Meet 30 year old Christine Hagan from Burlington, VT. Christine was one of the KBVCM’s female invited runners this year ….
I’ll start with the most positive post-marathon celebratory feat – no ‘runs on my run’ this time! Woohoo! I guess the strict chicken and brown rice diet for the 10 days leading up to the marathon helped (well, that and the 2 Immodium).
As I caught up to a friend out on the course at mile 22, the exact words out of my mouth were “I am never F@#$-ing doing this again!!!”. In my head I 100% meant it, as I did the other 50 times I said it in the few hours immediately following the race.
The 26.2 left me humbled and hurting. The first half was a blast, the second half was much less of a party. The one muscle I wasn’t worried about (left hamstring) started locking up out of the blue at 13 and I made a stupid fueling decision shortly after that … the combination of these two unplanned events led to the slow fading of my goal time by a few loong minutes. I was reminded what an art marathoning really is. So many different things factor into it and only rarely do they all line up perfectly for the whole 26.2 miles.
I passed some (spectating) friends around mile 18, and they were so energetic and encouraging in their cheering – something that would normally motivate me to smile, give a thumbs up, and even pick up my pace. I barely gave them a side glance and proclaimed “this sucks” as I ran by. Classy Christine. Way to unleash your hurt on the supporters that make this race the great event that it is. (At least those friends are runners, so they get it).
I know I was hurting, because I let another woman pass me in the last 0.2! I would usually fight till death not to let that happen, but I was one stride away from a full-on locked up hamstring which would have left me rolling around in agony in front of hundreds of people and potentially crawling to the finish. Luckily my competitive side deferred to my practical side to preserve my dignity.
The next couple hours involved my husband and family taking care of me like I was a 95 year old grandmother. Sitting down was more like “plopping”, getting up involved 2 people assisting, I was wearing 2 long sleeve layers despite the 80′ temps, I needed someone to get my food for me, but then I couldn’t eat it, and every time I did try to stand up I felt light-headed and unsteady. Getting on/off a toilet was impossible and going up/down the stairs was just plain ugly. I couldn’t bend one knee enough to get in the backseat of a car. That was a fun glimpse into my aging future!
I wish I had counted every time I said “I’m never doing that again” in the hours following the finish. At some point during our post-race BBQ, I started phrasing it as “if I did do another one, which I’m not going to, this is what I would do differently…” By the end of the night I found myself actually formulating a training plan.
I’m not sure how or why I transitioned from never, to hypothetical, to actual so quickly?!?! My body could not have forgotten the torture it just went through – I was still limping around. But somehow the part of my brain that makes me competitive began to wake up and it seemed to turn down the volume on the pain, and wash away any practical thoughts like “I am perfectly happy to run 5 and 10ks from now on.” My lasting memories are now of the first half of the race and finishing with a big PR, running with my friends, seeing so many people I know running and spectating, all the amazing volunteers and spectators, the fun course, the great musicians, all the hoses set up in the neighborhoods, getting to wear my first ‘F’ number, the support from my friends and family, the noise and excitement as I entered Waterfront Park, watching my sister gut it out and finish a tough race, and watching my aunt cross the finish line of her first marathon looking so determined! I am remembering how much fun I had training with the girls every Saturday morning…
KBVCM, I hope we meet again!
I am imagining it is like child birth. As soon as it is over, you forget about the insane pain and focus on the good that came out of it. If you didn’t develop ‘pain amnesia’, I bet there would be a lot of one-time marathoners and only children out there in the world. I only hope that the post-amnesia motivation is slightly different for the two – the goal for having a second child should not be “I think I can do better.” I know my parents could not have been thinking that