours. I was prepared at mile 17 and 21 for the notorious "bonk" which is when your body turns against itself and starts to slow down, cramp, or otherwise wig out. Yes miles 21 to 25 were difficult but I convinced myself that it was only in my head and I was so close. . .
Just as Michael Jackson's "Bad" came on to my iPod, I saw my friend Christine at mile 25 who had finished the half marathon earlier. She joined the fray of weary runners, and we ran to the finish line while I belted out the only lines of the song I know. Namely, I'm (we're) bad, I'm (we're) bad, you know it! You know I'm (we're) bad, I'm (we're) bad. Shamone. blah blah blah Who's bad?
Fastest mile of the whole race.
Seriously. Endorphins and adrenaline are amazing. If people would just do endurance sports, they wouldn't do drugs. Yeah, you might have a bad trip every once in awhile, but you'll still go back for more of the "really good" stuff.
Now I'm going to have to do another marathon. Chicago maybe?