Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Aftermath Of A Marathon & Most Common Questions

On my current bucket list of 38 items, this one was PRETTY darn high up there...

1. Ride in a hot air balloon
2. Run a half marathon
3. Complete a full marathon - 11.13.11 San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon w/ Blake
4. Trip to South Africa complete with safari when kids are older
5. Trip to Australia as a couple

I will say recovery was difficult.
After crossing the finish line, I had a urge to take off my socks which were drenched with sweat. Once I looked down, I noticed 2 ENORMOUS blisters ballooned up nearly an inch above each toe. They didn't hurt but the sheer size of them told me I should get these things taken care of now at a Medical tent versus having to visit a doctor the next week. Once they were popped, is when the pain started. Nine days later, they are my only memento of my race. They finally seem to be beginning to heal. I have learned now that I should have used that Vaseline Blake was eating, on my toes, instead!!!

Body part wise, nothing specific hurt. I had absolutely NO knee or outer hip IT band pain.... hallelujah! I didn't even have a split second of calf pain, I can't even believe that!That was all due to the best item I purchased during my entire 16 weeks of training, the calf compression sleeves. What was debilitating for the following 3 FULL days was good ol' quad pain. I mean burning, on fire, even after a massage, 2 days later kind of pain. I wish I had full COMPRESSION pants... I swear, I would have worn them the entire race!
Recovery wouldn't have been difficult if it was just for the severe quad pain. The issues came when I decided, after 5 full days before and during the marathon, of chugging water and Gatorade like my life depended on it, to drop the ball and literally not pick up a drink for 24 hours. I was so sick of drinking water and holding a water bottle, I just didn't. This was HUGE mistake. Thank goodness I was off work both Monday and Tuesday because when Tuesday morning came around, I was a mess. I could hardly make complete sentences. I felt just mentally tired. I didn't understand why nearly 48 hours after the race, I was starting to feel worse and not better. By Tuesday night, I had figured out that I was having symptoms of dehydration so I decided to focus once again on good amounts of water and guess what happened.... Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling like a new woman! So KEY LESSON HERE: Don't forget the days AFTER a marathon to drink to fully rehydrate, especially when it was as insanely hot and humid has it had been this year.

In the last nine day, since completing the marathon, these are the most common questions I have received...

1.) You ran the full marathon or just the half? (the number one question I get!)
Yes, I ran the full. That is 26.2 miles. I heard there were 30,000 entrants and of that, only 4,040 completed the FULL Marathon.

2.) Will you do it again?
Honestly, I don't think so. For me, running 26.2 miles was more a of a personal challenge and now that I know I can do it relatively easily, I kinda feel like "been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and more importantly the 26.2 mile sticker) in this case! It wasn't the time of training that bothers me, in fact, I looked forward to that time each week, it's more the damage I feel like I'm doing to my body. I never had any injuries training until I started training regularly over 14 miles each week and I personally believe that God only gave me 1 body and I better take care of it. I don't want to be one of those 50 year olds always complaining about some nagging pain or injury, if I can help it. However, HALF marathons seem EASY and FUN, now in comparison. So, I can definitely see myself doing one or two of those a year!!!

3.) Are you happy with your time?
My official time was 4 hours, 48 minutes and 31 seconds.
HONESTLY, I have been rounding to 4 hours and 45 minutes when people ask. Simply because it's easier and I stopped for 6 minutes during the race, I don't think I should technically count the 2 minute bathroom break at mile 7, 2 minute bathroom stop at mile 19, and 2 minute stop at mile 21 to say hi to family and friends. So, then it technically took 4:42:31 to run 26.2 miles which is 10:47 pace per mile. This was my EXACT training pace time for ALL my long runs, which of course, included warming up and everything. So with a deep chest cold and nasal congestion, I AM BEYOND THRILLED WITH MY TIME!!!! Yes, I think I could have done it 10 minutes faster if I had been at 100% health-wise and perhaps I could have shaved another 7 minutes, if the weather had been perfectly crisp and cool... but it is what it is and I am beyond content!! NO REGRETS!!!

Our Pace Per Mile 
  1. 9:58
  2. 10:02
  3. 10:14
  4. 10:08 - I remember telling Blake 4-5 times up to this point to SLOW down, that we were pacing way too fast.
  5. 10:20
  6. 10:04
  7. 10:12
  8. 9:58
  9. 10:03
  10. 10:19
  11. 10:21
  12. 10:25
  13. 10:26
  14. 10:42
  15. 10:31
  16. 10:51
  17. 10:48
  18. 11:02 (including 2 min bathroom stop)
  19. 11:22
  20. 11:31
  21. 11:26 (including 2 min stop to see family and friends)
  22. 11:29 - The HARDEST part
  23. 4:42 (walked about 3/4 of a mile) THE HARDEST
  24. 12:03
  25. 11:56
  26. 11:06
  27. last .2 = 2:09 or about a 10:36 pace. (Man... it felt like I was pushing it way harder than that!!! ;)
4.) Did you hear about the guy that died?
Yes! And it honestly, freaked me out. Besides the 6 GU's I consumed in just 2.5 hours time, this breaking news at 5:30 PM on Sunday shook me to the core. This was in part why I couldn't sleep for 31 hours until Monday around 2PM. This guy was my age, a surgical nurse, a long-time runner who had run the half the previous year and ultimatley, they couldn't find any conclusive issue. Yet, another reason, I value my life and don't want to press my luck on multiple marathons. ;)

What did I learn from this whole experience? (No, no one has asked me this, rather, I continously asked myself this question during the entire process to make sure that I was really getting the most out of it.)
I learned that what I put my mind to, I can achieve. Even the biggest physical stretch goal imaginable, with dedication and commitment, it can be done. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought both physically and mentally.

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