I can’t believe it has already been a week since I ran my 7th marathon. I feel like a lifetime has happened since last Sunday. Last weekend was a whirlwind, but it was a much needed getaway. Even if I could discuss the nightmare that is my job right now, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I halfheartedly tried to quit this week, but my boss refused to accept my verbal resignation. I wouldn’t really do that to her or to my team. She told me that because all of the issues are completely out of my control I need to let go of my personal expectations and high quality of work. It’s difficult to do for me, but after talking with my boss it helped me to slow down a little bit and not stress as much about how backed up I am. This is a statewide problem that is affecting all of the nursing team.
Back to the weekend…M and I got up to New Hampshire in the early afternoon. I picked up my race packet at Millennium Running Store. Not five minutes from packet pick up on the same road was LaBelle Winery. We did a wine tasting and enjoyed some of the wineries unique wines like Cranberry, Virginia Mae Sweet Blueberry, Spiced Pear, and Harvest Apple. I am not a wine connoisseur and I enjoy wine on the sweeter side. These were fun wines, not overly sweet, but light and refreshing. After our 10 tastes we had a delicious lunch in the winery’s cafe. I left with a bottle of the Spiced Pear and the Gerwurtzaminer.
We relaxed at the hotel. It was nice to have absolutely nothing to do. I left my work computer at home, and I vowed not to do any school work. Since we ate a late lunch we didn’t venture out to dinner until about 8pm and I wasn’t the only in search of pasta at Fratello’s Italian Grill. There was an hour wait so we sat at the bar and had a glass of wine. I haven’t done anything like this in a very long time. I would miss Carlos and Orlando at the finish, but they attended fall clean up at Carlos’ school and they were in need of boys only weekend. My bowl of pasta was perfect. Then us wild women went back to the hotel and got ready for bed!
I didn’t sleep great because I was worried the time change would somehow screw up my alarm. The marathon has a late start at 8:50AM. The weather was gorgeous for early November in New Hampshire. It was a relatively small crowd especially in comparison to my last marathon.
There were eventually a few more people at the start! I have never run two marathons so close together. My training for the last few weeks since Chicago was not heavy in mileage because I opted for extra hill work due to the course in Manchester. I was a little nervous at the start, but I quickly settled into a nice steady pace telling myself it was just a long run with new scenery.
This marathon course is the complete opposite of Chicago. It’s a very hilly mix of road, trail, and bike path. The foliage is fading fast in New England, but it was still a beautiful sight to see in many places along the course.
Just as I came upon the halfway marker the weather got a little cooler and breezy. We had to run past the finish line for the first time. It’s a mix of emotions when you run a full that also has a half and you run by people finishing their race knowing you are only half done.
I have an affinity for running over bridges and this course did not disappoint. It was a quiet race in contrast to the 1.7 million spectators that lined the Chicago course. I took in the scenery and did a lot of thinking. I was practically alone for long stretches.
I had an internal conversation going on throughout the first 15 miles about how magical it would be if I could will myself into feeling that great until the end of the race, but by mile 16 there were twinges, mile 17 the aches started to creep in, mile 18 my feet were screaming at me, mile 19 mental math begins to fail me as I try to add up how much longer I need to run, mile 20 I just want this to be over because my legs hurt, mile 21 I can hear my yoga instructor in my head telling me to unclench my toes and breathe into the pain, mile 22 breathing breathing breathing, mile 23 I got this, I can do this, mile 24 I’m running my 7th marathon what?!! wait we have to go up that huge hill we already climbed at mile 4.5 well that’s just cruel, mile 25 hey it’s the finish line and I have to run right by it for the second time, back over that bridge we already ran over around mile 5 and back the other way, oh not another hill, that’s it I want this done…as though a mighty wind blew from behind suddenly my legs took on a life of their own and I ran as hard as I could for those last two tenths of a mile. Mile 26.2 tears!
4:45:53 was my official time. I am not at all disappointed with this time given the challenging nature of the course. I really didn’t have a time goal in mind for this race. I was meant to do this race with my friend M as her first full marathon. She was injured very early on in our training. She is still injured. I contemplated dropping out of the race, but I am so glad I didn’t. M was gracious enough to join me and cheer me on, and we enjoyed a fun weekend getaway. I can’t wait until she is healed and ready to run with me again.
This year has been all about learning to run with new friends after years of solo running. I have done more trail running this year. It is great charting new routes in different places. It is motivating to have a friend who will meet me at 5AM and run with headlamps and LED shoe lights. It’s fun to go for a run and then out to coffee. My two running friends are not competitive or concerned about pace. We have proved over the course of long runs that there is no shortage of conversation. I am grateful for a wonderful, healthy year of running. I have some new goals in mind for 2017 including running the Big Sur Marathon in April. 2016 isn’t quite over. There is still some time to enjoy more early morning runs and maybe a race or two before the new year.