Well – spoiler alert. They don’t. At least not this normal person.
A marathon is 26.2 miles whether it is ran in 3 hours or six.
A marathon is hard whether it is sunny or it is rainy.
A marathon is mental.
This year I ran two marathons.
This is a BIGFREAKINGDEAL. I often have to remind myself of that, because instead of spending the time patting myself on the back for this accomplishment, I find myself working through small fixes and irrelevant regrets from a race or training run.
This didn’t come for free though. These runs (both marathons + every other race I did + gear I couldn’t resist) cost money, time, and wear on you physically and emotionally. Two back to back marathons and training cycles is a lot to muster.
To be fair – I know of many people who ran the Chicago Marathon (October 8th) and New York City (November 6th) this year less than 4 weeks apart. Standing applause to you all. That seems bonkers, and definitely not something I would elect to do. But, the beauty of the short-term back-to-back is that you can rely on one super long training cycle.
The combination of running New Jersey 6 months before New York meant I had plenty of time to train, run, recover, train and run again. If you do the math, that means I’ve spent almost every week since January in training mode.This means almost eleven months of nights in, or a lot of carbs and icky GUs, and a lot of laundry.
So about six weeks ago, five weeks before the TCS New York City Marathon, I said “F*ck it.” — or more like my body said “F*ck you.” During my longest run, I tweaked my knee to the point where every step triggered me to scream and I knew I was about to be in deep, deep trouble if I didn’t knock it back a notch.
Up until that point I was running 27-30 miles a week, desperately running my planned long runs, and mixing in tempo, fartleks and speed workouts through the week. I was working hard, and I was chasing time goals for New York. I was constantly crunching numbers on the run, or playing complex mental games to stop it doing that. I was completely beat. I had given so much of the last year to the sport that I had totally fell in love with, but I was at the point where I couldn’t remember why we even started hanging out in the first place.
Snap, crackle, pop goes my knee and suddenly, everything snapped into perspective. After crying, praying, icing on repeat I knew I needed to chill the F out.
New York wasn’t going to be a race, it was going to be a gift.
And it was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself. All factors aside from my first marathon, this run couldn’t even compare. The only thing they had in common was the distance.
Though I wasn’t “racing” in New Jersey, since I had never ran a marathon before, I still had an idea of a time I wanted to beat. I checked my watch at every single mile marker. I was racing with myself. And yo, that’s cool. Good for me. No regrets.
The week before New York, I was telling Bennett about a nightmare I had
“I got to the start, and looked down and my Garmin was dead.”
“Yeah? So? The race goes on without the watch.”
So true. Right? Anyway, I wore my watch because, come on, that puppy wasn’t free and what kind of #InstaFit blogger am I without my running watch?
But I didn’t look at that damn thing once the entire five hours I ran.
I did high-five a million kiddos, I stopped and laughed at signs, hugged my best friends, danced to Backstreet Boys and even cursed at uphills just like the tough runner I am.
So, now, welcome to the off-season. Going to spend the next few months basking in the joy of spin classes, yoga, TRX, and sporadic weekend runs (OMG, I miss Central Park so freaking much – and yes, I know it’s been less than a week).
Also, spending a good amount of time thinking about goals (running and beyond) for 2017 that I can totally crush. What’s up sub-two hour half? WINKY FACE.
Here’s a side-by-side of my face NJ vs NY finish lines.
And here are all my favorite and significant moments from each.