I did it again. I completed the Chevron Houston Marathon and I even managed to shave 23 minutes off of last year’s time! I am truly so happy with my performance. I learned a lot from my first marathon and I made the appropriate changes in my training before this marathon. Now that this one is done, I’m reflecting on the things that I think I need to work on and change for next year’s marathon.
Naturally, one of the first things I researched post marathon was how to recover properly after a marathon. I read about my nutrition, physical activity, soothing remedies, etc. I also kept reading about this notion of “marathon blues.” This is when you feel sad that this event that you’ve been planning for, dreaming about, and just generally fixating on for months and months, is finally over. I am not feeling that way at all. I’m actually really excited that I get a whole year to train for my next marathon. I worked really hard after my first marathon to implement changes that would make me stronger and faster. I reaped the rewards of my hard work. The whole marathon felt better to me. I felt more in control of it. I still had those nagging thoughts of self-doubt and I’m thinking these will be permanent fixtures for me, but I shoved those negative thoughts away and kept fighting. The only thing I am feeling is satisfaction. I set out to improve myself this past year and I accomplished my goal. I honestly could not be more happy with myself. Instead of giving in to the negative thoughts that crept into my mind, I shoved those thoughts away and forged ahead. Me. This girl. This girl who always questions her strength and her running ability. I am nothing but happy with my performance.
Marathon weekend is special from beginning to end. It starts with the 5K on Saturday that kicks off the entire race weekend. This is where I get to cheer for my husband and daughters as they run their hearts out. My oldest daughter won 1st place in her age group this year. She was so proud of herself and I was so very happy for her. What a gift for her to stand up and receive 1st place. My wish is for everyone to have that feeling at some point in their lives. My youngest daughter got 6th place in her age group! Not bad for a girl who claims to be a “horrible runner.” Then there was the 65 year old man who won 1st place in his age group with a time of 18:38. 18:38! That’s amazing.
Then there was the Expo. The Expo is to runners what Disney World is to kids. I had so much fun there. One of the best things to come out of the Expo for me was meeting the people I’d been following and training with through Instagram and Twitter. What a wonderful support system social media is for runners. There is a wonderful running community on Instagram and my involvement in this community really helped to motivate and encourage me this training season. Additionally, the marathon committee selected my story to feature in the “Why I Run” section of the race program. What an honor! I still can’t believe I was featured in my beloved hometown marathon’s race program. I will cherish it forever.
Lastly, there was marathon day. It began with meeting in person marathon ambassador Bryan Kreitz whom I’ve been friends with on Instagram. He talked with me for awhile and really helped to put my mind at ease. I truly believe his encouraging words and the good vibes he sent me that morning stayed with me throughout the race. Next, I was able to attend a wonderful Mass with a moving homily. Finally, it was time to line up to run. I felt strong and capable throughout my race, but I’d be lying if I told you that those ugly thoughts of self-doubt didn’t creep into my mind here and there, particularly after mile 23 where things get really tough. The volunteers and spectators along the course helped me through those last miles. The “Nice work, Dendy!” “Keep going, Dendy!” “You’re doing awesome, Dendy!” shouts are truly what convinced me to keep going. I am tearing up as I think about this. It is utterly amazing that these people were thoughtful enough to cheer me on in this way.
There are no marathon blues for me. I had a wonderful marathon weekend and I look forward to having a year to train for my next marathon. I am especially looking forward to continuing the relationships I have forged with other Houston runners as we train for the 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon.