I'm laying on the Hotel bed typing this. I'm almost afraid to move off of it. Ouch. But that's not a complaint. I'm proud of my pain. I've earned it. And in case I forget it, the three meter walk to the bathroom reminds me. Even during the race I joked about the pain. Well the pain that isn't the race ending type of pain. That pain isn't funny. There's no reason to complain about the pain when you are running. It's not going to help. And there truly is only one option to stop the pain. And we won't speak of that option.
I expected physical pain. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this much pain. Ya, I know I'm really selling running a full marathon with that sentence. I expected mental challenges. Surprisingly this went well. I had a picture of my two boys with me. I didn't have to look at it. I knew it was there. And they knew Dad was running a full marathon. Quitting wasn't an option.
There were things though that I didn't expect. Fear. The pain in my quads was relentless from about 26k on. But whatever. Suck it up Princess. But that cramp in the foot. It taunted me from 30k on. It would come unannounced, just linger like an uninvited guest then awkwardly leave when it wanted to. It wouldn't take a hint. And this is the kind of pain I'm not sure I could physically run with. Not with a full blown cramp. No salt tablet. But some recovery juice in the back pockets. I started to woof them down. Seem to do the trick. Then my calves got in on the fun. And from past experience I know that is a race ending injury. Unless you're stupid and want the injury to be permanent. Thankfully if just teased me. I have done some stupid things. Running on torn or cramped calves isn't on of them. The cramping seem to go away. The burning pain of sore muscles stayed with me. I suspect it will be with me for a few days.
The other thing I didn't expect was the emotional roller coaster. After a few jitters at the beginning things seemed to fall well into place. It was a beautiful morning. We were bang on pace. it was euphoric. Running into the sun along the ocean. Perfect running weather. The early adrenalin. Hard to believe it would get harder. And when it got harder my running buddies Laura and Colleen did a fantastic job of keeping things fun and interesting for the most part.
The middle part of the race was emotionally deadening at times. Not depressing. Just dead. Almost indifference. Maybe that's what happens when you're heart is too busy trying to meet the demand of major muscle groups and forgets to send some oxygen to the brain. Those moments were rare.
The elation at the end was also unexpected. I expected happiness. What I experienced was complete elation. From about the 39k mark it finally became real. For something There was no pain during the final sprint. There were no doubts. Three amazing friends came out to run us in. John, Sharon and Colleen made the last few hundred meters effortless.
Before the celebrations, before the half way point, before the starting gun, it's important no to lose track of the fact this wasn't accomplished alone. My celebration is and will be a celebration of community and bonding.
I believe no single person person can cross a finishing line without a community. They're the ones that pick you up after a bad run. They're the ones that push you on tempo night. They're the ones that run you in. They're the ones at the finish line that scream and cheer for you when you need it most. They're the ones that keep you company and keep you going on those long runs. And sometimes it's the camaraderie and story telling on run night. Or the laughter over a good post run coffee.
I can never express in words my gratitude to my running family.
One more unexpected emotion. A bit of sadness. It's hard to say good bye. My life has revolved around marathon training for months. And now she's gone. The celebration begins. The training is over. It's going to take an adjustment. The training was challenging. It was also fun. She left without a whisper in the dark of the night. Last night when we didn't need each other any more. I knew the day would come. I didn't think I would miss her. Oh well, training for the hypo half starts soon. More adventures. More stories. And more time with my running family. I can't wait. Well, that's not entirely true. I can wait until the fire in my quads go out.
I'm keeping my promise to my boys.
I've realized a life long dream.