Homeward Bound

This week feels like the culmination of 6 months of planning and training and anticipation all finally coming due.

Last Sunday Rick and I ran the Gold Coast marathon.  It was a good race, and we both got new personal bests.  Rick broke 3 hours – which is amazing.  I PR’d by about a minute.

It was cool because the course doubled back on itself twice so I was able to see him running around mile 15 and again right before the end.  It definitely lifted my spirits watching for him to barrel by, glowing and shirtless.   I saw him coming in to the finish and knew it was down to the wire, but that he was going to make his goal.  When I saw him he looked exhausted, but fast and steady.  Knowing him, I knew he was going to power through.

I, on the other hand, struggled a bit with powering through.  I need to toughen up a bit, I think.  I ran the first half of the race on pace for a 3:40-3:45 finish – which was my pie in the sky goal, but I lost my momentum after about mile 17.  First I had a bathroom break, and then running in the direct sun and heat (it was 23 celsius, which is about 75 F) started to take it out of me.  My legs felt like lead, and though I was still moving, I was moving slowly.  I also had a bit of a hard time doing the mental conversion from k’s to miles so it was hard to know how to manage my energy reserves at the end.  When you’re so tired, trying to do conversions in your head is amazingly challenging.

Anyway, I finished just about a minute under my previous PR, which was good, but a bit frustrating because I think I had more in me and that it just wasn’t my day.  I had banged up my knee the weekend before while hiking and it seized up on me for about a half a mile around mile 12 and then hurt for the remainder of the race.  I also just suck at running in direct sunlight, and the Gold Coast is all about sunshine.  In that respect, it wasn’t my day.  A little cloud cover would have done me good.

All in all, I am happy, but I learned some lessons from the race to take with me going forward.  I know I am making progress at toughening up in the last 6 miles.  It’s just that the increments of improvement are smaller than I’d like.  I think, and my esteemed coach Rick agrees, that I will focus on doing a year or so of shorter races to get better at pushing myself once I have passed that lactic acid threshold and feel crappy.  I need to improve my ability to muscle through that feeling.  I am kind of a wimp.

Anyway, the nice thing is that there’s no time to dwell on marathon regrets.  This Friday I head HOME!   Two glorious weeks of hanging out up north, seeing my friends, wedding celebrating, and family time await!  I have been waiting for this trip for MONTHS.  In two days time I will be on a plane, snuggling up to Rick and watching movies for 14 hours straight before we’re parted in LA.  I don’t know what I’ll do when that happens.  I have been around the guy almost non-stop for 9 months.  I might go into some kind of withdrawal.

This song has been in my head all day and I think it means I’m excited to come home (and that I have an enduring obsession with David Byrne – if you haven’t seen the movie This Must Be the Place, see it tomorrow!):

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5 thoughts on “Homeward Bound

  1. First of all, you are definitely not a wimp. The fact that you have now run three marathons is indicative of that. You ran over twenty-six miles. You didn’t walk; you didn’t jog – you RAN. That’s a feat most people cannot claim. I think it’s reasonable to want to get tougher – hell, I feel like my entire life is spent trying to prove something to myself; how tough I am; and maybe even others as well (OK, OK – definitely others!). But what you accomplished is special and a long, long way from wimptown, USA.

    Second, I’m really excited for your guys’ trip home. I think it will do your souls some real good. And based on experiences in my relationship, a little distance reminds the heart how much you care and how much you love. I think that’ll do your souls some good as well!

    Wonderful blog post, as usual, Kat. I also wanted to let you know I started doing yoga. Your dancing the studio post inspired me to give it a try (of course I know your post had little to do with actually practicing yoga, but…you know what I mean). I find that I’m easily frustrated – just making it through a savasana tests my patience. But learning how to breath is proving quite valuable! Who’d a thunk it! 🙂 Enjoy the states, Kat.

    • Thanks for the thought, Lauren! So glad you’re getting into yoga. I personally love it! Rick, not so much. I’m working on him and have gotten him to a few “Yoga For Athletes” classes. I’m okay with baby steps. It’s not for everyone.

      On distance: I find myself apprehensive of coming home because I’m afraid of breaking the spell we’re under over here! Things have been amazing and I know I will miss the guy even if we’re only apart for a few days. I am not too worried though – we’ll have a wild wedding in Richmond right in the middle of the trip to reconnect for a few days.

      On savasana: Be patient and try to be mindful of actually relaxing during savasana. This took me an embarrassingly long time to get as I used that time to plan what I’d do after class or to fixate on a pose that I couldn’t quite get. I think yoga is really about learning to channel that unfocused energy and direct it as you need to. Think of savasana as banking your focus for when you need it again after about mile 20 in your race! I think for me, that’s why yoga is meaningful. The ability to channel mindfulness and focus is something I have been working on for a while. It doesn’t come easily.

      • I tried to get my dad into yoga, and it just didn’t stick. That was back when I was doing bikram and my dad was making his push to qualify for boston and he was only running (I worried about a 60 year old not cross training/stretching). Have you tried Bikram? It’s hard. Just standing in a hot room for over an hour is torture enough!

        So great that you’ll reconnect in Richmond. That will be a blast.

        I’m doing the same thing during savasana – planning out the rest of my day, working through a current problem; I like your analogy to use that time to “bank focus” – to be used in tough situations such as the end of my race. Thanks! Enjoy Wisconsin and the cheese 😉

    • Aren’t they though? I always feel like how you approach them is indicative of something deeper – what that is, I can’t say exactly.

      I would LOVE to train and run one with you too, Molly. I wish you were here in Milwaukee! Katie Edwards just visited me and we had breakfast and Beans and Barley – it made me think of you! I hope you’re having a great summer!

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