Should I start at the beginning, where I was feeling pretty good, staying on pace, and maintaining hope for a 3:20ish finish? Or should I cut to mile 18 when I passed Micah, whose calves had locked up completely, and realized both of us qualifying for Boston just wasn’t going to happen? Or should I jump to the last 6 miles in which I had to make a decision to either slow down considerably to even finish the race, or try to keep pace and risk passing out on the road? Really now, which sounds most intriguing? Or maybe I’m leaving out the best moment of all — the one in which I crossed the line (having squeaked in at 3:39, one minute faster than my BQ time), and promptly tossed my cookies.
Yeah, not a great race. Not for me and Micah, anyway. But let’s look on the bright side for a moment. Micah went into the race worried that he might permanently damage his knees and never be able to run again. However, he ran the first half of the marathon on pace to qualify for Boston and his knees felt fine. It wasn’t until his calves locked up around mile 17 and he had to slow down that he started feeling his knees. The sad part was that after walking for a while, trying to stretch, massage, and rest his calves into relaxation, he realized his legs were done and pulled out of the race. But he came out with knees in tact! Success!
And for my part the bright side was that I did actually qualify for Boston. It was bittersweet since I know I can run a marathon 10-20 minutes faster, but it wasn’t in the cards for Saturday’s race. My pace felt good, my legs felt good, but by mile 20 I was feeling sick — woozy, dizzy, weak. It wasn’t dehydration. I drank at every aid station. It wasn’t lack of fuel. I ate the granola bars and gel I used in training. It might have been the elevation that did me in. Either that or my body decided it didn’t like the fuel I’d been giving it. Whatever the case, I think that if I hadn’t walked a lot between miles 20-24, I may have passed out on the course and not been able to finish at all. I did feel much better after I’d thrown up, but it was still an hour before I could stand up and walk without fear of fainting.
So there you have it. I qualified for Boston, but because I only beat my time by a minute, I think the chances of being able to register are kind of slim. And since Micah didn’t finish, I don’t know if it would be as fun for me. We’re in the process of re-thinking our plans and goals and moving forward — but I’ll write more about that on Wednesday.
For now, let’s finish off with some more happy thoughts. My two sisters and three brothers who ran the half all had a good time. It was the first race for all of them and they were all so happy to finish. My brother who ran the marathon rocked our world by coming in at 4:30, despite being severely undertrained (his longest run was 10 miles). And the icing on the cake was my dad’s performance in the 5K. He took first in his age group with a time of 29:12, 12 minutes faster than his closest competitor.
Having my family there and involved really made the difference between what could have been a bad experience and what ended up being a good one. Being excited for them took my mind off the fact that things didn’t go so well for me and Micah. In fact, my family had such a great time we’re thinking of making a tradition out of it. And if that’s what comes of this experience then I’ll count it as a victory.