A PR is a PR. To me that means that I am a better me than I was when I ran the Kansas City marathon in 2010.
I had a great training cycle but I was nagged by plantar fasciitis and had some severe pain 3 weeks before the race. I knew I wasn’t going to be in top form but I was still expecting a significant improvement. Both Steve and I were shooting for a 4:10 and I was fairly confident that it was within reach even with the sore feet.
The health expo was pretty good. Lots of cool information, massages, other races had information booths, and at least one very famous runner was there too. Bart Yasso was even nice enough to take a picture with us.
Our hotel was within walking distance of the starting line. We had an opportunity to drive along the course the night before. It was very beneficial. From about mile 8, Steve and I had to split. Those first 8 miles we ran together, from that point, we had very different races. Steve posted a report too.
My feet started hurting pretty bad. I slowed down. I wasn’t slowing down because I was out of energy. I was slowing down to try to manage my pain. I knew that there was a lot of climbing still to go, including the toughest part of the race. We knew that 14.5 to 16.5 were going to be difficult. I tried to give myself a fighting chance.
After the hill, I felt like I could still hit my goal. I was still smiling even though I had lost sight of Steve. On the way down the hill, I started to get pain in my knees. At that point, I realized today was not my day. I was already racing on 1 injury, and there was no reason to leave with an additional injury. I slowed down and decided that a 4:20 was still easily within reach. But that wasn’t going to happen either.
My lungs were fine, I felt like I had plenty of energy, but my legs started to cramp up. In hindsight I’m guessing that while I was trying to compensate for sore feet, that I was stressing other parts more than normal. My cramps seemed to move all over my legs. My quads, hamstrings, hips, calves, shins and feet. I was forced to walk several times.
Still, I knew that I was going to be okay. I didn’t let the goals slip by and quit. Instead, I tried to strategize my way to the best possible PR that I could muster. I took some quality walk time. I was walking fast enough to still PR, but slow enough to not cramp up. It almost worked. The walking actually hurt my feet more than the running, but even a slight jog would force my legs to cramp up. No worries, I was still going to PR.
I had a few miles of fast walking. I took in as much nutrition as I could. I think for my next marathon I will take a gel every 5 miles instead of every hour. I also did a bunch of basic math. I had figured out what I would need to do to in order to reach different attainable milestones.
In the end, I finished with a 4:46:21, nowhere near a 4:10, but way ahead of a 5:22. I was happy.