I was SO READY! This is in response to my own mental questioning about a week ago, I wasn’t sure that I was prepared enough for the marathon. And physically, I really wasn’t. But something happened to me mentally on the race weekend and I did so much better than I could have hoped for.
I guess I should say that first off, I really don’t like attending race expos to pick up my bib number and such. Instead of psyching me up as they are intended to do, I usually just get in, grab my number and shoe chip, and then weave my way out as fast as possible before I get sick to my stomach from the nerves. But at this expo the guest speaker happened to be Bill Rodgers!
In case you don’t know, Bill Rodgers just released a book, and is best known for winning the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon 4 times each. Other less well known facts are that he has run 60 marathons in his life and won 22 of them. He made the U.S. Olympic marathon team in 1976 and again in 1980 (but unfortunately, that was the year the U.S. boycotted the Olympics). He was a member of the original greater Boston are track team and back in the 70’s helped to kick start the long distance running boom in the U.S. along with other greats like Alberto Salazar ad Amby Burfoot. He has since retired, but still runs marathons and other distances for fun.
So my mom and I went to his lecture and then we hung around to meet him afterward, and what an experience!!! He actually listened to what we had to say, and seemed genuinely impressed with my marathon PR of 3:04…and interested in some of my wacky marathon stories. I bought his book, and he signed it for my mom and I. But I believe being so inspired by such a humble marathon legend helped me in my determination to race the next morning.
And so, when the race began, I flew. I took off fast, immediately running past the 3:30 and the 3:25 pacer, even though I definitely hadn’t trained to run that fast. As the race progressed, I just got faster and faster, passing the 3:20 race group and then the 3:15 pacer around mile 17. Then I HAD to catch the 3:10 group. But they resisted me, I pushed myself as hard as possible from mile 18 to 23, and caught up after a long downhill stretch. Then something happened, and I just faded. They continued to be within my site, but out of my grasp as I stumbled onward for the last 3 miles. I had pushed myself to the limit determined to catch the 3:10 group, even though my ambition at the start had just been to finish the race in one piece.
I crossed the finish in 3:11:41, and I haven’t been this proud of myself in a very long time. I loved that I felt driven and strong, and that unbelievably, my body was able to carry me all the way through the race. I have now posted three races in the low 3 hour mark: 3:04 (Portland Marathon 2011), 3:08 (Surf City Marathon 2011), and the most recent Portland Marathon. I know I have unbelievable potential to run under 3 hours, and I am now more determined than ever to make that happen!