Let me preface this that my running partner was a rock on this race. She held up with smiles and support for me the entire course in spite of me getting more than a little snappish. I was so inwardly focused dealing with the race in the mid part and the pain in the latter part that any intrusions into my focus were the sand in the oyster problem, i.e. irritations. And no pearls resulted.
But that’s one of the good things about our duo is so far when one or other of us gets mentally out of shape the other not only manages to put up with it without smacking the person they manage to pull them out of it. What’s going to happen when we both get into a bad headspace remains to be seen but I think it’ll be fine.
The Little Rock Marathon 2018 has come and gone and we survived although to be honestly I was seriously starting to question what injury I might have been doing to my body starting around the time we were coming down that ridiculously long hill between miles 13 and 17. I’ve already suffered one case of Rhabdomyolysis so far in my running career and that 4 miles(ish) of grinding uphill had me feeling the same muscle damage and pain in the kidney region on this run.
So on top of what was turning into pretty excruciating pain with every step, especially when I ‘changed gears’ i.e. shifted from run to walk and walk to run, I had the concern of actually dying from potential kidney failure, or of at least inflicting additional kidney damage onto myself and that stuff doesn’t heal well or at all. The damage tends to be cumulative.
But… I’ve not always done what’s right and I pushed through each bolt of pain as I moved each leg forward and back. After we came down from the hills and hit the river walk flats I knew from driving the course that I had a few miles of flat to recover and the next two hills were steep but short and the grade into the finish line was a shallow climb. And between you and me there wasn’t a chance I wasn’t going to finish that race if I had to crawl to the finish line peeing blood the whole way.
In the end we were on pace or ahead of pace all the way to the top of those hills, another mistake; I should have slowed down knowing I had miles of hills to go up but I was focused on breaking 5 hours for our first marathon. And pushing hard uphill cost us big time in time as we finished in 5:30 and a few seconds.
Based on my energy levels and general physical state I believe we could have broken 5:00, perhaps not easily but doable, but the long climb did me in. At no point was I feel fatigued or out of energy
The Marathon as a race was well done, well supported although the back half wasn’t quite as well supported as the front half but it was good enough. Support was good and *gasp* they didn’t do something stupid like prevent us from wearing hydration vests like the OKC Memorial Marathon has recently announced, now that most people have already paid their non-refundable entry fees. Yes that pisses me off and no I won’t be running the OKC Memorial Marathon races again.
We ran the 5K the day before which though was more of a pain. They didn’t enforce corrals and we were in our corral and the first several minutes of the race was literally weaving and waiting our way through walkers and strollers. It cost us too much time just breaking free to have a chance at a PR which was disappointing. One thing I’ve always done is put myself in the queues about where I think I’m going to finish. I’m not asking others to do it, just be aware if you’re planning on walking a race then perhaps in the front of the race queues may cause other runners inconvenience.
As with every time we push ourselves and go for a new record race we try to learn something from it and we find out if we’ve reached our limits. I’m happy to say yes I’ve learned it may be best to give up some time on a really hard section of the race to avoid losing more time later on due to damage/injury. And I’ve learned I can push through a whole lot of pain for a long time frame and keep moving forward. I already knew that but it helps to have it reaffirmed.
So no, a marathon is not my limit. Not even close.
As usual I’d like to give a shout out for all the volunteers who man the registration, aid stations, recovery tents, whatever. Without you people these races wouldn’t be possible in a safe manner and quite literally you potentially save lives with each race through the support you give.
I recorded some footage of the race with my GoPro but not as much as I might like. The route was for the most part boring in terms of scenery and there just wasn’t much to talk about. And latter on it was all I could to do to keep moving forward at more than a shuffle. But if it’s not too horrible I’ll post it.