Monday, June 11, 2012

26.2 for my 26th! Lake Placid Marathon

Over the past year I have tried to push myself to new limits that I never thought were possible. I have grown as a runner and have learned a lot about myself along the way.  I ran my first half marathon a year (and a week) ago, and I have come so far from then, I never thought a 50k or a marathon would be possible! SInce that race I have run 2 more half marathons, a trail marathon, paced a part of a 100 mile race, and run 3 50ks. And I am still signing up for more!  After each race I want to try something else to push myself and see what I've got in me. 

A while ago I knew I wanted to try a road marathon, I feel like most distance runners start their career with the road marathon so I figured I should get one under my belt soon. My 26th birthday was coming up so I thought running 26 miles for my 26th birthday would be so cool!!! I searched and searched and the only one I could find close by was the Lake Placid Marathon the weekend of my birthday. It was voted the second best destination marathon by Runners World- so I was sold!! I needed a little get away anyways! I was in pretty good shape since I had run 2 50ks within a couple months. After Promise Land in April, I stuck to roads to really get ready for the marathon, I did my long solo runs and felt pretty confident coming into the race. Race week arrived and I was so excited to be running a beautiful race on my birthday. 

I arrived in Lake Placid Saturday afternoon and couldn't get over how beautiful and mountainous the area was! Made me a little nervous for the hills!!! I picked up my packet, met up with a mutual friend, CJ and had lunch. I couldn't stop looking around! I walked downtown a bit and sat by the lake- it was gorgeous! I went for a drive to try to go up to Whiteface Mtn but the road was closed so I stopped at a little hike on the side of the highway and walked about a halfmile in to another gorgeous lake. I sat there for a bit and just took in the beauty of the area. Soon it started to get a little dark so I headed back and went back to town. Met up with CJ again and met for dinner at a restaurant overlooking Mirror Lake. Again, can't say how pretty it was!! Went to bed early to get my beauty sleep for the big day ahead! :)

Then it was RACE DAY!!! I put on my custom made "26.2 for my 26th Birthday" Tshirt and was ready to go!!! The race started downtown by the Olympic Rink and Speed Skating Oval. It was so fun to have people cheering for the runners all around Mirror Lake. The view was amazing the entire race. We went around Mirror Lake once, then down along a road that we would come back to for the second half of the race. We passed by the snow ski jumps-- they were so high and so steep! Scary!!! I felt great and just tried to enjoy where I was and what I was doing. I made sure to drink/eat a lot along the way, it was probably in the high 70s and sunny- perfect running weather for me! I loved hearing the "Happy Birthdays" along the way- made me smile every time! So glad I wore my birthday tshirt :) It was 2 out and backs so we saw the runners ahead/behind and it was nice to hear people  cheering other runners along and seeing runners going through the same thing you were. At mile 20 I was still feeling good and strong, and I realized I made it there at about 3:03- and I realized- OMG! I may finish this race sub 4 hours!!! I was shooting for around 4:30 and I realized I was way ahead of schedule! Suddenly I was doing math in my head and trying to figure out what I would need to do to finish in time- I knew that I would need to get my butt into gear. I started kicking it and definitely pushed my pace and tried to not "hit the wall". I saw a few signs that said "Pain is only temporary, pride lasts forever", it was exactly what I needed to hear- I was starting to feel tired and sore  and I knew that it would only be temporary, but I would be so happy with myself forever if I gave it all I had. So I tried to keep up my pace, one step at a time. I hit mile 24 and knew I would really be pushing it to make it sub 4 hours. All of a sudden a HUGE hill starts- and doesn't stop!!!!! The last 2 miles seemed like it went up, up, and up! And that it would never stop! I looked over at a volunteer at one point and asked if this was a joke! The last few hills were so steep!!! My one goal was to run the entire thing and not walk- I wouldn't let myself walk! I struggled up the hill, but I made it, and then I was at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval and the FINISH! It was great running around the oval with everyone cheering and wishing me happy birthdays the entire way. I was so happy to be done, I pushed myself to the limit and I knew I wouldn't have been able to give anymore- what a great experience. 

I know now that I have to sign up for another one to break 4 hours, I was happily surprised that the race wasn't as miserable as I thought :) Now I need to keep up the running and prepare for the next race- Finger Lakes 50k in 3 weeks with mom and dad! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment