Flying Pig Marathon {round 2}

Well, I did it.

It wasn’t pretty.

It wasn’t easy.

I talked myself out of quitting more than once.

Instead of giving up, I finished

I ran my second marathon

 

It was a beautiful morning in Cincinnati. I really couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sunrise at the starting line was breath taking.

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My friend David took this photo before the start
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The training group made us all great friends!

 

 After a tribute to Boston (that included a bagpipe- cue instant tears for me), the National Anthem, and the official countdown we were on our way!

{note: Last Sunday my peroneal tendon decided to hurt. I went to the doctor on Tuesday and had been going to physical therapy all week. I was unsure if I was going to be able to run or not. I had felt better by Friday so I made the decision to run. I didn’t give myself a goal time per say but I was after last years time of 4:18}

Miles 1-5: The gun went off and we waited a couple minutes to cross the start line. As soon as we crossed I saw the TV cameras and darted toward them to wave at them. My brother and his family couldn’t make it to the race so they watched the beginning from home and saw me on TV!  These miles included three bridges. We were pretty consistent with our 8:35 pace. My leg was feeling good and I was happy that I was staying on pace. I knew we had the dreaded hill climb up ahead, though!

Here I am on TV! I am in the grey shirt and orange skirt 🙂 

Miles 6-9: At the start of the hill climb my quads were burning. This was new to me. We had trained on many hills and I would do just fine.This is when I knew my 3:45 finish time wasn’t going to be that day. Mile 6 is when I lost my two running buddies because I had to slow my pace down. Once we got into Eden park I actually had to walk some parts of the hill. I tried not to bum myself out. I was focusing on small goals and making sure I was eating my sports beans and getting water. 

Miles 10-14: I was relieved to have made it through the hill climb. I wanted to pick up the pace but my legs were still feeling tired. Mile 10 is when the full and half splits and I really debated on making the turn with the half group. I talked myself out of it because I knew Andy, his mom, and my mom were at mile 11 waiting for me. I continued walking through the water stops to make sure I was getting enough water and Gatorade in my system. I was more than excited to see my crew at mile 11. I filled them in on my legs and told them I would see them at mile 20. A quick kiss from Andy and I was back on my way. There was a small hill up ahead that I walked up. It felt better on my quads to power walk. I made it through the half still ahead of the 4:00 pace group. I loved going through this area because I think it had the most orange slices handed out! At mile 14, I felt a calf cramp, aka my worst enemy, come on so I made my first stop to stretch.  After a quick stretch I thought I was feeling better. 

Miles 15-18: Yea, the calf cramps were constant. So constant that I had to walk more times than I could count. As soon as we got into Mariemont, I cramped up so bad that I let out a scream. I hobbled over to a pole to stretch them again. All I remember thinking at this point was why me and 11 more miles seemed like a million! A super nice lady and her son had Flavor Ice Popsicles that they were handing out. I grabbed an orange one and it made me feel a little better. My dad was at mile 16 and I told him to call Andy and have him bring my compression socks to mile 20. I couldn’t believe all the police I saw in SWAT gear. I felt safe and I was thankful they were out there, but it was very surreal.  Miles 17 & 18 were similar, run, cramp, walk, try to run, walk. It was awful. I thought about giving up at this point. I knew I could walk right to the medical tent and be done. I dug down deep and kept on going. I knew how much this race meant to me and I decided I’d be way more disappointed with a DNF {Did Not Finish} over a worse finish time than last year.  

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My dad took this photo of me. I think I was trying to run here. My legs look weird.

Miles 19-25: At mile 19 a coach from the training group saw me and ran on the course with me for a few. I told him about my cramps and he gave me salt tablets to take at the next water stop. After hearing some inspiring words I was back on my way. I think what made this so tough was I was alone. I normally run in a group and chat with everyone. I felt like this really challenged me. Finally I got to mile 20 and I saw my crew again. I pulled off the course to switch socks. As I was taking my shoes off I cramped so bad I practically fell into Andy. I sat on the step and finally was able to get my socks on. I told them I wasn’t upset about what my finish time was going to be, I just wanted to finish. After about a 10 minute break I was back out on the course. Mile 21-23 I set up a system of running and walking. I gave myself small goals of running to a cone and walking for a shorter time. I think the compression socks helped with the intensity of the cramps, but it didn’t make them disappear. I had been looking forward to the Hog Wash station at mile 24. Nothing feels better than an ice cold wet towel at this point in a marathon. My feet were killing me. Suddenly I remembered last year at this point. All those same pains and aches. I knew how much further I needed to go. I encouraged people as I ran or walked by them. One girl was hobbling and I told her just 1.5 miles to go and she looked at me and said tearfully that she couldn’t put weight on her heel. I tried my best to tell her to keep going, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for her. 

Mile 26: I really tired to run this entire mile. The sidewalks were covered with people. My cramps got super intense and I had to stop and stretch. I love having my name on my bib because a group of random strangers told me “Allie, keep going! The finish line is right  there!”. I sucked it up and ran and they cheered. I needed that! I was hurting really bad, but I wanted to finish running. My calf cramp was moving up my entire leg. I saw my family and I started crying while telling them how bad I hurt. I heard my mom say it will be alright and just finish. 

Mile 26.2: I painfully crossed the finish line at 4:35:05. I got my medal that I worked so freaking hard for.  I found my family and hugged them. I was so happy to be done.  The first thing Andy said to me was “I am so proud of you, you just finished your second marathon”. 

—-

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This race taught me things about myself that I didn’t know. I am so much stronger than I think I am.  My mind was playing a cruel game with me by trying to talk me out of finishing. My legs were telling me something else. Maybe I am deficient in something {I never cramp on training runs}, or I didn’t train enough, or maybe I just work myself up the week before the race and stress out. Sunday I could have been a quitter*, it would have been the easy way out. Instead I decided to become a two time marathon runner. 

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A marathon tests ones true self. I remember last year being disappointed with my finish time.  After this race, I am not feeling that same feeling. Sure, I would have loved to finish with my friends David (3:47:20) and Vicki (3:50:10) but it was not my day, and I am okay with that. This was just one race and not every race has to be a PR.  I still have the rest of my life ahead of me to run a third marathon. I am not sure when that will be but I know it will be a flat course!  I will be a stronger runner because of this race. 

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Thanks to everyone who cheered for me on Sunday, either in person or online. Your support was much appreciated! 

*I am not knocking anyone who ends a race with a DNF. If I knew I would have been injured if I continued racing I would have pulled myself. I knew it was mental. I had to finish to prove I could to myself. 

 

14 thoughts on “Flying Pig Marathon {round 2}

  1. Congrats on finishing a tough race! Flying Pig is on my radar for some year but I’d need to commit to another full and I’m not sure I have that in me.

    Quick question – your running skirt is super cute, where did you get it?

  2. I’m still proud of you for finishing your 2nd marathon when you looked like you were in a lot of pain. You’ve done more than I’ll ever do and I’ll always be proud of you!

  3. Congrats Allie! I head a similar experience in my second marathon. I had to talk myself out of quitting for over half of that race. It was awful. You stuck with it and should be very proud! Great recap.

  4. Allie! We are so proud of you! I have tears in my eyes reading your post about the race! Look at all the people you have inspired to run and live healthy lives. Just by running the race and sharing with others in your life you are a winner! Sure, there will always be more runs in your future – and it sounds like this one was meant to teach you more about yourself as a runner, not a clock time. Congrats again and SEE YOU NEXT YEAR AT THE FLYING PIG!!!

  5. Great job Allie! You should be very proud of the way you went about Sunday. The relationship of mind to body is complex and they can often send mixed messages. It sounds like you pushed both to their limits, but refused to give up. THAT is an incredible accomplishment. I’ve been so pleased to run with you this year, you have a beautiful spirit about you and have helped me greatly over the last 3/4 months. I’m sorry we weren’t able to finish this race together, I was very much looking forward to that. As you know, I had my own journey to complete during this race and for that I’m satisfied. I look forward to running with you again soon! Best. Cheers! David

  6. Great Job Allie !!! You should be very proud of yourself. You handled this race with determination and grace. I love watching your grow as a runner and I love picking your brain for knowledge on how I can become a better runner as well. After hearing your story about this race I know ” Sometimes you dominate the course and sometimes it dominates you, but your come our stronger either way”…Although you didn’t finish in the time your wanted your amazing for finishing. I don’t think you realize how much you inspire people. I see it everyday with myself and our dancers. I love having your help with my running and co coaching our girls. I never saw myself as a long distance runner and now I can’t wait to run my first full marathon and have you there watching me ! Keep up all the hard work girl —–> Alisha

  7. I read this yesterday but didn’t get a chance to comment. I’m so impressed with you for so many reasons. It’s impressive, first of all, that you completed your second marathon. It’s impressive that you trained your butt off for so long at such insane paces. And it’s impressive that you have such a positive attitude when your expectations weren’t met in your race. It’s fantastic that you finished the race and pushed through even when things got really difficult and your mind was telling you that it wanted to stop. I don’t know how you were able to talk yourself through so so many miles when you were cramping so badly. When I had my off moments in my first I only had to talk myself through 6-7 miles. I will always think of this race and recap when I think I can’t do something. You’re very impressive, and your upbeat attitude is really amazing. Congrats Allie! What’s next?!

  8. Wow. You are awesome! I can’t believe you got such a good time even with all the walking and having to stop to switch socks! Great recap, and I know you’ll get the race you’ve been training for. I would be interested in knowing why you can have awesome training runs and then start cramping so bad. Maybe it is all the stress. But you powered through, and that’s really inspiring. Congratulations on being a 2x marathoner!

  9. Congrats!!! I am training for my first full and I love reading everyone’s marathon journeys – how mental/physical it is and the accomplishments! Enjoy a nice long recovery 🙂

  10. hey girl! i ran the flying pig too! that was a hell of a marathon. it was the hardest i’ve ever done. i’m pretty sure i saw you. good job and i hope to see you again someday! 🙂

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