It has been just over a month since I ran the California International Marathon. The more time I spend reflecting on CIM the more I am so proud of it. It did not feel like a particularly special day and everything ‘clicked’ I just felt strong and confident.
What was different?
Well my training was significantly different. At times this made me question it. But in the end it was a blessing in disguise as I could not compare my current self with my previous to injured self. My approach to training was also different. The rest of my life was so busy during the training cycle I had no time to overthink any of my own training. It became literally #justdoit and move on. My mileage over the year was significantly down as well. My first run of 2019 was January 10 and it was 10mins long. So needless to say this was probably the least I have run leading in to a marathon.
The other aspect that was different was my mindset. In hindsight it was almost as if I did not care, which sounds terrible. And saying that seems wrong, of course I care but for the first time this year I feel as though I have been able to separate myself from running in order to allow me to run my best. Also shout out to The Happy Runner that I read as I was coming back from injury. It emphasizes the importance of enjoying the process, I always enjoy running but getting some different perspective on it really helped.
Maybe it is all the other things I have going on, maybe it is coming back form injury or maybe I have finally gained a more mature approach to this whole running thing.
Of course, it was not all sunshine and butterflies, it never is and if it is maybe you are not pushing yourself hard enough. I do think I got close to a breaking point at around 4 weeks to go. I was feeling almost burnt out. Which made sense I was training hard and working A LOT which meant not sleeping much (5-6hrs/night). There is so much research around the importance of sleep from a performance and good health standpoint. SO, I made the point to be in bed for minimum of 8hrs/night and sleeping in on the weekends (benefit of a late marathon). Had I not done this I think I would have really risked burning out or getting injured. I hope this is a step in the right direction of being a smarter and more self-aware athlete. My hamstring continued to be present, not anything that effected my training but something I had to constantly be working on and staying on top of getting supportive treatment.
I also had a mentally challenging week where I got very afraid of literally breaking myself. It was around the time when my injury happened in my last training cycle. Mentally I worried that every pain was a stress fracture. But it did not last long and generally I felt quite calm throughout the training cycle.
I think I am also a lot more confident in my running. I am so proud of where I am at it is faster than I ever imagined I could be. I also do not feel as defined by it. I am a good runner I have proved it and no one can take that away from me. Previously I always ran wanting to be at the next level and running out of fear of never getting there. I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to continue to see where this can go.
When I finished the race by the time Mike got to the finish line I already felt like I had more in the tank. Which makes me super excited to get back out there.
Throughout the race I ran very what I could call calculated. When another athlete would come up to me and the pace would inevitably increase I would look at my watch and decide whether I needed to go on and if I didn’t I slowed down to my pace.
In the last 5km I remember thinking to myself ‘okay I can hurt now—goooo’. It did hurt in the last 1km but I had gotten passed by another female runner who had picked up the pace. I tried to increase my pace and did not have the legs to go and that was the most it hurt and my last 1km was still on pace. I had written in the pre-race questionnaire ‘you will probably out kick me’ when asked what my competitors should know about me. HA really put that out in the world. This was the first time when my pace did not significantly fall a part in the second half. I typically have about ~4mins positive split and this time it was 1min 11s! WOW!!!
Mind you I think the CIM course also helped with this as well. If I had of known how hilly the first half was I do not know I would have felt as confident. For the first half you are pretty much going up or down the whole time!! BUT then the second half it is flat or downhill with maybe one incline. Seeing palm trees along the way was also a great distractor. It was forgiving to say the least.
The whole experience was amazing! I was lucky to be on the elite list and actually one of the top 5 ranked women. The organizers of the race took such great care of us. I am truly so thankful for the experience.
I HIGHLY recommend this race for anyone and everyone!
I LOVE the marathon! ❤ It is such a crazy event there is literally one day you can perform at that level and when it all comes together it is priceless.
RESULT: 6th female overall in 2:36:23 (4:23 PB)