Running a marathon is cruel.
I could probably end my recap there and it would be enough, but for the benefit of the reader (and really, my own therapeutic well-being), I'll keep going.
After running four marathons in 2011/2012 (Lincoln, Chicago, Boston, New York/Springfield - which is an entirely different blog post), I decided 2015 would be the time to try and get back on the horse by running the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis. My goal was simple, and I thought do-able; sub-2:40. I had ran my previous marathons in 2:51, and although that's a big chunk to cut off at once, I had the training (or so I thought) to be able to do it. I especially thought that having some experience running the distance would allow me to run a smarter first half than previous marathons.
However, Sunday October 4th was not my day. I have all my splits on my watch, but I haven't had the heart to look at them since race day. The first half was exactly on pace; I was running just where I wanted to (6:01 average through half...1:18:18). However, shortly after the half, I fell apart. Mile by mile, things kept getting worse and worse. By mile 21, I was running 7:45's (bringing by 21 mile average to 6:19/mile), and it just got worse from there. I ended up running my second half of the race in 1:39:36 (7:35/mile).
To be completely honest, there were times over the last 10k where I considered dropping out. I was frustrated things didn't go my way, I was tired, my back/hips were spazzing...I just wanted to be done. There was even one point at mile 24 or 25, I think, where I ran over to the runner "drop out" zone, but I realized it would just be quicker to get to the finish if I ran (crawled) than if I took the bus (plus, this way I would get my t-shirt/medal). Friends from Nebraska (who were passing me in the race) kept me going; probably more so, the thought of having to explain to the cross country kids I help coach in Elkhorn why I quit kept me going (I mean, what would I say to them? "Oh, I got really tired and wasn't running well, so I just quit; and it's OK if you do the same.").
In the end, it was not a good day for me to run a marathon, but I was able to pick up a few positives: 1) I finished (and considering the thoughts that went through my head, that's a win) 2) I ran under 3:00 and 3) I got in a Boston Qualifier. I've already decided that my next marathon will be a "run" and not a "race". Too many bad experiences trying to race the distance.
On the other hand, another couple that went on the trip with me ran really well. Luke Christiansen (pictured above) ran exactly how I wanted to, finishing in 2:41:28 (2nd Nebraskan to finish), and his wife, Heather, ran 3:13:06 (1st Nebraska to finish). Getting to see those two run so well after all the work they put in gave me some hope that the marathon isn't always so cruel.
I just have to rest and regroup for what's next. Happy Running!