Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tucson: It wasn't about a PR....but how sweet it was!


I am finally home from Tucson and wanted to fill y'all in on how it all went.

I went into this race with absolute uncertainty how I'd perform. Stress can pull the rug right out from under you and I had my share -- add the little fact I really have a lot of pre-marathon anxiety...well, how I'd perform was just a mystery. But I got to the start line at Tucson and I decided that no matter how it all unfolded, I would use this race s a turning point in my life and the finish line time was just that - a time. Normally, I'm so afraid of where to start, where to pick up the pace, pace group or not, where to hold back....the list is extensive. The marathon is such a game of strategy and play it wrong, you pay the price at the end. Most know of that dreadful death march at the end by not playing the game correctly.

But I got a fax from a friend the night before my race. A dear friend and he told me this:

.... my wish is that this race becomes a turning point in your life. A day you discover an inner strength you never knew was within you......don't worry about setting a PR.....your running is a wonderful gift and this race should be a celebration of that. Savor every step you take Sunday.....nothing would please me more than to know you will look down at the medal around your neck and smile with pride.

He was right. This race was not about a PR or impressing others or proving to myself that I had one more marathon in me this year. This race was about a new beginning. I decided to run and not worry about anything other than giving it my all.

And all I did. Today I literally am sore in every place on my body; apparently there are body parts that can get sore that I never knew existed! I had to push with every ounce of body fiber otherwise I wouldn't feel so much pain right now!

I will write more race details and include pictures later when I have more time, so will just sum up the race as this: I have never fought so hard and felt so complete after running a marathon. After mile 9, I faced the fiercest winds I've ever encountered - EVER! I fought them head-on for 17 miles and every second of it royally sucked. As a smallish race, there was not a lot of people around me so I'd try to run up to groups or a larger male so they could block my wind. I'm sure I annoyed those around me doing this ... but I didn't care. I used every ounce of physical power I had to stay in this game. I fought like mad to not lose ground. I refused to give up and walk when I was almost in tears from this ridiculous wind. I was on course to smash my PR (3:46:13) by several minutes .... yet the wind after mile 19 was brutal and though my mental strength was screaming not to slow down, the physical demands were more than I could handle and by mile 22, I was slowing a good minute/mile.

Despite being on course to smash my PR by many minutes just a few miles before, I hung on for dear life and I still managed a small PR, crossing the finish line at 3:45:59 (my watch. Race time has me at 3:46:00. I guess "they" are more official....but I'm still standing firm with the 3:45 time :) ).

A PR by 13 seconds.

In gale-force winds!

Pretty pleased about that, that's a given....but I can't be a little bummed that the effort wasn't harvesting a much sweeter victory for me!! So close....so close! But each of us go into these races never knowing what the race will throw at us that day; we hope we are prepared but we all have our physical limits. This relentless wind was mine.

I fought the fight....yet I still won!! I am very proud of that!

Tucson was a turning point for me, my friend was right. I'm now home and ready to tackle the challenges I have a little bit stronger now because I learned that no matter how fierce the winds I face, I can persevere!

"If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to your mountain, "MOVE" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you!"

-- Matthew 17:20

I'll write a bit more about the race later. Thanks a TON for all your support and well wishes - your words were there along the course with me reeling me in!

38 comments:

elaine said...

Jill, I have been eagarly waiting for this post! So excited to learn of your race. You look GREAT in the pic, very toned and athletic. Great job!
Elaine

Croughwell said...

Great job on your marathon!!

Mikey B said...

I'm positive I will enjoy the more detailed post-race report just as much as this. I'm really proud of you and I tried my best to keep the winds away from ya. Sorry, even weathermen have limited powers. :(

Mikey B

saundra said...

Great job Jill
Congrats on your PR

Christina said...

Great job with your PR and in that wind too (which the HM people were fortunate enough to miss). I ran Tucson last year and can completely relate to your statement of being sore in places you wouldn't expect. I remember my arms being super sore (along with the legs too). Great job!

Suzy said...

Congratulations! It sounds like you turned the corner and got a PR too.

Running Diva Mom said...

Congratulations on a PR and a great race to end the year!!! You are an inspiration!

Jennifer said...

You look fantastic! Great race, you should be proud of yourself!

Meg Runs said...

I'm so happy for you, particularly your strength and confidence in getting through last week, getting past it and running such a tough race. THAT is an inspiration to us all. Thanks for sharing all of it, what a wonderful life lesson! Charge on Jill, celebrate too!

