When Your Goal Race Sucks, Don’t Despair!

Well shit, it’s been a month and I’m still putting off writing a Boston race report. I think it’s fairly safe to say that a conventional one won’t be surfacing in the near future. Now fully rested and recovered, I’ve spent some time reflecting on what the heck happened out there. Four weeks later, I’ve managed to identify a few excuses factors that contributed to a disappointing race:

  1. It was really warm, even more so than predicted.
  2. A “friend” unloaded a bunch of shit on me the week leading into the race which left me feeling sick to my stomach — it couldn’t have waited one more week?!
  3. It just wasn’t my day.

While yes, my Boston Marathon did not go as planned, the 2017 Boston Marathon was not a total failure — not even close! 

On April 18th, I arrived in Hopkinton in the best shape of my life. I’d put in the miles and the work. I was healthy and my body was ready to go. By mile ten I knew that it just wasn’t going to happen and a total slogfest ensued. I collapsed three times, walked Heartbreak Hill … and the other surrounding Newton hills, and took aid at every station. Despite being truly miserable out there, the crowd support was incredible, and I had the chance to take part in the most historic marathon in the world.

Initially I was devastated. I wanted to stop, cry, feel bad about all the sacrifices I’d made, not to mention how embarrassed I thought I’d be missing my goal time. I know that is absolute nonsense, our friends and family are so insanely proud of us just for being out there and giving it our all. Our finish time is almost insignificant to them!

Anyway, just because it didn’t all come together on the day does not mean that I wasn’t ready, or didn’t work hard enough, or that I didn’t get to the taper healthy. I was ready, I was healthy and there were many successes related to the 2017 Boston Marathon.

It was the best training cycle I have ever had. 

I ran the highest mileage of my life and didn’t get hurt.

Before this training cycle I’d never run an 80 mile week, this past cycle I spent over 12 weeks averaging between 75 and 85 mpw. I’m a huge believer in #ExtraSalt, and dedicate a huge amount of time on pre-hab exercises, physical therapy, Normatec boots, eating and napping.

I PR’ed in a number of shorter distances during workouts.

Some people like to race a lot, I am not really one of them. I love solid training blocks so I prefer to use races as workouts en route to the goal race. While yes, it means that I don’t get shiny new PRs and medals very often, I’m ok with that. I did manage to PR in the half marathon in March, with a 10-mile marathon pace workout followed by three miles cut down, it was fun!

I upped my nutrition game. 

I did InsideTracker in early March and based on the recommendations, I upped the protein and added in some other high quality calories. Maybe it was a placebo effect, but I felt like I recovered faster and felt more energetic. No matter what, I feel like I figured out a way to up the quality of my diet, which is always a good thing.

I got to share my first Boston with my husband and best friend.

I also apologize for collapsing in front of them both at mile 25 — that was probably slightly traumatizing.

***

How do you bounce back when your goal race doesn’t go as planned?

I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience while sipping on wine & coffee in Northern Virginia. Together with my husband and Rhodesian Ridgeback, Gracie we battle to keep the Tupperware cupboard organized for more than two days at time. I recently ran my first marathon (2:51) and am excited for what is to come. I like to ramble about running post injury, finding a work-life balance and running quickly.

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4 comments

  1. I’ve suffered a lot in Boston 2017 too. I didn’t have the best training of my life, I was coming from a stress fracture, but I’ve just forget all that in the first 15 km, so around 21km I was almost dead.. A lot of suffering, but I could see all faces and people during the race, they just pushed me forward. I’ve just see Boston 2017 as a true marathon learning, be patience and humble always

  2. Sounds like my experience at Boston in 2016. I ran another small marathon a few weeks later and ran a PR which at least proved to me that I had been fit and it truly just was a bad day at Boston.

  3. I’ve had a lot of races not go as planned. I usually start planning another race ASAP to get my mind off the bad one! :) As for your #2 factor … a “friend” you say? I had a “friend” like that who used to always try to start crap up with me the week before my goal race (she even did it before my first marathon, suggesting my goal time was too aggressive – yet I ran right around the time I had hoped to). I started to recognize the pattern, and would try to avoid contact with her the week before. Needless to say, it took me a while to realize this person was never actually a “friend”.