Thursday, November 4, 2010

Completing Number Three

As I am now four days post the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon, the soreness in the lower half of my body has finally subsided. Though I feel I did not "hit the wall" in the purest sense, the last few miles of the race were quite painful. Running experts will tell you the soreness in the lower extremities sometimes lasts up to a week. My very limited experience is mixed.

My first marathon was completed in Huntsville, AL in December of 2007. To say I hit the wall in that race would be a major understatement. The following week was quite uncomfortable as my legs ached from the lactic acid as it slowly worked its way out. But the longer term injury was what affected me most profoundly. My feet were completely worn out. My podiatrist recommended I not run for two or three months to let them recover. I only slightly obliged him.

My second marathon was again completed in Huntsville, AL two years later with drastically different results. Owed to superior training, I knocked 50 minutes off of my time and crossed the finish line feeling like I could do more. There was no wall to hit in that race and I convinced myself of the merits of logging more miles and increasing speed work. Unfortunately, a painful lower back sent me to therapy where my therapist suggested I not run for 6-8 weeks. So, once again, I spent January and February in rehabilitation mode.

A year later, I find myself analyzing my performance in the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon and making decisions about what to do next. The reference to muscle soreness does belie the fact that the race was unkind to me. Though I felt my training was quite adequate, something happened to my legs along the streets of D.C. It could have been the early miles of the race that undulated through the hills of eastern Virginia. It could have been dehydration as I unintentionally eschewed water along the course. Or, it could have been my running style that put demands on my legs that are unnatural. Either way, the last few mile split times illustrated how slowly I finished. Good news is forthcoming, however, because this time I have managed to emerge from the racing aftermath with no real injuries. I feel like I am primed to get right back on the streets and plan for the next challenge.

My reason for attempting this marathon was really two-fold. As most runners will attest, the sense of accomplishment at finishing an event like this is all the reason one would need. This year I had the opportunity to participate with a group of runners who, by virtue of participating in MCM, collectively raised over $40,000 in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. Being part of a family that suffers from the effects of the disease has motivated me to become more activist. The opportunity to raise money to fight Alzheimer's presented me the avenue on which to actively do a small part in the fight.

So my larger motivation for doing Marine Corps Marathon has resulted in a personal achievement of $2,000 raised. The achievement was certainly a joint effort; my physical exertion and my supporters' financial backing. I want to thank each one of them again for believing I could conquer the challenge. Their faith in me and willingness to contribute have made this a successful venture. I proudly proclaim this marathon experience to be a huge success. I proudly record marathon number three as a race to be remembered.