Niagara Falls International Marathon
I promised I would give a break down, for those of you who are interested, in how the marathon I ran on 10/15/17 went. Over all I'd have to say I wouldn't do this particular race again, but it wasn't a total loss either!
The day of, I was all smiles, mostly in hopes if i looked happy my body would be tricked into thinking I was in fact entering into a happy positive situation. A few days before the race I woke with a cold, not a little cold, a BIG cold, like a whopper of a cold. I was exhausted, dizzy, achy, my head hurt, and there was a lot of snot. Aside from this training had gone relatively well and I just hoped I could muster up the strength to get through this thing!
The morning of the race I had everything prepped like I always do, the water bottles I run with that my dog had chewed through just the week before had already been replaced... I had purchased extra gels and Gatorade, and over all my cold was feeling rather mild at the time. No complaints.
Not even 10 minutes into the race I could feel my heart rate flying, I knew i was going a little faster than originally planned but i wasn't sure why my heart rate was literally thumping through my chest (in the end i chalked it up to my cold.) By the time we reached the peace bridge, approaching mile 5 I was lagging behind my running partners, as we approached the water the wind picked up... a lot... and I knew at that point plan A was NOT happening, time for plan B.
Side note: Always have a plan A, B and C
A: Sub 5 hours
B: Just Finish the race feeling "good"
C: Don't die
I ended up alone, and wind blown for the rest of the race, if it weren't for my husband at mile 13 basically forcing me to continue on I probably would have called it quits. My mind quit before my body even had the chance too. After Dan's mini pep talk I decided to muster up another 2 miles, and another, and another. Next thing you know I passed the 20 mile marker. As the miles passed they felt slow but steady, I stopped frequently to stretched to give myself little "mental breaks."
If it weren't for the little hiccup around mile 22 and 24 water stops I think could have finished a little stronger. Unfortunately they were out of water... yes a water stop had no water, I opted to take their electrolyte beverage which was basically dirty water and it gave me a cramp which i basically held onto until the final mile.
Once I hit a water stop that actually had water in it i stopped to refill my bottle and drink, at this point I picked up a friend, a 65-69 year old guy who was about as bad ass as they get. He asked if he could walk with me while i drank, he told me about his other marathons and his favorite courses, next thing i know there is less than a mile to go!!! I'm still not sure how much time i spent on that little walk but i don't regret it one bit. It brought perspective back into the race, it helped calm my mind and refocus my attention on something other than the clock.
I finally picked my pace up and came around the corner to see my husband and family cheering me on, it was such an AMAZING feeling to be done, but just as amazing to have done it. Marathons are soooo much mental. It's like being alone with your thoughts for hours but needing to be able to focuse on what you're doing, which is perfect, it's like having the TV on in the background, it's there, it's happening but you aren't emotionally invested in the program. Running allows you to release those pent up, lost, unrecognizable feeling/thoughts/emotions without getting sucked into the sometimes draining process of fishing through them all.
I finished this marathon 10x stronger and more confident than my first one and for that, I say it was a win!