Marine Corps Marathon 2018 vs 2013 – Attitude is Everything In Life

I am sitting here at my computer, and I can tell you, I am glad that I am because my legs are sore. Getting up and walking around is rather entertaining at this point. My calves and quads are screaming but I have a content smile on my face.

I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, the People’s Marathon, yesterday with two great friends. One finished her fourth Marine Corps Marathon and the first time after a knee replacement, while the other just started running and kicked butt in her very first race and 10k.

Both have come a long way. The recovery from knee replacement is not linear, like any injury recovery. “Melinda” as you may know her from my blog post about her knee replacement recovery is up and “running” today doing some sightseeing. She had finished the race in under 6 hours which was one of her goals. She was not in pain, even though she said she would never sign up for another marathon as she walked away from the finish line, and have heard that many times…from her…lol. I am so proud of her, what a wonderful accomplishment.

My other friend, Suzie,  hated running. She despised it for 42 years (she’s 42), and certainly never wanted to do it other than to run away from something dangerous :).  I had mentioned to her that I had signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon and asked if she wanted to come and check it out. Come to find out she hates being a spectator, and I suggested why not do the 10k. In the spur of the moment, she signed up and I was floored. Over the next 7 months, she followed a training plan I created for her that would ease her into running, and I constantly reminded her to have fun, to focus on enjoying the runs. After studying her early form, we realized she hated running because her form was so bad that she hurt constantly. Now she has admitted she has come to like running. Learning how to run properly made a big difference for her and the focus on enjoying it. She did her first race ever and ran it in under an hour.

Now to my race. I am a dad, I have a family, travel a lot to be with my family and have not nearly as much time as in 2013 or prior. I cannot and most importantly do not wa

nt to commit to 20 mile runs on the weekend. I run only 3 days a week, I feel my body does best with running that little and I prefer to lift weights and do martial arts to complement my fitness.

I am telling you this because I want to make it clear that none of the people involved in this story are elites, we are normal people who enjoy running, fitness and being healthy.

Melinda had shown me a newer training method from the Netherlands that relied on much shorter training runs, with 9 miles at the most, to get ready for a Marathon. I was really skeptical but willing to try it. The claim was that it was designed to help runners who run between 3-5 hour marathons. My fastest marathon had been 3:20 hours but that was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013. We were now 5 years later and I had not been running nearly as much. I usually do intervals on Tuesdays and including warm up and cool down and end up at around 6 miles. On Thursdays, I run around 7 to 8 miles as a tempo run. If I do not have my youngest son, I do my long runs on Saturdays and run anywhere between 9-14 miles tops. My total mileage average is about 23 miles per week. That is very little compared to most runners and frowned upon if you are running a full marathon distance. I was overhearing people at the race running 70 miles a week. Bear in mind that I was able to hear them talk because I was running at the same pace as they were.

Runners are notorious for getting injured – 90% of runners get hurt. I have been a running coach for about 8 to 9 years and I can tell you that people are obsessed with their training plans when most should be obsessed with the way they run. 

The short story is that I finished the race in 3:35 hours despite little training mileage, having diarrhea before and during the race, having a potty break and leg cramps at mile 21. I am ecstatic and sore today, and that is fine by me. I always give everything I have in a race.

What is really important though, is that I loved the race. I loved the runners, the spectators, the support, everything. In 2013 I hated it, I hated life at mile marker 3. I just wanted to go home. Even though my race was slower yesterday, I stopped being obsessed with being faster and accomplishing some silly time goal, instead I made it my primary focus to enjoy myself and support other runners, so if you ran it and you saw a crazy maniac yelling out supportive comments to you and others, that might have been me.

Conclusion

You may have learned that

  1. Despite my blog post feeling like a rant, the conclusion is simple. You have three normal people here who have done something that you might not like and say you never would do. Just like in my story though, maybe it is time to stop saying never and step outside of your comfort zone. You don’t know what you might be missing. Just like my friend who started running despite hating it (btw, she already signed up for her next race…the day after this first 10l). Find something that is a little bit out of reach for you and try it.
  2. You are able to do something even though you think is impossible like having an active lifestyle after joint replacement surgery and feeling good doing it.
  3. Doing more is not always better and that giving your body the rest it needs and giving it quality workouts might be more important than volume.
  4. That attitude matters, that focusing on an end goal can rob you of the experience during the process and that the success is shallow afterward because it only lasts until your next end goal.

 

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