Sadly, I did not BQ on Saturday.
I didn’t even PR.
I ran nearly 2 minutes slower than my PR.
What happened? Well, I’m not 100% sure. I’ve thought about it a lot and I think there were a few factors that led to my missed goal.
We’ll get to those in a minute. First, let’s rewind and recap the race.
I took the day off on Friday, the day before the race. I slept in till 8 and then had to wake Max up at 8:30. WHO IS THIS KID? I think he knew I needed the rest.
We spent the day as a family, picking apples, drinking cider slushies and relaxing. I felt very anxious all day—a total departure from my zen-like attitude toward the race of late. To be honest, I was doubting my ability to finish, second-guessing my training and just worried. It was weird, because I don’t normally feel this way before a race. I’m usually a little nervous, but mainly excited. It wasn’t fun.
Race morning I got up at 6, dressed and ate a bagel. It was chilly out – about 32 – with a predicted high of 55. I wore a lightweight long-sleeve tech shirt and shorts, with a throwaway hoodie and pants.
I got to the race early, stayed warm in my car and then met up with my sister. I felt like I might puke for some reason. I got in my corral and the gun went off. Go time!
*NOTE: I am using the split times I have from Strava. These times are innacurate from about mile 19 on because Strava auto-pauses when I stop—and I stopped a lot those last few miles. For 19 on, I’ll give an estimated time based on my finish time. If I can get garmin connect to load up, I’ll update the splits at a later time, as these are more accurate.
The race started and I struggled to get in a good position. I was jumping and dodging people and I could tell that I was going pretty fast. My Garmin was jumping all over the place as I slowed down when I was stuck behind people and sped up to pass. Mile 1- 7:59
The next few miles were a blur. I knew I was going too fast. But I thought that I might be able to hang on. I did plenty of fast finish long runs. I can do this. Miles 2-7 – 8:04, 8:17, 8:12, 8:18, 8:24, 8:26
Around mile 8, this hills started. Damn, I should have done more hill training. Just hang on around 8:30 pace and you’ll make it up after the hill section. Around mile 10, a guy running barefoot fell into step with me. I was fascinated by his feet, which were so dirty and calloused, they made mine look pretty. He was a badass. Miles 8-11 –8:33, 8:13, 8:26, 8:41
The hills were finally over. Instead of picking up the pace, I found myself slipping. I was hurting. Already? We got to the point where the half-marathoners turn to finish. I want to go finish with them. I convinced myself to keep going. I knew, right there, that it was going to be a rough 13 more miles. Miles 12-13-8:33, 8:31
At this point, I figured I could salvage the race as long as I held onto an 8:30-8:40 pace. I could still PR. But hanging on proved harder than I thought. At some point during these miles, I told myself that a 9:00 pace was fine. So I stuck to that. This is when I mentally gave up. I even asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” And I could not come up with one reason why. I was hurting. I was tired. My brain was done. I couldn’t believe how early in the race this had happened. WTF is happening? Miles 14-19 –8:40, 8:42, 8:45, 8:55, 9:00, 8:57
At mile 21, I saw my sister. This is an out and back course, and you run adjacent to other runners ahead of you for a few miles. She was at 17 and looked so strong. She yelled and waved and told me how awesome I was doing. She gave me some life I desperately needed. I can do this. Just hang on to a 9 min pace. Nope, the pace continued to slip. And then I started stopping at every water stop, which was about every mile. I stopped for up to 30 seconds each time. I was OVER IT. Miles 20-26 –roughly 9:30 average (don’t have correct splits from my Strava due to auto-pause feature)
We crested the only real hill in the second half and then took a curvy road to the finish. I knew I was almost done and tried to dig deep, but I had nothing. My legs felt like lead and my left hamstring was screaming at me. And then, I saw my husband holding Max, my mother- and father-in-law, and my husband’s aunt and uncle. I nearly lost it as Max cheered for me. Seeing all these people that care about me out there helped me finish.
I was done. Thank God it’s OVER!
Max ran to me and then got really upset about the foil blanket. I threw it out and hugged my sweet boy and my husband. His parents and aunt and uncle told me how great I did and were just so nice. I tried to hold back the tears because I was so disappointed. I just couldn’t figure out what happened.
Overall Stats: Final Time: 3:53:54. (8:56 pace)
9th out of 55 in my division
38Th female out of 286
129th place overall
I am disappointed, sad and a little embarrassed. I told so many people, including anyone who reads this blog, that I was going for a BQ. It sucks to have people ask how it went and have to tell them that not only did I not BQ, but I didn’t even PR and I missed my goal by almost 20 minutes.
I’m frustrated with myself and with the marathon distance. Pretty sure I told my father-in-law as we walked back to the car after the race that I was done with marathons.
After processing this race for a few days, I’ve come to few conclusions as to why this race went so poorly for me and some solutions to these issues to put into practice ASAP:
I went out too fast. RUN SLOW AT THE BEGINNING OF RACES EVEN IF YOU FEEL GOOD. Duh.
I gave up mentally. Stay positive and believe in yourself. YOU CAN DO THIS.
I should’ve done more hill training. Run hills once a week. Boom. Easy.
I’m not as physically strong as I need to be. Do more strength training. Cut back on mileage if necessary to squeeze it in. No excuses.
I’m sure there’s other things that I did wrong at the race and during training, but these seem like the most likely culprits and the most fixable.
It’s disheartening to me that I trained pretty hard for 4 months, getting up at the crack of dawn most days and running 6-7 days a week only to fail. I’m still kind of bitter about that.
I’m also really humbled to realize that after 8 full marathons and 7 half marathons, I’m only just now learning how to race. I find it easier to do the training and the workouts than it is to mentally figure out racing and follow-through with a race plan. It’s just plain hard.
But, I’m trying to put this all into perspective. This is not a big deal. There are people with real problems out there. It’s just running. I just need to get over it. 2 years ago I would have been over the moon about a sub-4. I have to remember how far I’ve come.
So, here’s what’s next: I am signed up for the Monumental Marathon on November 7th. I originally signed up on a whim a few weeks ago when they posted on Facebook that they were 95% full. I blame taper crazies and the race director’s clever ploy to add urgency to the purchase. I figured Fort Harrison would be my “A” race and then I would take it really easy at the Monumental or step down to the half if I didn’t feel rested enough. I did run these two races back to back in 2010 and 2011, so I believe I can do it. But, I’m feeling so over the marathon distance that I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet.
My husband planted the seed that the Monumental could be my redemption race, but I’m almost positive I won’t be recovered enough to full out race. I’ll decide the week of whether I will run the full or half, and whether I feel recovered enough to try to PR (3:52:11 is my PR).
I still feel like I have a ton to say about this race, about how frustrated and mad at myself I am and how jaded I am with marathons, but I think this post is getting a little long. If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you for listening to my whining this long.
To sum it up: It wasn’t my day.