Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Post Marathon Thoughts

"I am too tired, even to be happy." --Gelindo Bordin, Italy, immediately after winning the Olympic Marathon in Seoul

If you spoke to me in the 24 hours after the marathon, you might have sensed I lacked some of the joy, celebration and excitement that rightfully was mine after an extreme effort and personal victory that exceeded even my wildest dreams. I've waited years for this moment. I've trained diligently, letting season after season build on the one before. I've sacrificed much to be here, and there were no shortcuts.

But, mark that important point on "extreme effort." I left everything on the course. This marathon took more out of me than marathons past. I think I described it as, most tactfully, "I am still processing it... it hasn't sunk in yet."

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming." --Frank Shorter

Don't ever listen to me after a marathon. What comes out of my mouth about future plans is drivel and from the mind of a mad-woman who is keenly aware of the agony of what she just experienced. Do it again? Are you crazy? Never! For a bit, the fire was stoked. My hunger for my goals sated. Hanging my running shoes up seemed plausible.

"To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind." --Jerome Drayton

My desire is to recover well. But I feel the fire coming back. I am wanting to race again, to reach new heights, and already thinking about what that might be. For now, that is qualify for New York (3:38:00). To do that in Boston will require more fitness than I have now (Boston is a very challenging course that does not play well with my strengths and weaknesses).

P.S. My pictures here are just "proofs," but I am in the process of purchasing the digital images and will repost. Meanwhile, I thought I'd add a few snaps of the moment! Notice "Greenman" running with me mid-race :-)

P.P.S. I will wrap up this blog with some thoughts on how I did it--how I "qualified for Boston" because that's what this blog was all about. I'll talk about what factors I believe were key for my success. Some obvious (consistent, fairly high mileage), some not so obvious (customized training from my coach and some very specific training runs). Look for that in the next week or two!


Sharon said...

I would love to run New York too as it is my hometown. I'm going to try to get in with the lottery, but I definitely want to do Chicago most of all. I am already counting down the days until registration opens. This year I AM going to do it!

My walk/run intervals are going pretty well, but it is so hard to "run" for only 30 seconds every 3 minutes. I can't wait until the walking intervals go down and the running portions increase. I am so full of energy after 10 months of injury recovery.

I love your photos - you look so hard core! I am still so amazed by your time! You ROCK!! That must've been so funny having "green man" run along side you! At least he kept warm :-)

Looking forward to your next move -I'm sure you will conquer your next goal(s). Great job, Alex :-)

runner-grrl said...

Sharon, Sounds like you are doing so great! I'm really proud of you. You've had a tough, long come back, but you are winning this! You'd better run Chicago, and I can't wait to hear all about it!

I kept hearing "Green Man! Green Man!" as I passed the crowds. And I was like, "What is that all about?" I couldn't see him for a long time. You should have seen him drink! He had to unzip his face.

Thanks for your encouragement! --Alex

lorraineX said...

You are amazing!!! Thank you for blogging your race! I hope your recovery time is sustaining; that it gives you time to contemplate and digest the this high experience.

(I've been training to walk/run my first marathon in two weeks. Goal is 6 hours with a walk-two-miles/run-half-mile plan; about a 13:30 pace.)

runner-grrl said...

Lorraine, I am so pleased to hear how far you've come in your recovery! This is so exciting! Did you ever think six months ago you'd be here? Well done! Enjoy and Celebrate when you are done, and be sure to give me a race report! --Alex

That one girl said...

OMG, I love you right now.

Loved marathons, loved long distance, just ran a marathon with a terrible time but was just a goal to run one after kids.

Said it was my last.

Now I can't stop thinking about running. I want to train harder. Longer. Faster. I want to qualify for Boston. Grrr!

runner-grrl said...

That One Girl, Go for it! Otherwise, you'll be left wondering what it would have been like.. it's totally worth it :) But I still deserve the right to not have my words after a marathon held against me!! Run long, --Alex

Steve said...

Holy cow! Looking for a runner's blog, no idea why this one came up, but I thought you were a woman from my past, I had to look at multiple photo's of you to be certain before I commented. Those are some good times you have listed there. Are you still using a coach? Much success?

does creatine help?

runner-grrl said...

Steve, Thanks for the visit :)

I am still using a coach--same one for four years, he's awesome.

This spring, I focused on the half marathon distance, getting a 1:41 in early April, and a 1:43 in mid-April (under less than desirable conditions). Interestingly, both resoundingly qualified me for a guaranteed starting position in New York, something I talked about in this post as a future goal.

You can read about those two races here:

Funny, I tried creatine. It didn't seem to do anything except make me heavier for the distance running. But, I wonder if it might help for shorter distances, where more muscle = more lactic acid buffering and more strength. I tend to be a little on the too thin side when marathon time rolls around.

Best, --Alex

Steve said...

Little on the too thin side? Odd. Quite often you see big, bulky people running 26+ miles. Every marathoner is thin. Wait, every serious one is thin. I'll go check out those two links next.

Creatine I don't think will help as much for a long distance, endurance type runner. It is more for explosive energy, like the 100m. Say, how many meters is a marathon?


Steve said...

I am curious as to how you keep track of what you have done or what you are thinking as you run past each mile marker? How do you keep such detailed mental notes of what is going on, what you're feeling? That one post, the positive/negative one is understandable. That other one though where you broke down what happened at every corner... I can't recall what happened 5 minutes ago and I'm just sitting here.


runner-grrl said...

Steve, Club soda nearly came out my nose--that was pretty funny.

By the way, a marathon is ~42,200 meters. Which sounds a lot longer now that you put it that way. Thanks for that ;)

The positives / negatives was all I could say about that race. I really procrastinated in writing the race report and my mind was already trying to erase the details. As for the other race report (far more typical for me), if I sit down to write quickly after a race... I have a pretty vivid memory. I think distance runners are very milestone oriented. At least I am very likely to remember what I was doing as certain things like mile markers, or certain K splits.. happen. Ok, so I'm a little OCD. You caught me. --Alex

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