Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)
Finish Time: 3:45
Temp: 58 degrees
Run For: Pamela
Another weekend – another marathon, on the treadmill again! Now I know what you are thinking. Marc, what the heck is wrong with you? That is a very good question and I do have an answer, but I’m sure when you hear it you will still think I’m crazy.
Running a marathon is really hard. Running on a treadmill is extremely boring. Running a marathon on a treadmill is extremely boring and really hard. So why do it? My answer.. Why NOT do it?
Just because something is hard and you might not feel excited to do, why not do it and see how it feels when it’s done? Stop putting off the hard things and start tackling them head on, change the narrative. Treadmill running is pretty boring, but what if you go into it telling yourself, it’s not that bad and it can be something epic. My motto for this year is just that, DO HARD THINGS, even if you don’t really want to.
I am going to make it a goal, to do things others wouldn’t want to do, and then I’m going to take it up a notch. Run an entire marathon on the treadmill? Yes, and then I’m going to do it again, a week later! It will be hard and it will be boring.. so what!
You read in the previous marathon’s recap how the last one went so let’s talk about this one. Mentally, I thought I was ready to run, but at mile 2, things changed and I couldn’t help but think about the task at hand, the seemingly high volume of mileage still to cover. I needed a strategy and one I usually implement when running marathons is breaking the distance down into more manageable chunks. It’s a trick many coaches suggest to runners regardless of the distance in the race they are running. Interestingly, depending on where I’m running the marathon (indoors or outdoors) I vary my approach to the breakdown.
Today, even though it felt daunting right at the onset, I told myself, just get to the halfway mark. Once I get to 13.1 miles I’ll take a quick break, for a snack and some electrolytes. I thought it would help mentally for myself, knowing I only had 13.1 miles left to go. This would give me a positive mental feeling and wouldn’t make the marathon distance feel so daunting. From there, the next thought was to focus on doing just 3 more miles. Hitting 16 miles would mean only 10 mile left to go and I always get a positive lift when I know I have single digit miles remaining in the race. This is always something I’ve focused on when running every marathon I’ve done, so I continue to use it to this day.
From there, once I get to mile 16 I start to focus on hitting mile 20, also commonly known as the part of the marathon known as “the wall.” One strategy I always use when getting to the 20 mile mark, is no matter how I feel, I make sure to gather myself and run strong right through mile 20. I refuse to let myself hit any wall or use this spot in the marathon as some sort of imaginary line that I have to struggle to get past. Change the narrative, there is no wall here and there is nothing special about this mile marker in the marathon. I refuse to give this some sort of magical power that automatically drains my energy and forces me to stop or feel defeated.
The mindset – no walls to hit here and the only line I’m focused on crossing is that finish line, period!
Typically, after I hit the 20 mile marker, I break down the distant remaining into 2 mile chunks. I can run 2 miles and all I have to focus on is 2 easy miles at a time, 22.. 24.. 26, that’s all I have left and I can do this. The mantra I repeated today at multiple points was “I feel good, this feels good.”
Like any endurance event, there will always be pain. I was expecting a bit of pain to surface at some point and my strategy for dealing with it was the following: acknowledge the pain, be with it and know it will pass. If it doesn’t, well, just finish anyways. If it doesn’t want to subside, it can come along for the ride.
Oddly enough the only real pain, or discomfort I dealt with today was with my right shoulder. It started getting sore around mile 10 and lasted until I took that break at the halfway point. It subsided once I started running again, but gradually became annoying again around mile 17 which then lasted until I finished. During that last stretch the soreness came and went in waves, but it was really more aggravating than anything else. I just focused on keeping good form and like I mentioned before, I allowed it to be there and if it wanted to come along for the ride to the finish, so be it.
Today’s marathon was run for Pamela, who I’ve now known for many years, having met her through Team Challenge. She has been involved with the foundation through multiple events over the years taking part in a number of the different programs. She’s done half marathons, cycle events, walking events and even spinning events. The best part is that she hasn’t done all these alone. She’s participated along with her mom, dad and brother all joining in and fundraising as well, truly making it a family endeavor. Just the other day she joked that I have been a coach to her entire family during their time participating.
Her story is proof that she isn’t in this fight alone. She has her entire family fighting alongside her, and she has her TC family right there on the other side as well. It’s a team effort, doing all of this together, supporting those who battle Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
Pamela, it’s an honor to run for you and to have met and coached your entire family. You are the true definition of an IBD warrior and you are a hero to me and many others, I’m sure of it.
Running on a treadmill for 26.2 miles is nothing compared to the journey you’ve been on. I do crazy things like this to help bring attention to these diseases, but you sharing your story helps raise the most awareness which is going to help get the cures we need. I appreciate all you do for the foundation and I’m happy to be in this fight with you, no matter how long it takes.
Thank you again for all you do and for allowing me to share your story and run a marathon for you. This 26.2 was for you Pamela!