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The phases of marathoning

You know how grief is supposed to have four (five?) phases? The marathon felt like that.

Phase 1: Numbness. This is what happens when you are running a race in 26-degree weather. It didn't help that I was in the last of 3 wave starts, so I had an extra 20+ minutes to cool my heels (literally). I couldn't feel my feet for the first three miles! Very worrisome at the time -- I was afraid it would last and I wouldn't be able to finish the race.

Phase 2: Acceptance. Miles 5 through 12 were really quite nice. Settled into a rhythm and figured I'd be able to keep it up.

Phase 3: Bargaining. Miles 12 and 13, internal dialogue. "Self, if you can just wait until the halfway mark before you MUST use the port-a-john, you won't have to wait in line and lose all kinds of time!"

Phase 4: Denial. Miles 16 through 19, desperately wanted to quit. I passed the medical tent around mile 17 and was THISCLOSE to just walking over to it and dropping out. But I made myself keep running. Keep RUNNING, not walking, unlike last year.

Phase 5: Hope. The Philadelphia course doubles back on itself in the second half of the race. You're running away from the finish line from miles 13 through 20, and then at mile 20 you turn around and you're finally running TOWARD the finish. Usually people talk about hitting the wall at mile 20, but I hit mine at mile 16 -- and mile 20 was a huge boost. Knowing that I was finally running home, plus a cheesy but very real energy boost from hearing House of Pain's "Jump Around" blasting from somebody's speakers, made me realize that I was really going to finish, and I was going to be fine.

The highlight of the race was hearing my name 200 yards from the finish line. I turned my head, saw Dave, and found it in me to pull out a little dash to the end. If it hadn't been for him, I would have gone over the minute mark; as it was, I finished in 4:45:58, eight minutes faster than last year, and accomplishing my goal of not having walked. I'm no speed demon, but I'm happy with that.

Amazingly, I am not hurting that badly. Stiff, yes, a little sore, yes, but doing a lot better than I expected for having finished a marathon a little more than 48 hours ago. (This does not mean that I'm happy to be at work today. Far from it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
qaqaq
Nov. 25th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
You are amazing. Great job!
rpipuzzleguy
Nov. 25th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
Amazing stuff. Except for the shirt, of course. ;-)
stellavision
Nov. 25th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
The shirt was teh awesome. So there. ;)

I saw a lot of people wearing Chase Utley jerseys since he's #26, and two other people who'd done their names and "26.2" like I did. Guess I'm not quite as creative as I thought!
elainetyger
Nov. 26th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
Congratulations!
john_j_enright
Nov. 26th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
Great running! (and great writing too!)
louaudioguy
Nov. 27th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Way to go!
The phases sound very similar to when I ride bike for 40-50 miles. There's that stretch about 2/3 of the way through where the legs are just burning and the stitch in your side is killing you. I usually take a 5 minute break at that point to get the stitch out....but then the last 5 miles are grinding, but doable!

Great job!!!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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