Friday, May 4, 2012

2012 OKC Memorial Marathon

Finding joy in the little things at Sunday's marathon: 1) I picked a pink poppy at mile 17 and finished with it (it makes a nice pressed bookmark) and 2) Around mile 22 I grabbed two chocolates, carrying and dropping them several times, but finished with them all to earn the satisfaction of my boys excitement when they received them (even though they were melted).
No PR today for ME. Sunday I ran as "Colleen Winn", 1st time marathoner. Mrs. Winn, my friend, I hope you are happy with YOUR PR  (pictured here with my good friend, Mr. H, after his first marathon)
As many others do, I see such spiritual parallels in running a race. I feel "small" on race day. On Sunday, I was just ONE runner, swimming in the midst of 27,000 runners. I draw a great deal of strength from God on race day. My training (or lack thereof) varies with each race, and I'm always a little curious as to how this old body will hold up.  In pushing myself, I re-establish an understanding of the frailty of the flesh. I am reminded of God's grace and thankful for his protection.I find myself praying through pain (or even before it comes). I LOVE that closeness..and the vulnerability in realizing that God strengthens me in my times of weakness. I was anxious with anticipation for that experience last Sunday.

Despite NOT training properly for the race due to circumstances outside of my control, the week leading up to the race was filled with rest, mobility exercises, and stretching. These three things are neglected aspects of my training, and I was determined to incorporate them into my marathon preparation. My friend and neighbor, Sarah, also came over the night before to massage my legs. Now THAT was an effective treat! Although pain DID come during the race, it was minimal.
Around mile 6, I felt slight pain in my knees. By mile 13, my left leg and foot began having the "pins and needles" feeling. After about a mile of running through it, I was able to shed that sensation. At mile 17, my right calf muscle cramped up, and at mile 23, my right vastis medialis (teardrop muscle) knotted up quite visibly and stayed that way until I completed the race. Despite THESE slight pains, of which I was happy to run through, the pain that I was most worried about was the sciatica (tingling, numbness,weakness that starts in my lower back and travels downward through my bottom and down through the back of my leg) that usually hits me around mile 17. This pain NEVER came. I was so relieved and so thankful for THAT. What encouragement it brought to not suffer the pain I was most afraid of on that day!  I was just so thankful to have a body that could do it. What a blessing! Pain was minimal...and the fun and enjoyment of the race was in the forefront of my mind.
yes, this is an official race
photo I DO NOT plan to
I purposed to run this race SMILING. What a difference I do believe it made!  Never was the race grievous, as I was working to the best of my ability to remain positive and uplifted. I was LOOKING for things that made me smile...and then to share (via Twitter, as ridiculous as it was). I made a conscious effort to smile the entire time, make eye contact with others, wave at children, give high-fives and just drink it in. I can't explain how much fun that was. I found humor in little things on Sunday. For instance: the liquor stand that was set up outside a residence, a few miles into the race. They were MAKING DRINKS for the runners. The man running next to me said, "how stupid." I told him that was merely a method of sabotage and eliminating the less committed. :) And then there was the guy giving "high fives for free" around NW Expressway. I saw him, beaming with a huge smile and outstretched HAND. I held up TWO hands. I laughed for about a mile after he gave me TWO fives, because I realized he had a rubber glove on his ONE hand he was USING to give high- fives. Oops. I made him contaminate his other hand. That moment kept me smiling for at least 800 meters. There were small children along the way, distracted, carefree, dancing around their spectating parents, oblivious to the magnitude of the event. It reminded me of my own boys; and I LOVED it. I was entertained by entertainers, inspired by other runners, thankful for all the race volunteers and their support efforts, and motivated by the thought of FINISHING the race, MEETING the challenge, and ACCOMPLISHING my goal.

Thanks, Twitter, for the outlet.
Tweeting was a worthwhile
distraction in this occasion.
The last few moments of a race are intense. It's a culmination of emotion, pain, discomfort and fulfillment. There's only ONE thing that I compare my marathon experiences to...CHILDBIRTH. It's the intense labor that is involved in those miles; it's the emotion that is built in the anticipation of the race...and of it's completion; it's the personal reward that comes from enduring with strength, praying for deliverance and strength the entire way... Upon seeing the Finish line, a wave of emotion swept over me. I truly tried to suppress the tears, but that, combined with the exertion from my final sprint, nearly caused hyperventilation. As I ran in, I doggedly looked through the crowds of people for my husband and my children. Upon making eye contact with my husband and giving him a "thumbs-up" I switched my focal point to that finish banner and swiftly ran to cross under it.

After four marathons, to echo my sentiments from last time: "I STILL LOVE (and maybe a little more) the adrenaline-packed, sweat-filled, pain-free (ha!), I-love-running-and-won't-stop 26.2-miles of a marathon race"! This had definitely been the most fun and easiest marathon I'd ever run.

Despite the slower finish time (4:18), it was only 11 minutes behind my personal best and 18 minutes FASTER than my first marathon. I'm satisfied with my time. But I'm ecstatic with the ease and sheer enjoyment with which I ran.
I wouldn't recommend to anyone else NOT training for this race (see part 1: ). But somehow, it worked out okay for me this time. I'm so glad I followed through with my commitment; it was my best marathon ever...out of four.

direct link to slideshow

"If you want to win, run a 10K...if you want to EXPERIENCE, run a MARATHON."


Laskey said...

Great job Christy! If you are interested there is a race in Tulsa in November that I am thinking of doing. (The Tulsa Tatur 50K)

the Mrs. said...

Thanks, Laskey. Funny story: my first "run-in" with the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon lead to my ACCIDENTALLY completing nearly 50k. Got a little turned around, but finished the race:

(part one)

(part two)

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