The Wineglass Marathon was my last big race of the season. For three months I worked to build up speed and mileage. I had a goal — to PR and run in less than five hours. I had another goal, to be proud of my time goal. I know people who routinely run marathons in the three hour range and I love them for it. But this here, this was my goal. And I wasn’t going to apologize for it.
Endurance events are as much about a mental game as it is about being physically prepared. But the two go hand in hand. If I start thinking I’m tired and hurting, my body will respond by being tired and hurting. But my body knows better. It knows it has put in the work. It has done the long runs. It has done the speed work. It is ready for this. “Mind, get a grip!” said my body. When the hard part came, as it always does in the lat 10K, my body wasn’t quite so sure anymore. It just wanted to be done. I don’t know if it was my mind or body which realized I could walk-run to the finish line and still get my sub five-hour time.
But I wanted something more. I knew with my training I was capable of a 4:45. I knew if I dug in just a little bit, I could get it. Why not try? If I missed it, I missed it. Life as I know it would still go on. But all I had to do that at the time was live in that moment. Go for it. Why not? I surprised myself with a bit of a kick at the end. I hit the finishing arch with a smile on my face. I had done what I had set out to do. It doesn’t always happen this way. I have proof of that. But I also have proof that I can get my desired outcome. Each step along the way was crucial to building up that success. Race day really did feel like a celebration, not a test. And I just needed to be patient: In my training, in my goal setting, in the race itself.
The success is mine alone. Why? Because I’m the one who did the work. I’m the one who got her mental game focused. I’m the one who executed on race day. But I could not have accomplished it without a great supporting cast and some knowledge from the universe:
- Mark. OK, he hates it when I single him out, but he’ll just have to deal with it. From using his house as home base for my long runs to offering me dead-pan one-liners which made me laugh, he helped me get through the training. Come race weekend, he was the best support offering great reminders and tips, carrying my bags and cheering me on. And he dealt with my post-race whining. That alone deserves an extra gold star.
- The Gals — Tara, Tracy and Staci:The trio let me be part of their crew for Musselman and partof their Wineglass experience as well. Tara especially got the brunt of my training ups and downs through text message conversations while Tracy and Staci remained positive influences on me through Facebook. I don’t see these gals all that often, but they’ve helped me in my journey this year more than they can ever realize. And, as a bonus, before the race they presented me with a gift: A box of Booberry cereal. Those? Are good friends.
- My running pal Caryl: It was a few days before the race when Caryl hastily friended me on Facebook and asked if she could start the race with me. I know Caryl through a friend of mine but we haven’t been in touch in some time. I welcomed the company and we chatted for the first half of the race. Seriously good fun. Not because we solved the world’s problems or kept each other in stitches but because we had a few laughs, talked about the rain really wasn’t so bad and discussed other races. (I am seriously thinking of the Lake Placid half marathon now!)
- The volunteers and spectators: I truly believe it worse to stand out in the rain than to run in it. A big thanks to the volunteers who kept the race moving and dutifully supplied Gatorade and water nearly every two miles. And a big thanks to the spectators, especially those who got the memo that you can cheer for anybody in the race, not just the people you know. Thanks to the residents of the towns along the way, who took cover under their front porches but still offered cheers as we ran by.
- My family and friends: Sunday wasn’t just my marathon day. It was my brother’s birthday and his daughter’s first birthday. The support from my family is awesome. And by the reaction of my niece to the tricycle I bought her, she should be smoking me on the triathlon course in the near future. Friends all over wished me luck, and Hitch, Sue and Jenny particularly dealt with last-minute freak outs via text. Thankfully, they are still my friends.
- Wegmans: Yes, the grocery store. It became my training table over the past two months. I used their pasta bowls as my dinner the night before a long run. Their food bar and sub shop provided quick and easy access to quality food. Seriously, the store made the nutrition part extraordinarily easy for me. (And or the record, no one I am related to or close with works at Wegmans and I have no financial stake in the company.)
- Tip of the marathon: There are two that I received which may change my life. Thanks to a very thin coating of Vasoline on my feet, I have no blisters. No blisters?! Yep. Score. And a tip picked up from eavesdropping on a conversation in the Corning Y locker room after the race — Desitin works wonders on post-event chaffing. Yep, Desitin. The product made for diaper rashes. I can attest to its healing properties.
- Rewards: Along with my Booberry cereal, you can bet I’ll have some pancakes and some Nutella. Just enough to enjoy it. After all, new goals are coming right around the corner.