Saturday, May 29, 2010

0- the feeling of failure

I want to write this post now, while everything is really fresh.  I don't want to let time go by until I think more rationally about stuff or whatever.  Instead, I want to put it out there, how I am feeling right now.

Today, I ran the Bayshore Marathon.  My intention was to finally PR, run under 3:18.  I peaked and prepared for this race.  I sacrificed running well at Boston for this race.  I tapered for this race.  In the end, I ran a 3:49- almost my worst time in my 8 marathon life.

And the thing is, physically I was there.  I put in 80, 90, and 100 mile weeks in the weeks since Boston.  I did track work, tempos, hill work.  I tapered heavily this past week in order to feel fresh.  And yet, it didn't happen.  I'm not even completely sure what went wrong.  I didn't really check my pace after the first mile, which was admittedly too fast (7:10), but I basically knew I was falling fast.  My legs felt not heavy or slow, but like they were really strong but fighting me the whole time.  Like I was running downhill and my quads were bracing to slow me down, when in reality the course is relatively flat.  I thought by not looking at my Garmin, I would be less effected by my pace, but the thing is, in my head I knew that I was slowing down, even not looking at the numbers.  And I couldn't understand why.  I didn't look at my watch after the first mile until the halfway point.  I knew I was off pace, but the damage was done, and the second half would be even slower.  I just don't know what is going on with me.  I feel like I am training well.  Like I am doing all that I can do really, balancing training and two jobs.  And don't get me wrong, I love the training.  But I do it because I want results.  2 years ago, when I set my PR at this race, I was training at less than half of my current milage and with minimal intensity or eye to pace.  And I can't help but feel like it was a freak accident.  Like I am destined now to be a mediocre marathoner, when my heart wants to break 3 hours in the next 10 years.  I ran my 20 mile training runs at under 7:XX pace, and in a race that should be even easier to go faster! (adrenaline, competition). 

Needless to say, I'm bummed.  I put my heart into this, put it out there that I was going for it, and failed.  Miserably.  Not even close.  I think the more you want something, the harder it is when you don't succeed.  And with me, this is it.  This is what I do.  For better or worse, I define myself as a runner and gain quite a bit of my identity and self worth from being *decent* at it.  I feel like I'm in a funk, and that is tough.  I don't really know where I'm going with any of this, but it just feels like it's hard to take the sting out of how it went.  I'm really sorry this has turned into a pity party, but I just had to get this all out there.  I'm with my entire family, (who were all GREAT during the race) and it's easy to joke about how bad I did or brush it off.  But the truth is: it sucks.  I feel like the 'thing' that is mine I failed at.  And it may take a bit to get over it.

In more positive news: CONGRATS to my Poppy!  He ran his debut marathon today in 4:05- smashing 15 minutes off of his goal.  I am very proud of him and honored to be a part of the experience for him today.  My mom, sis, and bro-in-law were all there, and very helpful, so with that extent, it was a great day.

They had Coldstone at the finish.  I took one bite and threw the rest out.  If you've been reading my blog long enough, you know me and fro yo/ice cream are BFFs so that never happens.  That just shows you what a buzz kill of a day it was for me.


  1. Hey, I've been lurking on your blog since you started (hey!), but felt the need to comment on this post. I'm sorry today didn't go as you had hoped, but stay positive. You're a strong runner, as evidenced by your training, and if anything today was the "freak accident", not your PR. Take some time for yourself these next few weeks and let your body recoup. You've been pushing yourself really hard, both physically and mentally, so you deserve to rest. There are always other marathons. Regardless of today's outcome, I'm still in awe of your running.

  2. Aww tfers... *hugs*
    1-FWIW, I don't think you're destined to be a mediocre marathoner, but if you want to be "faster" it's sometimes more important to look at what "works for you" rather than what you feel like doing.
    2-It might be the case that you can do better on lower level training. I know I found this to be the case for me: I ran my best training high mileage, but it caught up with me later. I slogged long after my first 100mpw, questioning why I'm "slower while recovering."
    Looking back, I ran my PR's, and had my strongest comeback, while still "building up" i.e. 50ish mpw. I had a really smart coach point this out to me.

    ...of course now's not the time to get super analytical or make any big choices [while emotional], but something to consider. You really CAN'T evaluate how something works for you until after it's kicked in over time, and it's hard when after all that time it's not what you wanted. But you DO get something out of it all--a lot--and if what you want next is, say, sub-3, it just might mean entering a new kind of training for a different kind of goal [vs. high mileage].

  3. ((hugs) such a disappointment for you! you are such a strong runner and i admire you greatly for *everything* you do. today just wasn't your day. there will be others and you will bounce back from this. allow yourself to mourn for the loss (because yes it is a loss and you can grieve) but know that this race will make you STRONG and BETTER and WISER.

    you're still a running hero to me :)

  4. **hugs** You are an amazing runner! I agree with everything that has been stated by people above. Do not let this one race get you down. Look forward! There will be other races. You can learn from this experience!

    I actually have a story for you! I was watching the University of Washington softball team play for a chance to go to the Women's College World Series. Their pitcher was player of the year last year and a candidate for that honor again this year. I watched her give up 5, yes 5, home runs in 5 innings pitched (3 occurred back to back to back in one inning). For the first time this year, she had to be taken out of the game. But you know what? She came back the next day and beat the same team twice. They couldn't touch her. She had had an off day the day before, but she learned from it and triumphed because she knows what she is capable of. You can do the same!

    Take some time off to gather your thoughts and allow your body to heal. Then charge ahead to your next race! You're still my running hero!