Sunday, March 18, 2012
My first HM was in October and I got sick the week before. Was fine by race day and had a great run, had fun and finished with a great time 1:55:02. Since then Ive logged lots of miles. Even though this has been the mildest MN winter ever, I still ran outside every week. Something I'm proud of. 8 miles has become my easy run. Its week 7 of marathon training. Everything is going well.
I write a happy uppity blog on Wednesday morning, go for that hills run I mention, almost puke during it and the am sick the rest of the week. Uh oh. Is this mental? Do I do this to myself before races? I don't know. But it's sure not a habit I want to keep up. By race morning I am dehydrated, weak, not rested and nervous.
Of course I wanted to beat that 1:55. And how could I not with all the training I'd done all winter?! I knew it was a good time. I was aiming for 1:53. I started strong. I love the energy of a race. All the runners bouncing around and all smiles. It's such a rush. So, yes, yet again, I got carried away and ran the first mile too fast. Rookie mistake! When will I stop doing that? I was able to calm myself down after the first mile marker and find my comfortable pace.
Things were going OK. I start feeling pretty tired, worn out and ready to walk and look! We're only at mile 3. Uh oh. The rest of the race was a struggle.
It was a loop race so I'm at mile 5 and the leader comes soaring past us the other way. I thought it would be demoralizing to see runners that far ahead of me, but it was such a lift. His feet weren't even hitting the ground! Cool to see. And I got chills from my surrounding runners cheering for him. Luckily right when I hit a huge hill another group of elite runners was passing us and in it was the female leader. So beautiful!
Getting to the turn around was equal parts: yes! And oh sh#t! The 1:55 pacer was not far behind me at all. I tried to pick it up. I pushed as hard as I could. I thought about what I would want to write in a spark blog. And seriously, you,my spark friends, helped me push for another mile or so. But he passed me and I almost burst into tears as I tried so hard to keep up and just couldn't. It's an awful feeling watching your goal literally pass you by.
I wallowed for a bit. I even walked,which instead of helping just made me madder at myself. It was getting really hot and humid out. I was miserable. I took 2 waters at the stops and a third to dump on my head and then also drank a powerade. I was actually wishing for winter.
Around mile 10 a guy ran by me and the back of his shirt said: Do your best. Forget the rest. If I could've caught up to him I'd have hugged him. That shirt totally changed my attitude. I started repeating it to myself. I mean, isn't that the truth?! Do your best. Forget the rest.
At the last water stop I saw the 2:00 pacer. Ahhhh! Come on,now. My re-evaluated goal was 1:59. Now im gonna miss that too??! Pacer helped me push it through the end. Unfortunately she was a little behind schedule and had to pick it up for the last mile. Again,I couldn't keep up.
I ran as hard as I possible could that last mile. Came in at 2:01:18. (chip said 2:00:32) I felt a mixture of accomplishment and a little disappointment. Luckily, my running partner was right there at the finish to say lots of nice things. She said that this humid weather made it tough for everyone. No one is used to 73 and humid for a MN March race. It was 30 last week when we ran together. As I'm bent over saying, "that sucked! Missed it by a minute!" an old man stops and says, "chin up darling. It's good to have a bad race. Makes your next one better." we all laughed, I thanked him and I immediately felt better.
I feel good today. not sore, not tired. Writing this blog has been therapeutic so thank you for reading. I've thought a lot about why I didn't easily get 1:55 like I thought I would. Yes, I've ran all winter. But I have. Ran for distance. I've become a much better endurance athlete. I've done very little speed work and I know that is what is needed to get faster.
What a great experience. It has reshaped my expectation for my marathon. It wiped a time out of my head, which is a good thing. This year is about miles. Maybe next year will be about speed.
Do your best. Forget the rest.