I think I did 1 or 2 "Marathon Monday" updates before I got caught up with summer stuff and became an absent blogger! So here's a general marathon training update, and a blog about the race I was supposed to run Saturday that I backed out of 20 minutes before the start.
In general, marathon training is going well! This week my mid-week runs are 2 5-milers and an 8 miler. My long run will be (eek) 18 miles!
Overall, my legs are definitely tired but feel way better than I thought they would at this point. I was especially worried that being back to school would torture them, but I think it's actually better for them. I eat better, sleep better, and just take better care of myself in general when I'm working. The routine helps keep me focused.
The biggest challenge is the mid-week "semi long" run. 8 miles mid-week is tough to wrap my brain around. That used to be a LONG run.
Saturday I had 17 miles on my training schedule. The longest I've done is 15 miles, so this would be a new distance PR for me. Our town was having a 10 mile race on the local Rail Trail, so I figured I would run 7 miles before the race and then run the other 10 with the race.
The morning dawned and I woke up on time, had my long run breakfast, and started getting dressed. As I headed out for my pre-race miles (and at this point I knew I only had time to get in about 5 of them oops!), I was feeling terrible. My legs were tight and my hips were aching. My typical long run pace is about 10:30-10:55 minute miles. I hobbled my way through 4 miles all nearing a 12:00 mile.
I was hurting.
I called it quits at mile 4 and came home to foam roll and stretch before the race. Then I pinned on my number and started to cry. Yup. I stood there in my living room and CRIED. (truth be told, I had cried during my 4 miles too)
I hurt. I didn't feel good. Mentally, I just didn't want to race.
But I told myself it would be fine once I got to the start and saw some of my favorite faces and friends. I got in my car and started off.
Then I looked down and saw my low pressure light was on in the car. I cried again. And turned the car around to go home. I sent a text to my friends to let them know I wasn't coming.
I was worried that I would end up in the middle of this race and be hurt. So I decided to regroup at home and head out on my own.
I started with a 4 mile route that I could cut back by my house to refill water and stop if I needed to.
I put on some "Jesus music" (that's what my dad calls it) and started just talking to God while I was running. But somewhere around mile 7, I stopped talking and started listening. And this verse popped in my head "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" (Phil. 1:6)
I didn't plan to run a marathon this year. When I planned my races for the year, I was going to be doing the Baltimore HALF Marathon again and going for a sub 2:00 time. God planted this marathon dream in my heart.
And I realized, that I wasn't running His race. I was running mine. I found myself saying out loud (Yup - out loud. Don't worry, it was a back road with no houses!) "it's not my race, it's Your race" and with each step and each time I said that, my legs got looser. My pain decreased. My steps got easier.
I wasn't meant to run that 10-miler Saturday. I needed to run those 17 miles alone with God. I needed to give the marathon back to Him who gave me the dream and the strength in the first place.
And as I finished those 17 miles, it was raining. Actually it was POURING. My iPod shuffled to the song "Grace Like Rain" and as I heard the words "Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me" -- I ran with a smile on my face. My legs were tired and my feet hurt, but my soul was full of joy.
It's not my race.