Monday, November 9, 2009

Really Kenyan, I am not mad

I'm not. Not even a little bit. Maybe mildly disappointed but even that was only somewhere between miles 20-23. I'm actually quite pleased with our marathon. I mean come on now. I **gulp**(still hard to stomach saying this) DNFed in Chicago and so it wasn't going to take a whole heck of alot to make up for that. Really, I just needed to finish. And that my friends is just exactly what we did this weekend at the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis. We finished.

What we further learned, I do believe is that YES, THE KENYAN IS HUMAN AFTER ALL. After training for just a month for this marathon, running 20 miles the Sunday before, and 10 miles as hard as he could the week of, this time when his feet hit the pavement, the pavement hit back. And yes, Kenyan I know I know that there were any number of reasons for what happened out there, trust me there always is. 26.2 is a long way, whether you are running, walking, or wheeling it and over the course of that distance you never know what might happen which is why I am now a firm believer in not judging a runner based off any particular race time. Remember the whole we all have bad running days from time to time talk I issued myself following Chicago.

For the Kenyan, it was IT band trouble. For those of you runners without a medical background who happen to know what an IT band is, it's quit possible you do because you were made painfully aware of it on some run. It's not so much a problem for me, but I've seen it level my husband. It's a group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh and knee and is quite frequently irritated (LOL irritated is probably not the right word,that's kind of like saying I was swimming and got nipped by a Tiger Shark) through overuse. And maybe just maybe, now I'm going out on a limb here Kenyan, maybe it got overused or at least used a little bit over what it was ready for. Just a thought...

So somewhere around 16, the Kenyan really started complaining about some knee trouble and wanted to take a walk break. We did. No big deal. People do that from time to time. Then we got back to it. I honestly thought for awhile we were still going to post an ok time (ok for me anyway) I mean I knew we wouldn't hit 4:30 with walk breaks, but 4:45 seemed doable. The walk breaks weren't long. We'd run a 12 min mile with breaks, then a 10 min mile with no breaks. But then the breaks were longer and the running slower. And as I checked my watch and saw a 20 minute mile, I saw 4:45 slipping away. Then with another, breaking 5:00 was unlikely.

Now I had quit telling the Kenyan our splits, because he was hurting but I knew he wanted to finish and I thought if I told him where we were at he might not. And since I've been there and done that and found the other side of a DNF does not feel good, I wanted to see him through.

But at about 24 1/2 when he picked it up to run again, he was hobbling. I mean really not putting any weight on that sore knee. And I told him to stop running just walk. Before he had only SAID it hurt, now I could see it. And again, this ain't the kind of guy who's gonna pull out of a race because of a blister or even a toe nail ripping off if you knkow what I mean. If he's limping that bad something was really wrong. "But we've got to break 5 hours." He told me. That's when I had to spill it. We were at 4:58. Breaking 5 hours was not happening. Needless to say, he was not happy.

We mostly walked the rest. But we did run the last little bit across the finish of course. He must have asked me 5 times that day if I was mad at him along with pretty much everbody else that came along for the trip. And the answer is NO! NOWAY! Listen, I love to run and I love to help others reach their goals. Saturday, I got to do both. So, I win.

Would it have been even better if I had hit my goal? Yep, of course. But I learn something every race I run and this one was no different (for example, I think I pretty much have figured out exactly what I need to eat/drink on the course and AFTER. Because around 5PM that day, I tanked and I tanked hard. What I realized later is that I had only been drinking water after I finished which was probably diluting any of the few remaining electrolytes I had left. Of course I didn't think about this until around 8PM so I had some really rough hours there on the ride home. But when I finally realized what was going on I downed 32 ounces of Gatorade Endurance, with twice the sodium of regular Gatorade, and felt much much better pretty quickly.)

Could I have hit my goal of 4:30? Honestly, I don't think that was happening Saturday. We were at 2:18 at the 1/2 so even if I maintained pace we were coming in at 4:36. But I kind of thought that was an ambitious goal for me anyway (at least this time around anyway). That was one of those, if everything goes perfect, and I'm feeling really good and someone (really fast) gives me a piggyback ride for at least a portion of the race kind of goals. Could I have run 4:45 or broken 5 hours? Who knows? I like to think yes. But there were 10 miles left to run when we took our first walk break and a lot could have happened in those 10 miles.

And ultimately, it doesn't matter. I love running, yes. It almost feels like it's a part of who I am. But it doesn't define me. Let's be clear here. I'm not setting any world records. I'm not even coming in the Top Ten of any marathons. I don't depend on 1st place finishing checks to make a living. I do it because I like it, it's good for me and it's a good example for my girlies and that's it. Period. (b/c when your making a serious point you actually need to spell out the punctuation just in case you didn't know ;-) I think I would have been more upset with myself if I had left the Kenyan to hobble to the finish on his own while I pursued some arbitrary goal I had set for myself. Don't get me wrong, I think goals are good and important. I always feel better about myself when I am working towards something and progressing. But just because I walked with the Kenyan doesn't mean I can't still try to hit it some other time. But how exactly do you make up for leaving a friend on the course when they're hurt? Well, don't worry Kenyan. Next time I won't leave you?

So nope. Not mad. Besides, did I mention I JUST FINISHED MY 2ND MARATHON?! And that my friends, is pretty cool :-)

'Til next time...

P.S. To the Kenyan: YOU ARE A MARATHONER NOW! Hold your head high, you are just getting started. TAKE A REST! Get better. Then you go on and get it. Train properly and there's no limit to what you are going to be able to accomplish. By the way, I've always wanted to visit Boston :-)

P.P.S. Don't forget we're all running for my sister-in-law on Thanksgiving. Please click here to read more about it. If you can't make it we'd love to have you sponsor another runner. Send me an email at and I'll let you know how.


shellyrm said...

How wonderful you stuck with your friend! Your attitude is great! Goals are important but not more important than people.

Congrats on the second marathon!

runnanna said...

The Kenyan did great in Indianapolis and so did you! I'd trade some arbitrary time goal for a good running partner any day of the week too! It was really a fun race to watch, beautiful weather, good company, and ALL marathoners inspire the rest of us non-marathoners!Great job!

Staci Dombroski said...

I LOVE your attitude! I think you are right, the main goal is to finish. How many people can say they did a marathon? Not me :-) Ask me next year and it will be a different story.... hopefully!

Marathonman101108 said...

I found your blog through Run With Jill's blog. THANK-YOU for this post. Ever since I ran the NY City Marathon a lot slower than I wanted to, I've been in a funk. It was my 4th and last marathon (or so I say!), and I've been so stuck on my "slow" finishing time. Reading this post helped a LOT. Putting things into perspective really helps. I need to once again recognize my running priorities of staying injury free and having fun. Time is just a number. If you get a chance, read my July 20th post about a race I ran with my daughter. It relates to your situation, and once again helps me put things into perspective. Thanks again for your great post. I will now go become a follower of your wonderful blog. :-)

RunMom said...

Thanks Rick! Just read your post. In fact, here's a link so everyone else can go read it too click here

Following you too :-)