“Keep Calm and Run a Cheesy Marathon” was just the line I needed to read going into the Wisconsin Marathon. The week leading up to the event I was fighting with my right hamstring, which I apparently pulled while gardening the Sunday before. Talk about injury prone.
At the starting line I pinned a yellow & blue ribbon on the tights of my right leg for Boston, and for good luck on my bad leg. I reminded myself that my priority was to walk away from the race healthy enough to resume Ironman training sooner than later, seeing as Ironman is less than 20 weeks away right now. Just finish, and don’t be stupid was my only goal.
My first few miles were filled with discomfort from stomach cramping. I’m certain the reason for my stomach cramping was that I ate dinner a lot later than I normally do the night before a long run. My late dinner resulted in 3 porta potty stops during the race. This is one of the things I need to nail down when traveling for a race, type and timing of nutrition no matter what. My stomach discomfort temporarily faded when I ran into my friend Bert at mile four. I slowed to run with him, which I think was hugely beneficial for me later in the race. Running alongside good company really makes the miles tick by. We chatted for a few miles and parted.
After I split from Bert I had a couple of miles to decide if I was going to turn at the half marathon course turn around, or keep going. My legs still felt fine, it was just my stomach cramping that I was dealing with. So onward to the full 26.2 course I went.
At mile 15, where I always, always bonk, I felt something shift in my hamstring. I slowed to a power walk to be kind to the hamstring. My power walk was a brisk 13 minute mile, thanks to the lunch hour walking that I’ve been doing for the last few weeks. I didn’t feel defeated or pissed off like I would have in past marathons. Instead I was calm, and used that time to think about those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing. My head was in a good place.
I power walked a full mile, and then ran the next. I repeated this until mile 19, where I switched to a 4:1 ratio (run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute). At mile 20 I noticed that the clouds had cleared away and it turned into an absolutely beautiful day. The weather was perfect. I knew that I was doing the best that I could on that day. Before I knew it, I was on my last 3 miles, I didn’t need the walk breaks anymore. It was the strongest I’ve ever felt during the last few miles of a marathon. (Brag: I even had a 9:20 split at mile 24!!)
I finished in 4:34:11. It’s not a PR, and that does not bother me one bit. I’m more proud of this finish than I am of my PR race. Having my head in a good place and feeling strong feels way better than chasing a certain finish time.
I finished happy.