Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reflections on my First Marathon: A Year Later

I wasn't blogging when I was training for my first marathon, but I remember just about everything!

My first go round with marathon training went well, but I was in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed and I was scared and anxiety-ridden before just about every new long run distance.

Every run past about 16 miles made me a nervous wreck for several days prior. Don't get me wrong. I had fun training, but it was unlike anything I had done before!

I remember my first 20 miler, or what was supposed to be a 20 miler. I was struggling from about mile 12 on, and around mile 18 I felt so light headed I literally thought I was going to pass out. I was running on the Queensboro Bridge and remember just wanting to be done. I kept taking walk breaks just so I could make it to the other side. I ended up reluctantly hopping on the subway 2 miles short of 20. I came home in tears and my poor roommate talked me down from the ledge. One thing I specifically remember thinking about was how far I had come. Sure, I didn't hit my 20-mile goal for the day, but I was still on track and had come leaps and bounds since I started marathon training.

My smaller runs during the week were less stressful and I enjoyed them much more without all the anxiety. I was a stickler for not missing any of my scheduled runs.

Obviously, I made through training and got myself to the start line of the NYC Marathon. The race itself I still refer to as the best day of my life. The most challenging? Certainly, but the reward I felt afterwards and the support I felt throughout the entire thing was incredible. Although I make it sound like I am an emotional wreck who cries at the drop of a hat, I am quite the opposite and it is a rare day you will see tears on my face. During the marathon, however, there were several times my body was beyond the point of exhaustion and my mind such a jumbled mess that I literally had to choke back tears.

Trying real hard not to cry!
 I let it rip after I crossed the finish line and was a blubbering mess for about 5 minutes until I pulled it together. Then I called my dad to tell him I finished and lost it again. THEN I saw my friends and burst into tears for the final time as I was received in a group hug.
Give me all the hugs!!
 So much has been different for me this time around regarding training.

After I moved to Seattle, I immediately started doing Crossfit, so I knew I was going to have a base already built that I could continue while I was marathon training. I tried to be smart about it and build up my CrossFit classes as I started training for several half marathons.

SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver
 I never realized how life-changing Crossfit was going to be, and I credit it for building strength, preventing injuries and generally making me stronger! In the several half marathons I have completed since starting classes, I have found it easier to ignore the physical and mental pain when things start getting tough in a race.
This is the CrossFit workout I think back to when I'm in pain.
 Marathon training first time around was strict for me. I am one of those anal people who, when they set a schedule or a plan for themselves, has to follow it to a T. I hit every run and gave myself such anxiety the few times I missed. This time around, I mapped out my long runs and gave myself a goal for one mid-week middle distance run. This gave me more freedom to move my runs around and not stress as much, which is always welcome in my world!

I am hoping that my more laid back approach to training this year still gets me through the marathon on November 4th. I know I can finish, so that fear is behind me.

I feel like a stronger athlete this year, mentally and physically. I think my mindset going in is much calmer, and although I would like to beat my previous time, I will just be glad to be towing the start line of another marathon!

In other news, I have lots of workouts to recap, but it will wait until tomorrow! Don't worry, I'm still being a bada$$ in the gym and on the road!

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