Alena Runs a (Canceled) Marathon
We know that a lot of you have experienced having races canceled lately. It's difficult to spend all of that time, energy, and focus training your body and mind for any time of race and have the event be canceled. We've asked one of our favorite FIT Experts and runner's to share her recent race experience as she has inspired ALL of us to keep moving. The finish line is still out there - we may just have to adjust our expectations of what it looks like!
Congratulations Alena! We are SO proud of you!
I have had the marathon itch since I finished my first half marathon three years ago. When I asked Heather if I could train for a marathon, I was told to be patient and wait until my body was stronger and ready for the miles. (At the time, I was recovering from a pelvic stress fracture, and I really should have been focused on regaining my strength!).
After being injury free for over two years, I was finally given the “OK” from Coach Heather to do a marathon. We met over Christmas break and devised a plan for a spring marathon, ultimately landing on the Milwaukee marathon for my first official marathon. Based off my previous races, I set a goal to break the elusive three-hour mark. Training through the icy, cold winter in Ann Arbor was less than ideal, but I had the goal of placing well at my first marathon.
As the threats of coronavirus loomed closer, I was faced with the grim reality that all of my hard work and training would not culminate in crossing an actual finish line. While my heart was crushed at the thought of training for nothing, I decided to time trial a marathon to see my fitness level.
On Saturday, April 11, I set out with some local runners to chase a sub-three-hour marathon. We had mapped out a route on the Prairie-Duneland trail, and we set out a bag with water at the turn-around point. We turned this into a self-supported marathon. I wore my running belt armed with gels, salt sticks, and water. While it may not have been an “actual” marathon, I treated it like the real deal. I set out with a racing strategy and tried to start slower and finish hard. Obviously, that is easier said than done, and I experienced my first “wall” at mile 22. The last four miles were definitely a mental (and physical!) battle, but I crossed my “finish line”. Shutting my watch off once I hit 26.2 miles was such a fulfilling moment.
Obviously, this was not how I anticipated my first marathon to go, but I am glad I took the opportunity to see how my body would react to my first training block. It was mentally challenging to continue running when I would not get the same fulfillment at a race. However, I learned so much about my body and training during this marathon, and I now know what to expect when I can actually cross a marathon finish line!
For now, I will keep training and keep my eyes focused on the next goal marathon—I can’t wait to see what happens in a real race!