Running is my passion. If you know me, I don't have to tell you that. It makes my heart beat, my lips smile, my legs burn, my eyes well, and my head reel. I love it. I love the amazing people that are a part of my life because of it, I love the sound of feet pounding on pavement, I love the feeling of turning left on a track, I love the feeling of my heart pumping, and my legs begging me to slow down. I LOVE IT!
Grandma's Marathon was this past weekend in Duluth Minnesota. It is a beautiful course lined with smiling, coffee drinking spectators, that rolls along Lake Superior for nearly every step of 26.2 miles into Canal Park in downtown Duluth. The race is a well organized machine that leaves you feeling so lucky to just be a part of it. But my goals in Duluth were more than to be a part. I wanted to qualify to the Olympic Trials. I have had this race on my radar since before my kids were born. I wanted a fairytale ending to my past year. I trained with these hopes in my heart everyday since July 21st when I ran 2 miles in 18:15. My first run back after a long six months and 2 days of no running. On November 16th I had a flare up in my back that knocked me out until mid January when I could finally resume training. I was nervous this would set me back too far since my fitness was still a far cry from good. As the months went on I got stronger, running 17:42 for 5k in February, 28:38 for 5 miles in March, and 1:33:58 for 25k in May. In the weeks leading up to Grandma's I knew I had worked hard enough, and I was ready to go.
|Still smiling mid race.|
I missed mile 14 but it was something like 6:10. Mile 15 my left calf started to tighten up, more than likely just from the water and being a little chilly 6:14. 16-6:23 I was starting to really struggle. 17-6:51 the wheels were off. 18- I stretched momentarily while taking in my fluids 7:08. I remembered my goal as thoughts of qualifying to the trials felt hopeless. I reminded myself of my secondary goals. To run the best MARATHON I could even if things weren't going to plan, and to enjoy being able to be out here racing. So I tried to pull myself together again 19- 6:37. I can still run well I told myself over and over. DO NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL!! 20-6:41. My stomach started to give me issues and 21 and 22 were ugly 7:22, 7:15. Mile 23 I felt ok again and tried to push with all I had left to give 6:41, 24-6:27, 25-6:08. I saw Nicole and asked if Kelsi was going to make it. A huge smile of pride covered my face when she assured me Kelsi would be well under 2:43. Mile 26 was 6:35 and I could see the finish line. 2:47:34 was on the clock as I passed under it.
I found Kelsi, Beth, Ellie, Nicole, and Greg in the finish area, and felt the strangest wave of emotion I think I can ever recall feeling. I felt overjoyed for Kelsi, who had finished in 2:41:35, and thrilled to be back out racing and finishing a marathon 11 months postpartum. Still yet I felt incredible sadness for missing my goal, and the fairytale ending I had played over and over and over in my head for the past year. I learned that Beth(1:15 for 3rd in the half), Ellie(1:17 for 7th in the half), and Greg (1:24) all ran PR's in their races. I smiled and I cried. I felt so conflicted.
In January if you would have told me I would run 2:47 at Grandma's and would consider it a poor race, I would have more than likely thought you were crazy. I may have even cried in true joy to know that in June I would be back out racing and doing so in a decent time. Following the race I believed I had done all I could. But after further evaluation I can see the error of my ways. I was too aggressive. I ran a stupid, and reckless race. I don't know if I would have run under 2:43, but I do know I could have run faster. So this fall I will lace my racing flats again, and try to run with my mind a little more, and my heart a little less...at least for the first 15 miles.
So it is back to the beginning for me. I will work to train with passion and race with intelligence.
|Kelsi and I after the finish! I am so proud of her!|