Monday, November 8, 2010

mmmmm......shiny medal

What motivates a distance runner?  Is it the accomplishment?  Is it the competition? Is it something in their makeup that pushes them onward?  What keeps them going through mile after mile as their bodies scream out "stop, you're killing me here"?  What makes them get up on a cold Saturday morning when most people are sleeping comfortably in bed to go out and run 13, 26, 50, 100 miles?

Motivation has always been my friend and enemy.  Sometimes I'll think about a marathon and just want to go do 1 or 2 or even 3 in a row, just to do it.  Sometimes, the thought of finishing and getting a medal has driven me onwards.  At least once when training for a NY marathon, the fact that I had raised $2,500 for the Sloan Kettering Children's Cancer center pushed me on, knowing that people had given me money to go out and do it, and I couldn't let them down.  During the Steamtown marathon, seeing all the people who had dropped out and were sitting on the side of the road waiting for the sag wagon pushed me on, just thinking about how horrible it would be to sit there for 2 hours to wait until the roads opened to be brought back to the finish line.  I realized i could get there faster even if I had to walk some of it.

On the other hand, sometimes motivation is fickle.  I can think of tons of times doing a training run of 18, when i got to 15 and just couldn't go on anymore.  I'll never forget running the Queens half marathon in the early 2000's and myself and a friend of mine talked each other into dropping out halfway through.  I've never forgotten doing that, and it's honestly haunted me ever since.  It actually placed the idea in my head forever after that it would be OK to drop out.  There's that little voice in your head that says it's no big deal.

Every time I train for a marathon, I find the actual training to be the worst part.  I get worn down and as the time goes on the aches and pains start to add up, and don't go away.  The real marathon is the training, staying healthy with no prolonged sicknesses, avoiding major injuries and keeping the minor injuries minor.

As usual, I injured myself this training season.  I fell about a week ago and hurt my ribs.  In addition to the fact that it hurts to run, and breathe heavily, it's really hard to sleep since every turn makes it hurt.  So I'm worn down.  But I can't stop now, there's a marathon in January with a Mickey Mouse medal at the finish line.

I took Tuesday off, but was back at it Wednesday.  Due to the pain, and not knowing how I'd react, I skipped my weekly run with the Davidson Area Running Team and hit the treadmill at work.  I managed 6.5 slow and painful miles, but I did it.  I got in another 4 Thursday.

Which brings me to Saturday.  Weeks ago, thinking (perhaps foolishly) that I'd be healthy, I signed up for the Dowd 1/2 Marathon.  And yes, part of the reason (besides the fact that it fits into my training program, and it's easier to run with other people) is that there is a medal.  In fact there's sort of 3 medals.  There's 1 for the Dowd 1/2, another 1 for the Thunder Road Half, and a special 3rd medal if you finish both.

Also, Jo had signed up for the race so we could do it together.  So I didn't see so much that I had a choice.  Plus I convinced myself that it would be like at least 2 of the marathons that i ran injured.  Just go out and see what happens.  

We woke up early, to quite a chilly morning in Charlotte-30 degrees.  My comment:   "If I wanted to be this cold I could've stayed in NY."  We headed down to the Dowd in downtown.  Luckily, it was a Saturday and the Y opened at 7, so we got to sit inside and stay warm and stretch (and hit the bathroom repeatedly).  Right  before the race started we headed outside with all the other folks.  Based on the turnout I'd say this is one of the big distance runs in Charlotte.  Quite a few people. We were all jammed into a side road next to the Y, until the go signal, and off we went.  

Jo and I brought our full water bottles with us, since it's easier to get water on a long run when you need it as opposed to when it's available.  So we had our water, gu, and in my case, sports beans, which rattled the entire way as I ran.

I tried to keep it a little bit slower than my normal pace, since I knew there was a long road ahead.  I seem to be able to slow down OK, but Jo was having a hard time governing her speed a bit, and was trying not to race ahead.  It's hard at the start of a race not to get pulled along with all the other people, but I just kept saying that we'd wind up passing a lot of these folks as long as we took it easy.

Considering how cold I was at the start, I warmed up pretty quickly.  By halfway through the second mile, I was already starting to be warm.  I was a bit concerned that I was overdressed, but as the race went along, the wind picked up and we cooled back off.

Bingham signs about 5 times during the run.  I guess they cut through.  As we got to the last mile, I was expecting to go right up the hill and finish at the Y, but there was one last surprise.  Right before the Y, we made a left and went rambling a little bit before coming back to the Y.

About 1/2 mile from the finish, a pair of women who had been going back and forth with us, tried to pass us, to finish ahead of us.  I was having none of that, and put it on to finish.  Jo's comment was "now you're going to speed up?", but I was motivated by the fact that I ran the whole way, while these women ran fast ahead, then walked to fall behind all day.  I wanted the medal and childishly wanted to finish ahead of them, which we did.

Slow and steady followed by....more of the same...until the end

We got our shiny medals, which now just motivates me for the Thunder road and my 2 more medals. 

The rib was painful at first, but loosened up, but towards the last 2 miles, really started to tighten up and hurt.  Had to go home and take some pain meds, and woke up pretty sore Sunday.  Still managed to run 6 on Sunday though, even though it was quite painful.

On to the next goal.

Got my shiny medal

No comments:

Post a Comment