From couch to 26.2 miles in ONE DAY. This is a training plan we could all get on board with right?
When I heard that my non-runner friend, Rachel Pastor was going to run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7th AND only decided she was going to do this the night before the event, I was floored. I had to know everything she was thinking; before, during and after. I was SO intrigued. Would she even finish? Would she end up with a crazy injury?
Backing it up just a little…
Chicago Marathon 2018 was special to me for a lot of reasons- I didn’t run it, but my good friends, Lauren, Gelsey, and Colleen were. My friend Rachel was going along to cheer and experience the event. Unfortunately Colleen was injured and the night before the race Rachel agreed to take her place.
Maybe you have met someone who decided 24 hours before that they were going to run 26.2 miles the next day- I had not. And in this case Rachel is a non-runner who in the past month has jogged 3 miles total. She is an avid fitness enthusiast- personal trainer, cross-fit, weights, cycling, but zero running.
I finally had the chance to sit down with Rachel and ask some of my burning questions:
Q and A:
Do you often find yourself in new and challenging situations? (laughs) Yes, AnnMarie- I thrive in them.
Last time and distance you ran? Two weeks before Labor Day. I thought I might run the Fortitude (local Fort Collins race) so I ran 3 miles. I ended up deciding not to run it so that is the last time I ran. I usually don’t run at all.
Why did Colleen want you to run in her place? She was injured and although she really wanted to run it and had trained for it, she could not. I didn’t want to be rude or step on anyone’s toes but when my friend Lauren encouraged me to take her place she (Colleen) said “Yes, it would give this whole thing purpose.” (Colleen was running for a charity) After she said that everyone was like “Do it, do it, do it!”
Did you have any mantras? Yes. My friend Sydney had texted me and said that if I finished I would be in the top 2%, because only 2% of people have ever finished marathons. So I knew all I had to do was finish.
What was the advice from the seasoned runners you were with? Were they on board? They were the ones that encouraged me to do it. They basically said you have no big commitment to this- if you decide to drop out, you can just call an Uber. You can take as long as you need. They recommended the walk/run method.
What made you want to do it? I saw the challenge in it. There was something irking me inside to do it and I don’t know if it was that I wanted the challenge or if it was something that was pushing me towards something that I felt like I was meant to do.
How long were you sore after? I’m still sore. I do have some issues. I have a cramp in my glute that I can’t get rid of. My knees are sore. I don’t think I did any long-term damage though.
How did you feel during the race? The hardest part was being in so much pain and realizing how much farther I had to go. At mile 9 I started to really hurt but was able to run to the half. After that it was walk/run, walk/run and still pushing through pain.
What was the hardest part of the race? The last 5 miles I was just crying because I was in so much pain. Even when I was trying to walk with the walking pacers I couldn’t keep up so I knew it was going to be a really long time. People have asked “Did you cry when you crossed the finish line?” and I’ve said “No, because I was crying the entire 5 miles before, I had nothing left to cry”. My feet felt like they were going to spontaneously combust. I didn’t want to take off my shoes because I was scared of what was going on in there.
What kinds of things did you think about during the marathon? I was really into this podcast with Joe Rogan interviewing David Goggins. He runs these ultra marathons with his feet just torn up and will tape them up and run these crazy runs in so much pain. He talks about some of his finishes and how hard they were- even being hospitalized after. It was completely mental strength that allowed him to finish. So I was just thinking about that- “Even if I crawl through the finish line I will make it. I will make it.”
Did you get a runner’s high? I don’t know what a runner’s high feels like but I’m assuming its the feeling like after a really good cycling class, like an endorphin rush, right?
Yes. So. Um, no. I couldn’t even talk. My mouth literally would not move. I was in so much pain and so depleted I couldn’t speak.
How did you get from the finish line to the hotel room? My friend Lauren, literally helped me down the stairs (STAIRS at the finish line??), sat me down and called an Uber. She wrapped me up tight because I couldn’t stop shivering. She had waited for me for hours after completing her marathon that she trained for to take care of me.
What was the reaction from the running community? Most runners weren’t as wowed by it. More people that have reached out and said “wow, that was incredible” were people who were not runners.
I often hear people say the marathon is life changing. Have you noticed that? How has this run changed you? For me it wasn’t during the marathon and I don’t know if I’m still processing some stuff from it. I’ve been extremely emotional ever since I finished it. Something happened, I just haven’t quite figured out what it is yet, but something shifted. I didn’t plan on this but I feel like I proved to myself that I had a strength I didn’t know I had, mentally.
Finish time: 6:47
I’m proud of you, Rachel. It was crazy yes, I wouldn’t recommend this embarkment on the marathon, but damn it, I admire your spirit. When you are all in, you are ALL IN.
Do things that make you feel alive. Do things that are hard. You will learn so much about yourself and feel a kind of joy in life that can’t be found by staying in your comfort zone.
If you want to connect with Rachel visit her at: http://generation-healthy.com/