"Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder." WILLIAM SIGEI
I slept like a log last night, but right before I had gone to bed the feeling of uneasiness came over me. I was scared. The type of scared feeling that you get when you are right about to take a test the next morning and you are unprepared. The feeling of wanting the night to never end and morning to never come, this is how scared I was. It is not unusual though I always get scared before marathons…
Morning arrives and I attend to my piled clothes that I had laid out before. Something about today really did not feel like a marathon morning. It may have been a true sense of how I had felt about this marathon, where I am injured, I have been tapering for the past 3 weeks or just the fact that my motivation for running is just not there. The segments from Reach the Beach to now have really been dampening, but the show must go on.
I attend to my clothing, leave the hotel and see how the weather was due to the night before was a bit chilly and knowing that the day will be sunny and warm. True fall weather and the seasons are definitely changing.
AD and I left our hotel about an hour before the start, we made our ways through the marathon village, which was a whole lot better than the expo. We walked around and acted a little silly with the blaring music to get people moving. The pre-bathroom and bagging area would be missed on this race due to my friend having my bag afterwards and the hotel being so close to the start.
15 minutes before the race…I start to strip down into my singlet and race shorts. I stretch a bit and then I am wished by AD: GOOD LUCK. (The best line was when AD asked me if she should stop talking to me and my reply to her was, "AD you don't have to stop talking to me, but just go over there (pointing to the crowd direction)" - which I didn't even hear her question, basically I just wanted her to stand over to where the crowd was...) I settle in with the front of the group as I am part of the “elite” start and had felt ashamed of this due to what my performance may have been for this race. I mean, my number was 46 for god sakes and I should perform better than I was feeling due to the multiple injuries leading up to this point. But I am going to do this race and I stuck with that. The start got crowded due to people just merging from the park…There was really nowhere to go and in some parts pretty poor planning on bottle necking. The anthem was sung, the race was about to begin and the sun was shining into our eyes.
The race started at a faster pace due to the fact that I was in the front and I had let the front runners just shoot off. I would need to acclimate to the fact that I had not ran the whole entire week and this was my first race, run even, since the last half marathon. I went out pretty quickly but settled in and slowly paced myself to a regular run. Touring around Hartford a little while and then heading out to the suburbs where 18 miles of the race would be held. 2 Miles go by and then we are over to East Hartford where the bridge was somewhat of a killer. Off of the onramp, you can see the front runners already ahead about a mile, then pure flatness for parts of the course. It was not too bad and the course showed some challenging hills in the beginning, but not really as challenging as some races that I have done in the past. It was because I have not ran in a while and even the smallest hills were challenging to me. By mile 5, I knew that it was going to be quite a long run for me, I needed to just hang on and relax a bit. Things were not really settling in as I had expected and all the gloves were off at this point. I was just doing this run as a “long run” and as a “fun run” but I have never been in this position before…especially when it was a race or even a marathon. By this point the half marathoners had split with the marathoners and the stream of people started to stretch out. I needed to control myself and just enjoy things. By Mile 10, the 3:10 group had caught up to me. There was a large group of them, hungry runners as all of tehm wanted to make it into the prestigious Boston as I had wanted in the past. I knew that feeling, although I also know that you really can’t rely a race you have worked so hard for in the past 4 months to one person or a few people that are leading the pace group. You have to run your own race and almost feed upon them to be ahead…or if you are behind, you have to surge to know you have it to pass them in the end. I simply let them go right by me, as I knew that this race was not going to be a Boston Qualifier and I rather run and race another day than be stupid to gun for something that was not capable. I was already stupid to even do this race and I know that, but I am what I am. We see the lead pack run by and then the lead women and then more and more people. Mile 11 was the turn around point of the race and then proceed back to where you had come from. So in some essence you know what you are dealing with. I made quite the quick turn around and a very tight way around the cone where my legs somewhat tightened.
That was stupid.
I proceeded on my way back and looked for other people as I had known that RD was in the race. I kept an eye on the people on the other side when RS, a flyer had called out my name, I acknowledged and proceeded on. Then a blond haired female had called out my blogger title name (CRAZY BANDANA) and I was shocked a little, astonished a bit, but this was not the first time that this has happened. I was a little weird out and wished I had know who it was… But the other time was in Boston when I was in the Expo and a person from California had spotted me and told the person next to them that I had taken pictures during all of my marathons, little did I know that this was not going to be the first time that people read my blog.
I’m toughing out some mileage and the person in front of me is this weirdo that is slapping everyone’s hands on the other side and then goes over to the crowds to slap their hands. I think it’s annoying for the runner’s in back of him due to him having so much energy to do this. I find him very weird also, but he was in front of me and I could not complain on that. For him it’s more of a motivation purpose to keep going and mentally to survive in that aspect and influence other people, but I found it annoying. In my mind, I am like, ok this guy has to go down. He is zipping ahead of me though and I guess it works for him, but he was just getting really annoying. He zips along…and then crash. On the side of the road and I just go by him. I know it’s mean to say, but…in my mind I am thinking….”what a loser!” I know I’m mean, but someone had to say it…
Anyways, I trek on and by mile 16, I finally find my groove. The hurting is less apparent by this point and I move on. I track back to my marathon pace and it feels good. I surge and have enough energy to move on. 10 miles to go and I think I can hold on for 10 miles. I find these two females that had passed me and they way ahead of me. I surge and try to catch them, but my legs are not moving that quickly. The race course quickly turns to some trails as we pass Mile 20.
Ok 6 more miles to go.
One of the ladies trails the other and then the other female who is representing Aquafor, is gone. I can still catch up to the other one. The trails are off and there is some twisting and turning. Mile 21 rolls around and we are back on the bridge heading back to downtown Hartford. The cheering increases as I am thinking we have some 5 more miles back in the downtown region…but it was such a tease. The race course leads back into the city and then back out again to add in more mileage and back around a beautiful park, but not so beautiful at this point. A mile 22, I am done, hurting and completely exhausted, all I want to do is just finish this race. Up and down hills and my legs are done. I have never felt so much pain during a marathon and I just had nothing left. Completely done with my system and all I am looking for is the month of rest that I had promised myself…Almost done. A red headed gal blows past me and I am just trying to keep up…She’s gone and I only meet up with her until the end. (but later on find that she is part of a RELAY team and of course she would blow by me.) But yes, my tight calve feels as though I have a knot and I could feel this big ballooned ball just churning up. I move on, continue till the end. Up and down hills some more and then back towards the city towards the Capital building near the park. Slowly I can see that there is about less than a mile away. Surge…nothing. SURGE…still nothing. All day these surges have not happened and my legs are just not responding. Then, finally towards the end, they finally go and I cruise on toward the finish (taking pictures along the way of course.) I can hear along the way about people commenting about me taking pictures along the course.
I finally run towards the finish line and then thinking in my head what I should do with this finish…I run, twirl around and cross the finish line. AD was close to the finish line and she said that the announcer said, “Brian Hsia to the finish line and crosses does a pirouette” I kid you not. But it was the funniest thing I have ever heard…
Overall…very glad with my time, I knew it would be really tough to come even close to a 3:10 and BQ. I found that opportunities are won and lost, you just have to take them or leave them and deal with what situations you may have. My legs are tired, my mind is tired and I have raced a lot of races this year. I am exhausted…and I could not ask for a better time than what I had performed. If there was another chance to really do well and advance my time, I may say that this maybe the course to do it in without the injuries that I had had.