Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Will to Prepare

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner

I look a little giddy don't I. I think it's just lack of oxygen from my run.



I finished my last 20 miler on Sunday. That’s me after I had mopped the sweat off my face and changed into a clean shirt; my running shirt was covered in sweat, gel, and other things. It’s a good thing that you can’t smell me through the picture, you all would be dropping like flies right now. My daughter could barely stand to take the picture. I showered recovered and finally downed a recovery “Mighty Arrow” beer and lunch. The thought crossed my mind to cut back on the beer until after my marathon. Nah.

Anyway, back to my 20 miler. It was tough and came at the end of a tough week of training AND work. At the 14 mile mark, I pretty much hit the wall. I had been holding onto my race pace for awhile now and my legs felt good, but I was just exhausted both mentally and physically and a well just broke and I started to cry. I sat down and called my husband to tell him how tired I was.

“Well, what are you going to do?” He gently asked.

The thought hadn’t yet crossed my mind that I could just quit. I could. No more pain, no more aches, I could just walk away and say DONE. I thought about it. Then I thought of all I had been through in the last 6 months. I thought of all those times where I had pictured me crossing the finish line in the San Antonio Marathon and the fact that I never got the chance to do it. I pictured the words that my coach had put onto my schedule: “This is your last 20 miler before the race Tara! Make it count!” Quitting would be too easy, I haven’t come this far to walk away now.

I replied to him:

“Well hell…..I’m not going to quit, I’m just going to keep plugging away until I’m done. I’ll call you with an update later.”

Make it count. Yup, I managed to hold onto my race pace and I finished in 3 hours. It was tough, but I have a feeling that my first marathon will be even tougher, so it was good mental practice.

17 days to go. It’s all in the bank now and I’m into the taper. Oh man, does taper sound good right now. The scary thing to me is, I have NO idea what to expect from the marathon.

27 comments:

KK @ Running Through Life said...

Super big congrats for finishing your 20 miler! Awesome job!!!!!! And look at what you accomplished...you pushed through the pain, aches, mental and physical wall, etc! Let the countdown begin for your marathon!!!!!!!

Jamoosh said...

A "recovery beer" - I am so proud of you. Sniff...

Congrats on that big 20!

Julie said...

Hi Tara,
Oh Chica, hang in there!! You did awesome with finishing your 20 miles!! Sometimes it just sucks when your brain just wants to stop!! I have hit the wall a few times too and know what you mean! Tara, make it count!! You can do this...you can totally do this!! Remember, you are my bad ass Colorado runner friend:) Chin up, smile on face and positive attitude!!

BTW: How come you look so flipping damn good after a freaking 20 mile run?? Have a good one Tara!!

saundra said...

Way to get. it. done, Tara! And no! Never consider giving up the beer!

Jamie said...

Only 1 recovery beer? You must not give up the beer :)

Nice job staying strong and finishing a tough 20!!!

Lauren said...

Wow great job gettin that done! Have fun in your marathon you earned it!

Slomohusky said...

You will eat up this Marathon! Great 20 miler! Your supposed to feel like crap after a 20 mile trainer. You just ran 20 miles! :)
Keep it up! Cheers!

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES said...

Great job working through the 20 miler! You look fab in that picture!

Jill said...

Your drive and determination to get it done has truly been one of the things I love most about you (and your ability to make me laugh while swimming laps with me, too ;) ). You will never quit, it's not in your vocab and you're going to rock that marathon right out of the river you'll be running next to, I have no doubts! You're smart, you're strong, you're a killer athlete - now it's time to taper, get in the good carbs, and get this sucker checked off with an AWESOME time! I'm so proud to call you my friend :). HUGS!!!

ShutUpandRun said...

Yep you know I get it! The urge to quit can be very strong, but the point is you didn't. And kudos to husband for bringing you a Gatorade. Sometimes it is the little things that keep us going. During my track workout yesterday at my son's school I so wanted to quit. On my last 800 he came outside with some of his friends and started waving a cheering me on. Totally gave me that boost. I am terrified of the marathon. I know it will pass, but right now I'm afraid to fail and to suffer...great job on the 20 miler.