Matt Jenkins said...

Congrats on the PR! It's been my experience that they appear more often when you stop thinking about them and just enjoy the run.

Dennis said...

Congratulations on a great race. I'm glad it went well for you and you were able to battle those winds and still achieve a PR. You are a running machine! 4 Marathons, Pikes Peak, Mt. Evans, Colorado Relay and a lot of other races along the way, you had a great 2009 running year. I am very proud of you as are all your pickled teamates.

Enjoy some time off and see you in Boston 2010!

Staci Dombroski said...

Way to go! I would go by your time too! I sometimes do not understand the chips and the differences between times!

Jamie said...

Congrats on the PR!

Katie A. said...

You are amazing! You did awesome under such tough conditions and managed a PR! Very proud of you. I am so glad you are able to use this fight as a turning point for you. Be proud. Can't wait for more details :) Great job!

shellyrm said...

I knew you would do it!! That is an amazing pace! Winds = Yuck-o-lah! It's a mental thing for me as soon as I hear that wind in my ears I know I slow down. I am happy for you.

"If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to your mountain, "MOVE" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" - this is true! and a promise I lean on too. I am certain that your strength as been re-newed. It's a new day!

Congratulations!!

Jesse said...

Great job! Congratulations on the PR, despite the "gale force winds."

Tina at Gotta Run Now said...

It would have been easy to quit, but instead you kept running strong even with the wind! Congrats on the PR! Time for some well deserved rest!

Tara said...

I've been waiting for your post!! Congrats on your PR! I'm so happy that you feel so good about your efforts and the race became a turning point in your life. Kudos!

Southbay Girl said...

Jill, very nice to meet you and to read your blog! What a fantastic race you ran in Tucson! A PR in brutal winds-I bow down to you!!!

Dana said...

Congrats on your PR!

Abby said...

Sounds like a fantastic run on all sorts of levels - exactly the race you needed.

Congrats!

Adam Culp said...

Oops, left this in the wrong post. :(

It doesn't look all that windy in the picture. :)

Nice work! Your hard work and dedication to your training won out. So proud of you.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the coment on my blog. CONGRATS on the PR! I am soooo impressed!

Tricia said...

Congrats!

runningcommentaries said...

Congrats! To PR in those conditions is fantastic and to know what you can do despite the winds is amazing. I think that's why I love hte marathon- because it is such a metaphor for so many things.

Enjoy your accomplishment and recover well.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Wow oh wow!! Congrats to you on toughing it out. And in the Wind! We all have our life turning points, what a blessing to have found a sport that gives you such a felling of accomplishment.

I hope you are LESS sore today.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Congrats on your PR and opening your mind to a turning point! That's amazing!! Enjoy your victory and hope you recover quickly! Btw, thanks for the comment on my blog today... to be honest though, I'm not rushing back for marathon redemption... all the adversity that I went through drove me to triathlon, which I absolutely love! maybe one day...

Aneta said...

congrats!
u did great!

now take some needed time and rest those bones and relax!

aron said...

CONGRATS!!! wow amazing job :)

Laura said...

CONGRATS! It is easy to let weather beat you down mentally but you did so great.
Enjoy!

Shannon said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and congrats on an awesome race!!!!

Jenn said...

Super Congrats on the PR! Awesome job! Wind is the scariest and most mentally challenging element for me. I've run a half in pretty intense wind but I can't imagine doing a full and not mentally shutting down as a result! You CAN persevere and I'm glad things are turning in the right direction for you! Wine helps with sore muscles :)

RunToTheFinish said...

I really love this attitude. I think we get so wrapped up in the numbers that we often forget about the pure joy and sincere amazement of what we are doing.

TX Runner Mom said...

Great race! Congrats on your PR!

Irene said...

Hooray!

onebadrunner said...

Nice job! You did it and wind sucks!
Love the new look on your blog and loving the tank top weather you were able to enjoy for a couple of days.
aaaahhhhh...the days of being warm.

Anonymous said...

I see you have quite a following now Jill. So I read your blog and sent you a long email all in the same evening. Congrats again on your time. And yes you looked great in that photo at the race. have a fun winter training and stay healthy and strong.. as always.. True Brit

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Congrats on the PR. In Jan of this year, I celebrated a 16 second pr. At this stage of the game, I will take, and celebrate any improvement. The prs are getting tough! Celebrate and be proud.