Monday, November 21, 2011

Fear and loathing at the Philadelphia Marathon

Boy ohhhhh boy was I cocky going in to this marathon. I thought I had it in the bag. I started out with a goal in mind, and then was so confident in myself that I lowered that goal by another five minutes a month before the race. I was going to qualify for the Boston Marathon, with room to spare. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?

My training was awesome. Harder and faster and rougher than ever before. When people asked, I told them my goal. Not my first one, but my second, even faster one. I uttered those words out loud over and over again. I said them so many times I began to believe that I could do it. I had it in the bag. It would be tough, but my training all added up. My last 22-mile training run had me almost exactly on pace. All I had to do was run the way I trained. So what did I do?

I got so overly excited that I flew out of the starting chute, ran an average of 7:30 minute-miles for the first nine miles because I was feelin' goooood, slowed it down to what I should have been running all along until mile 18, and then totally crashed. Like, totally CRASHED.

I spent the next 8.2 miles bathing in waves of self-loathing for being oh-so-cocky and running the first half marathon oh-so-fast. That, and trying my damnedest not to pee my pants. In fact, the oh my god I'm going to pee my pants moments got so intense by the time I hit downtown Manayunk that I realized if I didn't pull over and pee in between a pair of parked cars RIGHT NOW I really was going to pee my pants. I spent the next few minutes debating between the two and opted to pop-a-squat in a Manayunk parking lot for the sole reason that I was worried about the chafing. I just wasn't wearing the right shorts for pee pee. I left my pee pants at home.

This has never happened to me during a marathon, likely because I've never had to drink so much. It was hot and I was thirsty. For the second half, I was taking a minimum of two full cups at each water stop. Usually, I take a single swig and throw the rest of my cup away. I just couldn't get enough fluid yesterday. Clearly, I had a little too much.

The last four miles were excruciating, but that's nothing new. The finish line chute -- usually my favorite part of the race -- was a never-ending blur. JESUS CHRIST JUST END were the only words going through my head. Only by then I was so fried they cycled around in a jumbled mix of words. JESUS CHRIST JUST END. CHRIST END JESUS JUST. END JESUS JUST CHRIST. JEBUS CHRIZ JERST FREND.

And finally it did. A full five minutes slower than my goal. My first goal. If we want to get technical, that's a full 10 minutes slower than my second goal. I SHOULD HAVE JUST PEED MY PANTS. I wasted valuable seconds behind that car. But what can ya do? GOD DAMNIT I TRAINED HARDER THAN THAT. If I had run smart -- with the same, consistent pace I did for my last long run -- I would have hit my first goal without a problem. Cocky, cocky, cocky. I still got a PR by a full five minutes, so I'm trying my hardest to keep that in mind, despite all of the familiar self-loathing that is circling through my head right now. GAH. WHATVER. SOMEONE GET ME A TURKEY.

It's hard when you've trained for something since JULY and all along you think you've got it and then you realize you don't, while trying to remind yourself that you still completed your fourth marathon with a pretty good time that's still your best time and their a larger problems in the world like war, and famine, and Republicans. But I still kind of feel the way Andy Dwyer did when he learned he wouldn't be playing with laser guns in laser class.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to continue to shuffle around my parents' house in slippers and elastic-waisted pants, eating all their brand name food that I can't afford, and watching their cable television that I refuse to pay for at home.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

From a spectators view, you definitely didn't look like you were in agony during those last few miles..Michael and I kept saying how graceful you looked...Congrats again!


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