"It was just different. The race will be different, this race is different. I am different." ...Kalen Norton
I knew I was running Big Sur the moment I crossed the finish line in NYC.
With 2 days until I run my second marathon, I can’t help but reflect on how the prep for each has been so different. The mindset above all else is the biggest difference. I can’t help but think it will be the deciding factor when it comes to improvement.
As a confident athlete all my life, the thought of completing a marathon always seemed easy for some reason. What a joke that is - even to type it, haha. Sh*t maybe in college it would have been easy, but as a 41 year old man, far from it. I have more respect for the race now, it’s hard and I know it. It is that expectation of difficulty and pain that is going to allow me to take one more step and endure that much more pain. It’s no longer a matter of if we are going to cramp up, it’s a matter of when and what we are going to do about it. That is the biggest difference, now for the details.
The next significant factor in training this time is, I have actually done some long runs, LOL. The furthest I went when training for The NYC Marathon was 12 miles. Not by choice, that’s just how it played out. I only knew I was running New York 2.5 months out. I did a couple of 10 milers, the same for the 9’s, a few 8’s and a bunch of runs shorter than that. In training for The Big Sur Marathon I have ran 18, 15, 13, 12, 11, 10’szzzz, multiple short runs and a decent amount of speed training. The sequence of running events was night and day and I intend remember that when the going gets tough.
Another huge reason why preparing for these two have been different, is during NYC training. I got sick. This time I did not get sick overloading on gluten free oatmeal and finally discovering I was allergic to oats! Wow right! A month and half out, just as I was getting ready for my longer runs I had to shut it down for a couple of weeks to figure out what was going on with my body and these f*cking cramps in my stomach. That combined with food poisoning was a perfect storm and really destroyed me and my progress. I lost 23lbs extremely fast which I think made me weak even though I looked crazy shredded. I do a ton of strength training, that is where the shred came from. I still do a lot of strength training. In my mind it is the only reason I was able to finish my first race. I’m going into this race heavier, but I’m feeling much stronger.
The next detail and difference is THE SHOES. “Is it the shoes!?” ( generational joke that may go over your head ). Anyhow I’ve switched shoes and I’m not going to get into brand names because I do not want to be sued and this is not an advertisement. This time I decided against the popular and more expensive shoe. The ones with all of that bounce which force you to run on your toes. I chose a middle of the road price point shoe with more balance/options of running styles. A pair without all of that spring. I don’t like the feeling of being on a trampoline. I’d rather glide on my own and have the ability to run on the heel, toe, side or wherever else I want to strike the pavement.
The time of year you choose to run is important when it comes to choosing a marathon to run. I trained in the cold most of the days in The Big Apple unless we got lucky. Those winter warm days are always great days in the city because the entire running community comes out to hit the east side, west side, bridges and Central Park. It was all warm and comfortable training runs in preparation for NYC. Big Sur’s cold training schedule has made me tougher.
I ran many more hills this time opposed to just a couple of times. I was under the impression the few hills I ran for NYC gave me a leg up for race day. Wrong! The marathon was littered with hills of its own to wreck me.
This time I ran with a weighted vest on. I did my 15 and 18 miler with a 15Lbs vest on just to build confidence. I did pull-ups on scaffoldings along the way of my city runs.
It was just different. The race will be different, this race is different. I am different.
I am still not fast and it kind of makes me mad (rolling my eyes), I was faster when I was younger. Is this my pace now or is it because I didn’t really run in my late 30’s at all ? Will my pace come back ? That I still don’t know. I’ve only got one race under my belt, so it’s impossible to tell.
With that said, I know I can beat the guy in the last race. I envision a hologram of myself starting out too fast, too confident, and not knowing what lies ahead. The me of today and Sunday lets him go ahead, confident that I’ll track him down during those late painful mile markers.
What IS the same for both races is the reason. The why. The Mothers. Everywhere. I run for a cause. The mothers and soon to be mothers out there everywhere who have no place to turn for the health of themselves and their babies. Nobody deserves to have a baby on a dirt road or walk 26 miles or more to the closest clinic. The more I learn about it the more it pains me. That’s why I am so excited to dive into the hurt locker, which is nothing compared to the pain of childbirth, or losing a baby, or a mother. I run for my mother, your mother, EVERY MOTHER EVERYWHERE!
Let’s work! 🦅