I learned today that it’s not about the time, it is about the accomplishment.

20 10 2009

Kirsten’s Denver Marathon Race Report 10/18/09

I learned today that it’s not about the time, it is about the accomplishment.

What a great day to run my first marathon. The weather was perfect, I slept well the night before and my body felt fresh and ready thanks to the taper. My goal was a 4 hour marathon, which I knew was a stretch but I wanted to try. This was after all, the only marathon I will ever run due to my old basketball knees. I felt great and I was right on track through mile 19. It was great to see co-workers at mile 12 and my family at mile 13 & 15. I got to run with fellow F4 group runner, Michael Long for miles 13 & 14 which was uplifting to have someone familiar around me. At mile 16 I went past the F4 aid station and yelled to Jen who was very busy handing out water/Gatorade. At mile 18 I had a friend waiting to run with me. I knew I would need someone to get me through Washington Park miles since I was basically running alone by then. She just kept me company and I would look at her feet to remind me that my cadence was getting too slow. During this time my pace slowed down by 1 minute every mile. I knew I was not going to meet my goal time, so I took a minute to use the port-o-let and I felt so much better. My family was waiting for me at mile 22, coming out of Wash. Park and by that time I started slowing by another minute p/mile. I told them to meet me at the finish because I needed to focus on getting to the finish line. The next couple of miles were really hard and I just told myself to just keep running, do not walk. At mile 25 I started feeling weird and Liz, who had done the ½ marathon, was on the course at mile 25.5. I was barely running at this point and told her that I was starting to feel light-headed so she stayed with me. (Thank you Liz!) I started walking and weaving all over the road. Liz had to catch me a couple of times. When I was 200 meters from the 26 mile marker, I told Liz that I was going to pass-out. I have bonked once before and knew what was coming. I told myself in 2002 that I would never do that to my body again because it was a scary experience and can turn into a serious medical issue. I struggled with the decision to just walk the final ½ mile or stop and take care of myself. I would have finished sometime before 4:30. Instead I spent 25 minutes on the sidewalk laying down and getting water, gels and electrolytes in me. I still wanted to finish and my husband had to adamantly tell the EMT’s that I was not going with them.  Liz and Gwen took care of me and walked by my sides until the last 200 meters to the finish. I held my girls hands for those last steps and finished with them at my side.

As my sore body sits down and reflects on the race I think about the words I used to describe myself on the first day of training with Coach Scott Gurst and our running group. (What a great group and coach!) I said that I was “goal oriented”. Without the goal of doing a race, I tend not to work out. Without an aggressive goal, I tend not to train hard enough. As I passed through mile 19 and realized my time goal was out of reach, I just thought about finishing. It’s funny how you train towards something for 4 months and then realize that getting to that finish line is just as important. When I sat down on the sidewalk, it was probably the clearest decision I had made in the last 4 miles. I chose my health over my time goal. My finishing time was 4:51:29, but as you know, it doesn’t tell the whole story. My friends and co-workers reminded me today that yesterday was all about the accomplishment.

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