Back in December 2013, running a marathon seemed like such a great idea. Maybe I was hopped up on candy canes and Christmas cheer which impeded my ability to reason & make sound decisions? My sis had registered to run it and the Stockholm Marathon is billed as the most scenic marathon in Europe. So, why not? I really should’ve stopped to examine those reasons. Instead, I paid my money and started training. Then, got a new job and relocated from Atlanta to Washington, DC which meant I took a 2 month hiatus and just did mental training runs. Yeah, I said that. I claim a run even if it is just me taking a nap and dreaming about it. Which should tell you that I was not ready for this race. But, when has that stopped me? Remember when I wrote that letter from heaven after the Warrior Dash in 2011? Or when I got Jedi mind-tricked into doing Tough Mudder? Yeah, I never learn.
So, as with my other races, I am going to take you on the race with me…complete with pictures because you know I looked for ANY reason to take a break.
The race started at noon…which was kinda weird as most races start early in the morning. But, that worked for me because it meant I got to sleep in.
Let’s get started…
I am all limber and ready to go by the time the race starts. I feel good because I have on my favorite running outfit, compression socks and my running belt with electrolyte tabs & GU. Mentally, I’ve psyched myself up that this is just a sightseeing tour that I’m running instead of walking or biking. See? Sometimes you gotta lie to yourself to make it thru the day. Anyway, all is good and people are laughing and running with strides like Olympians.
After the first mile, I feel good. In fact, I think I’m a beast! My pace is awesome and the breeze is perfect. Then I remember I have 25.2 miles left to go and a piece of my soul dies. But, I psych myself up…I’m running a freaking marathon. Woohoo!!! (meanwhile people on the sidelines are looking at me like, “sucker.”)
Things are okay miles 2-5, then as I get to mile 6, I start to look for a scooter or Metro station. This can’t be my life. WHY AM I DOING THIS? GOD, DO YOU HEAR ME? Surely he can hear the sound of my sobs as I struggle. Then, I look at my Garmin and notice that it is tracking a half mile off from the kilometer markers. WTF? I can’t run any extra steps. So, I’m now running with this look on my face:
Sigh. Mile 7 arrives and my feet aren’t happy…even the song by Pharell can’t perk them up. They are clinically depressed. But, I’m talking myself thru it and focusing on my playlist…then I see a hill. Lord, Jesus…WHY? I grit my teeth and power thru it by just trying to sprint up as fast as I can while thinking about all the cakes and pies I’m going to eat to celebrate.
I will say that the course was laid out well and they had djs and bands throughout. It was weird hearing someone calling my name over a loudspeaker when I stopped for a sports drink and telling me that I’m doing great…I guess the chip in my bib transmitted my name and country! Very cool! That got me feeling pretty good for the next 0.2 miles. LOL
By mile 8, I was certain of 1 thing —
Seriously. At this point, I’m mentally preparing my letter to send to Iyanla Vanzant asking her to fix my life because I am apparently the CEO of Bad Decisions, LLC.
Once mile 9 comes around, there is a big crowd and I notice they are really enthusiastic! I thought to myself, “How nice!!! They are cheering me on. I can do this!” Then, just as I’m luxuriating in all the adulation & affections, I see a Kenyan sprint right past me with a police escort. Wait…did he just lap me? IS HE ALMOST TO THE FINISH LINE? CAN I HOP ON THAT POLICE VAN? So many questions. But, alas, I realized that the applause wasn’t for me…the lady who got lapped. It was for the winner. But, lets pretend like it’s still for me, mmkay?
By mile 10, I knew it was a wrap. I made so many errors in thinking I could run this race.
- First, I didn’t finish training. Having my longest training run as 8 miles did not prepare me for this.
- Second, I have ran in my regular training sneakers — not the new ones I bought. My thought process was that the new ones were just like my training shoes but would be “fresh”…well, they were fresh alright…fresh hell. My feet felt like I had been running barefoot over crack pipes for 10 miles!
- Third, I don’t really like running. I mean, I’ve done it for a long time and always thought I should do a marathon…but I don’t like running long distances. I’m okay with topping out at a half marathon. 13.1 miles is the perfect distance and it feels like 9,658,720,148,932,451 miles anyway…so I win.
- It’s okay to say “no”. I didn’t have to run this race when I knew I wasn’t ready. And, it is okay that I wouldn’t get my money back. Sometimes, you gotta know when to hold’em, and when to fold’em.
So, at mile 11, I ran right off the course and into the waiting arms of a beautiful park bench. I swear I could not walk for at least 30 minutes and had to take my shoes off for relief. I don’t feel bad at all for not finishing the race. Why? Because I am alive. LOL. I saw so many other people had the same idea so I did not feel like a loser. In fact, when I had a debate with myself about finishing the second lap, my saner side was like —
The good news is that my sis did finish the race and I am so super proud of her!!! 26.2 miles is a major achievement!!! Have you ever registered for a race and didn’t finish? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one!!!