Redemption, Marathon Style

I have been thinking about running a second marathon since about 5 minutes after I crossed the finish line of my first marathon in October 2011.

Immediately I thought, “I have GOT to do that again! What a hoot!”

But as the pain of a severe injury set in over the following 36 hours I thought, “I will never do that again! This is awful.”

And as I started a very long and slow recovery process, I began to think I would not physically ever be able to that again. And I am still not out of the woods. And I may never be– that injury could plague my running for a long time and always require some attention and management.

But, recovery seems to be going well. I ran a 10K in April with less preparation than I wanted and was pleasantly surprised by my time and I am feeling confident as I head in to the last 4 weeks of training before the TC 10 Mile. Every day that I feel stronger and healthier, my mind clicks to wanting redemption. I want another shot at the marathon. I want to know how I could perform if I stayed healthy. Because in the TC Marathon, at the half I was at 2 hours 40 minutes exactly. This is not a fast time, in fact it is 12-minute miles. But maintaining that pace would have put me on par to finish in 5 hours and 20 minutes, which is a time I would have been thrilled with for my first marathon. But between miles 15 and 17 I had a mental breakdown (oh, the tears and the snot!), shortly followed by a physical one and it took me 3 hours and 17 minutes to finish the 2nd half– an additional 40 minutes. Things went so badly that my pace in the last half of the race was 15-minute miles.

In fact, when I look back at my results (which I am doing right now) you can see EXACTLY where things went wrong– It took me a full hour to travel between Mile 20 and Mile 24. I was so incredibly hurt (physically) and utterly defeated (mentally).

I rallied. I finished. And I am proud. So proud. I saw a goal, I wanted it, and I got there.

And now I want to do it again. Healthier. And faster.

So, I have set my sights on the Fargo Marathon in May. I am still going to stay patient and see how the 10 Mile in October goes. If it goes well with minimal or no pain in my left leg, I will sign up for the marathon.

Training this time will be different. I will listen much better to how my body feels, and particularly that bad leg. And I have already told myself and reminded myself that even if I sign up and I pay the (non-refundable!) fee, if my body rebels and the training proves too much for the leg, then I have to let this go. Training for and running a marathon is worth a lot of sacrifices, but it isn’t worth my long-term health. I would rather be able to run a lifetime worth of 5Ks than only one more marathon.

The final push to seriously consider this race came yesterday when I discovered that I could be a charity runner for an organization that I hold incredibly near and dear to my heart, an organization that contributed greatly to the development of my worldview and my understanding of my role in our global community. I am planning on writing more about this later, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, viva marathoning!


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