Do I start at the beginning or do I do the race recap while it's fresh in my mind? Do I let the race settle in my head so that I can adequately attempt to talk about it?
Because I'm a Type A person, I'm going to start at the beginning. The signing up for the race and the training. If you can hang with me, we'll get to race day. And I hope you will stick with me.
After my first marathon in December, I ended up with a nice stress fracture. I had a slow road to recovery. An even slower road to building back up my running - both distance and pace. I ran two half marathons and a 10k, none of them at paces I would have preferred. Life is like that though. Things happen you can't predict. You have to deal with it, learn from it, dust yourself off and move along.
After another minor set-back with posterior tibial tendinitis, I was back on track. I was hitting 10-14 mile runs weekly. I was gaining back my speed. I felt good. On a complete and total whim, I somehow managed to register for the Chicago Marathon on the last day of registration.
Don't ask me how these things happen. They just do. That's how I ended up registered for my first marathon. I saw the last call Facebook posts, "panicked" and hit enter. Oops. I did it again. And the second I did, I all reality set in for me in terms of my training period. Where was my brain function prior to hitting the send button?
Side note: Race sign-ups should require a second signature from another approving adult. Sort of like a parental signature.
Because I was consistently hitting 40 miles a week with 10-14 mile long runs, I wasn't immediately panicked about increasing the distance. My worries were the heat, the humidity. Oh, and the whole concept of the Chicago Marathon itself. I had multiple levels of concern. But, I'm a worry-wort so that happens on the regular.
Summer running in the south is brutal. If you have lived in the south, there is no need to expand on that. If you have not lived in or visited the south in the summer, well, I'm not sure there are words to adequately describe the heat.
Running at 4:45-5:00 am becomes a necessity of survival. Plain and simple. When it's already 80+ degrees with 90+ percent humidity AND the dew point above 70 degrees, all before the sun is up, well, you know you're going to have to toughen up. You're going to have to accept slower paces, some really painful runs and more sweat than you knew a body could produce. If you've lived in or visited the south in the summer, you're nodding. If not, you think I'm exaggerating. And I promise I'm not. I wish I were.
I had planned on giving myself a good extra two weeks of padding for the training period. You know, to off-set and craptastic, must end this now types of runs. That happened my last marathon; I was going to be prepared.
Dun dun dunnnnnn.... Type A-ers nightmare - disruption of the plan. Enter injury #3 for the year.
Seriously on a roll here with injuries. This time it was my toe. Diagnosis - Hallux Rigidus. Essentially arthritis in my big toe joint. It'll continue to deteriorate. That's fun news. I was back in the dreaded boot for two days. The pain was severe enough that I gladly (well, not really gladly) accepted the offer of an injection in the toe.
I was sidelined for 15 agonizing days and that's when I started to panic about the idea of making it through 26.2 miles. Even more so when I saw other Chicago-bound runners sharing their running miles. All I kept thinking was, "Man I regret that moment of hitting enter." Serious, honest to goodness regret.
But, I'm stubborn. I'm also lucky to have some equally stubborn running partners who willingly slogged through the summer training miles with me long before the sun was up. And with that, I'll sign off on "The Beginning" and share "The Training" in another post.