(Finished in 4:09. Not quite in the time I wanted, but I'm ok with that.)
So...it's over. I had a 2 part goal going into the race. Finish in 4 hours and run the entire way, or, in otherwords...just don't stop running. The goals were important and chosen for the way they inter-relate. During my first marathon I didn't run a very smart race and ended up running out of steam too early, and wasn't able to run as much as I wanted. The point of the "no walking" mandate here was so that I would not chase the 4 hour finish if it wasn't prudent. When my pace got difficult, I had to decide between pushing harder and probably doing another crash and burn, or backing off a bit and being able to finish. I would have liked to have hit both goals, but I didn't get the 4 hour finish. I missed it by 9 minutes, but I was able to run the whole way, and more importantly run a smarter race than the first time around. For me that's significant because it means I can leave marathoning, satisfied that I was able to train, make a plan, and execute it. I couldn't say that after my first one, so I feel much better retiring from this distance. I may come back to it again later, perhaps make a run at qualifying for Boston, or maybe just running one when I turn 50, which isn't as far away as I'd like. So, now I can go back to running for fun and health. I have a few serious sources of stress in my life at the moment, and running helps me deal with them, if I can run how and when I want. I couldn't always do that when I was training for a marathon. There were times when my training called for a long slow run, but my blood pressure/stress level called for a balls out, physically exhausting run of 4 or 5 miles. I am looking forward to not having that conflict for a while. I finished the race today a physical and emotional wreck. I was completely spent. I spent a few hours running with my mind free to roam where it will when it's given the freedom of such a physically demanding run. I spent some time with my demons, relived some happy thoughts, appreciated the influence of good friends and suffering through cramps, chaffing and blisters.
Don't worry though. I will continue to blog and probably at a more frequent pace about the trials and tribulations of running through life and living through running.
Whatever I do, you can rest assured that I will be true to the title of the blog, and....
Just Don't Stop Running