This is just the summary of doing two separate full marathons in the same weekend. The race recaps will be different and posted for each race. Because the races were good and deserve some focus.
That totals to 52.4 miles over two days.
I came out with a combined time of 9hrs10min34seconds.
Doing 2 races in 2 days gave me a lot of insights and taught me some important ingredients for a long and happy running life.
Both races were good in their own way, just as the weather from one day to the next presented it’s own challenge.
I completed both marathons (WHOOHOO!).
No one doubted me….except for me.
I was the only person out of anyone who heard I was doing this that was certain that I would not do both. And I was even more certain as I was hobbling off the finish line of day one, aching badly in the hamstring and hips.
I had to remind myself throughout the first one that my time didn’t matter because I would be doing an “ultra”, not just a marathon. I didn’t want to blow myself up getting a good time on the first one, and leave myself devastated trying to do the second one.
My first race was tough. It felt like it was taking so much energy to maintain the 9:30-45ish pace we were holding from the start. Then, from mile 18 through 25, the miles felt so long! A little insult to the drag of miles toward the end was, although it was drizzling and raining throughout the race, during the last three miles, it became an utter downpour (That ended when I hit the finish line…). This, along with the pangs of hurt that were making me hobble off the finish line, had me convinced that marathon #2 would be a non-starter. I went to bed, positive, that I was not going to wake up and go. “May is a big month for races“, I reasoned with myself, “I could find a different one.”
Where the first marathon felt like a struggle, the second one, despite utter failings and fuck-ups with my pre-race morning that had me feeling devastated, felt so good! None of my injuries from the previous race even remotely bothered me on this one. In fact! I made it to mile 18 before something did start to hurt.
“I am excited about this weekend! And a little bit terrified. I have no idea what I’m doing and the friends who take this journey with me are all madmen and women. This. This will be an experience!”- I posted this comment the night before, along with a photo of two of my fellow doublers cracking up hysterically at dinner. I was right that leaning on my group of fellow crazies would be what carried me through this thing.
Also. We determined that the Derby course outline looked like a penis. Granted, a knobby, thin one, but it gave us endless entertainment at dinner and throughout the race as we saw the race shirts (which included a picture of the course) and then, even medal…. The jokes just …. Write themselves.
After these two races, I have proof that crowd support is a real game-changer, and that I do perform so much better in races that have it.
My friends are so very badass. Being around with them to see their finishes or to see them on the course and to run with them and hear about their individual experiences during this whole weekend endeavor is inspiring. And I did what they did! I’m way more proud of all of them than of myself. Maybe that’s messed up, but it’s true. These runners are amazing.
After the second marathon, I found that despite my great achievement, I still found something to be disappointed in myself about.
“I can’t help but be upset about my time.” I mumbled to my husband as we made our way out of the race crowds and toward the chosen burger / beer joint.
“What?! You’re shitting me! That was amazing! You’re amazing!” He cried.
“I’m glad I was able to do it. But I can’t help but be upset. If I could have just kept up like I was during the first half…if the wheels hadn’t fallen off… my time would’ve been really great!”
My husband stared at me in shock a moment, then grabbed my shoulders to say, slowly, “Did you forget that you ran a marathon yesterday? Don’t you remember that you were the one thinking that everything was going to be bad from the start today? You say the wheels came off, but I recall other races that went a hell of a lot worse for you when ‘the wheels came off’. Now. Shut up and be happy about it.”
– Even when you complete something that you were pretty sure you could never do without breaking into a billion pieces, you still, as a runner, end up immediately thinking, “Damn. I could have done better“. Even when, at the time, you were completely wiped out.
Races that you travel to, whether near or far, with a group of your running friends will ALWAYS create the best memories. For example, at dinner the night before race #1, four of us sat at dinner laughing so very, very hard about shared memories from a previous race that we all traveled to together: About a long, sleepless night in a room full of cots and runners, someone snoring to wake the dead, another friend following people in to the bathrooms to hand them ear plugs, and the mind-blowing discovery that if you accidentally packed two right-footed toe socks, you simply have to turn one inside out to make it a lefty. We were in tears from laughing so hard. And the laughter from that moment, gave us more to laugh about as the run got hard the next day.
I, personally, learned that no matter the FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition) that your morning ritual before a big race becomes, you can still end up pulling off a really great run…if you decide to chill out.
On my second race morning, I had so much go wrong – including forgetting my water bottle (which contained my electrolyte replacement stuff…since I can’t stomach Gatorade, and proved to be very necessary, as race day became sunny and humid), I also forgot a couple other things, I couldn’t find my friends at the start, and I didn’t lube against potential chaffing. A serious mistake, especially given that we expected a pretty bad downpour for that race.
Instead, I learned to chill out. I ran a comfortable pace, cheered back at the crowd, walked all the water stops, sat in the VIP couch at mile 13 to toast “half-way there” and chug a small cup of beer, had three dance-offs (one against an “old-school” batman), and I had a BLAST.
Sometimes a race should be about how fast you can go. Other times, it should be about how much fun you have.
I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t do two marathons in the same weekend again. I really enjoyed myself (Despite the not enjoying myself in the last quarter of marathon 1 this time around). I would say that I would not do it alone. This weekend would’ve gone differently for me, for sure, if I hadn’t had my buddy Jim to drag my ass through the tough first marathon, and to text with me from where ever he was on the course compared to me on the second one. If I hadn’t found Dianne and Andrew while running…. If we hadn’t started out on such a great high-note of laughter and shared stories to get us hyped and ready for the adventure ahead.
I’m sore, yes. Stairs are the enemy again. But I feel great!