On 12/13/14, I ran my FIRST (and maybe only) marathon on Kiawah Island in South Carolina. It was actually a combination marathon/honeymoon trip because I was married to the love of my life just two weeks prior.
I'll start by saying it was an INCREDIBLE experience. The Kiawah Island folks really know what they're doing. Because it was our honeymoon, we decided to spend three nights at the stunning Kiawah Island Golf Resort's main property...The Sanctuary.
After collecting my race bib and t-shirt, I met my running coach, Lori, who had driven 6 hours to be with me for my first marathon experience. She's such a gem! My nerves were on 10 because I knew that my training had not gone as I would have liked it. During the fall, I had worked 3 jobs, planned and executed a wedding, moved my fiancee'/husband 70 miles to our home, and studied for and took the GRE and submitted my grad school application 12 days before the marathon. Never mind that I'm a mom of 2 girls and had a home and dog to maintain. Life happened and I was feeling less than confident. I knew that I could cover the distance, but I was unsure of just how fast I could do so. The plan was to maintain somewhere between and 10:00 - 10:30 min mile. The weather couldn't have been more perfect (about 35 degrees at the start). The course was tremendously flat and scenic, and was shaded throughout. The start was a little crowded due to the number of half marathoners, but there was ample room to run once they split off at about mile 12.
Mile 20-21 was incredibly trying. I was in need of fuel and had started to feel light-headed. I welcomed the bananas, orange slices, and Gatorade at that aid station because it gave me the lift that I needed to finish. But this time, I'd started to do a run/walk and saw the 4:45 finish pacer pass me as well. Again, my spirits were still good, but my body had had enough. Lori met me at around mile 23 or so and finished out most of the race with me alerting my husband that I was on my way to the finish line.
One of my favorite parts of the race experience was going back and forth with the others who were struggling like I was towards the end. By that time, I'd become familiar with their loved ones who also met them at several markers along the route. We tried to keep each other lifted up and encouraged. Mile 24 was another tough one because I felt a shooting pain up the back of my leg that quickly subsided, but I was scared to run afterwards for fear that it would return.
The 5 hour pacer passed me in the last mile and I ran trying to keep up with him. I was on his tail and finished just moments after him. I wasn't as emotional as I thought that I would be, but I was proud of what I had just accomplished. You see, just about 1 1/2 years prior, it would have been a struggle for me to complete a 5K at an 11 minute pace and I had just run an entire marathon at just a bit over that pace. My husband was at the finish line and told the guy with the microphone to announce my name and that it was my first marathon. I put my arms up and ran through the finish line.
I recovered fairly quickly and was ready to walk around downtown Charleston the next day. I was still a little stiff, but much better than the previous day. I never had to take the stairs backwards or any of that. We enjoyed the remainder of our time/honeymoon and headed home the following day with the "revenge" idea still nagging me. It's weird, though, because I wanted to do it better, but didn't want to have anything thing to do with running at the same time. It took me 7 days to even lace up and head out again and that 3 mile run SUCKED! I went back and forth between a walk and a run for the latter 2 miles and I wanted nothing more than for it to be over. I'm sitting on my couch right now with a 3 mile run on tap and I can't bring myself to do it.
I can't come to terms with why I feel this way. I'm not the kind of person who's ever shied away from a challenge. My marathon experience wasn't terrible. The only thing that I wasn't happy with was my finish time. So why don't I want to run? Has anyone else ever felt this way? Is it possible that 26.2 ruined my love for running?