Thank you Route 66 for again, proving to be one of my favorite runs! Because after last year’s Route 66, I thought I might truly have lost my love for you. But in fact, it was that I simply don’t love running in 19 degree weather. So to which ever race director called in a favor from the weather gods, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I was broken after OKC Marathon – the worse I’ve ever run, which I contribute to a variety of reasons. 1. First marathon I’ve ever run without Perfect Pacer. 2. Most beat up physically going into a Marathon. Even my doc at Integrated warned me it was going to be ugly. 3. My friends, because they are invincible and because we agreed not to hold each other back, were able to keep going when I had to become a wiener and walk. So for a long while, I was truly alone. 4. Wind from Hell. 5. 2 hour delay.
So yes, OKC broke me. I swore I’d never ever do another marathon. That is, unless I ever got into NYC or Marine Corps. But that’s a whole other blog post. After OKC, I just wanted to find the love for running again. And not be in pain. I really wanted Route 66 to be so many things this – redemptive and fun being two of them.
Route 66 Marathon reminded me that I could love running again, that I could make it about simply finishing and not always having to make a PR and that I definitely shouldn’t take myself seriously as a runner. Because seriously, I am not that serious of a runner, which I think I realized after sharing some stage time with some fellow bloggers at the Bloggers Forum of the Route 66 Marathon Expo.
The marathon isn’t just about the run on race day, but it is about the journey that leads you to the finish line, which begins many months before you ever reach the start line. For me, it is about learning how to balance my training, with my job which can be pretty physical and challenging – which I LOVE! It is also about learning how to train differently because of my job. It is always about balancing training with wifedom & motherhood. I wish I could say I found the magic recipe for all that balance, but alas, I’m still searching for it.
For me, the course this year seemed to resemble my training journey for Route 66. There were days when training was going awesome and all of a sudden, a “moment” would happen to try to knock me off goal. It was definitely a training journey full of ups and downs. Similar to the race course – full of ups and downs! It was a very nice hilly course which I conquered. One of those down moments on the course happened when I turned south onto Peoria and a blasting wind hit me smack in the face - I suddenly feel utterly alone and thoughts of failure crept inside my noggin. Another down moment, occurred at mile 11 – when Perfect Pacer’s body decided it was done.
But the course held more “up” moments the “downs” – like the up moment when I realized we were just feet away from Mile 9 aka #cheersoncincinnati where friends with jello shots were stationed) and all of a sudden found myself sprinting past Perfect Pacer. And then there’s that moment at mile 10, when I slowed to a walk to text my daughter and heard the captain of my training program holler from behind “Jackson, you’ve got a goal – you better start running”.
Like I said earlier, Perfect Pacer fared well till about mile 11, when his stupid back and his stupid calves begin making him pay for the brutal impact he was putting himself through. We had made it with good mile splits all the way to mile 11 and were thinking we would actually make my self-imposed 2:10 finish goal when the dull aching throb he runs with intensified. We resorted to run/walk intervals for those last 2.1 miles trying to focus on the finish line instead of the pain he was in.
And we crossed the finish line, hand in hand, just like we did at the start line.
Thanks Route 66 Marathon, for reminding me that running long distance can be fun again!