Jesse said...

Congrats on getting that 20 done, despite the rough week. I can't wait to read the marathon race report - I've been waiting six months to see one on this blog!

Anne said...

Great job on the 20 miler!! You totally made it count...you will rock this marathon, because you know what it takes when the going gets tough!

Recovery beer sounds like such a good idea...I am so trying that this weekend :)

Molly said...

Yup, definitely giddy looking.

Way to go breaking through that wall, especially by keeping up with your race pace!

With the attitude you have about not quitting, and keeping at it, I think you're going to nail it at the marathon.

Enjoy that taper Girl!

SeeGirlRun said...

Oh WOW!!!! Way to go woman! Congrats on completing the 20 miles and every bigger congrats on your determination and perseverance. You are amazing and your marathon is going to be amazing, too. Enjoy your beer - you've earned it!!!

Laura

Anna said...

Congrats on finishing the 20 miler... it's a huge accomplishment, physically and mentally. I have been there - in fact, this post and the one Beth put up yesterday really came at the right time. I'm about to hit the peak of my training over the next few weeks and it's scary and exciting at the same time.

Katie said...

Nice job hanging tough! And less than 3 weeks to go! I find tapering hard. I think it's because I get so excited about the race I lots of nervous energy that I don't get burn.

ajh said...

Good job hanging in there. Is this your first marathon? There is nothing like it! It's amazing how much easier it is with race day excitement and crowds. Notice I said easier not easy. If it was easy a lot more people would run them.

HappyTrails said...

GREAT job on finishing your 20 miler in spite of wanting to throw in the towel. That mental victory will come in handy in future events when the going gets tough - now you know you can push through and do it! Keep up the great attitude - and yes, like others have mentioned - you look too good after such a hard effort - you probably should have added on a few more miles! ;-)

misszippy said...

That's awesome that you pushed through it. You definitely should take away some confidence from that--it's exactly what you need to push through your marathon! Now start kicking back and enjoy the taper.

Marathonman101108 said...

I had forgotten that you had your first marathon coming up. WARNING: "Taper madness" is worse than running the marathon. You'll see. You had the willpower to finish your 20 miler. That same willpower will help you complete the marathon. By the way, judging by your pic you may be the only marathon runner who manages to still look good at the finish line. We shall see...Oh, and having a beer or two is strongly recommended.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Great pic and great post. It's inspiring to see you push through and finish it. Yeah, the taper is the worst. Maybe it will be ok for you.

Did I tell you I have a friend from Colorado Springs running the half at Ft. Collins. Wish I could join both of you.

Tara said...

Awww...shucks. You guys are waay too sweet. Thanks for the support! And don't worry, I'll keep on drinking that beer!

Char said...

You're tough. The easy thing would have been to quit. Well done on not taking the easy way out.

ultrarunnerbrianphilpot said...

Good job! Things seem too be going good, I don't take my iPhone most of the time.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

Is it awful that I don't take a phone just so I can't call and quit? Some days are hard, but I believe those are the ones that show us what we are made of and girl you are made of some strong stuff with everything you've gone through!

Erin said...

Go YOU! Way to suck it up and finish that 20-miler like a champ. It's tough, hitting that wall and wanting nothing more than to stop/walk/go drink a beer. But you're tough and you're going to dominate that marathon without a doubt. Truth is, the last 6.2 miles are gonna hurt like hell, regardless of how great the first 20 go :) They did for me on my first marathon, at least. Congrats, it's all downhill from here till the big day! Taper madness!

kristen said...

Way to stick it out. That's really what marathoning is all about. Longevity and serious drive.

The first marathon isn't scary....it's the second one because now you have higher expectations *and* know what mile 22 feels like :)the first is all about completion. The second is all about being better than the first.