Since we’re talking about big fall A races today, let’s talk about mine. File this one under some runs are just not as awesome as others. I have said that over and over and over again. There are those races when the wheels fell off. That happened to me during the Big Revel Cottonwood marathon in Utah.
I was not expecting the wheels to fall off at all. That had never happened to me before during a race. Plus, I had trained hard and I had trained smart. I was expecting a PR. Why? Not just because I have run every marathon a little faster than the one before it. Not just because this marathon bragged that most people PR and that it is one of the fastest Boston qualifiers. And not just because I was ready. I had a 4:10 PaceBand to prove it.
So what went wrong? First let me say that I finished the race. It wasn’t even my worst time, it was my second best. So why am I slightly disappointed? I say slightly because now that a tiny bit of time has elapsed I can see a bit more clearly.
Anyway, this course was downhill for about 17 miles. After the first 4 miles my legs got used to it. then the incline at mile 18 got me. But still I was on track to PR until mile 20.I had to run four miles out and then 4 miles back in heat. Someone said it was 88 degrees. I have no proof of that, but I will not argue. The water and Powerade at the stations was hot, not lukewarm and not even room temperature-just hot and I stopped at every single one of them. And yes, I am whining.
My spirit just gave up. This was the first time I wanted to quit and cry at the same time. I did not quit because I knew people were tracking me and I did not want to hear my dad say “You quit at mile 21”? and that I absolutely positively could not explain without bursting into tears. And those tears alone would not have given me a finisher’s medal.
I was not in danger of placing in my age group so that is not what this race was about. It was about doing my best ever. It was about proving to myself that I could do better. So I thought I had failed. I felt like I had failed.
I forgot that each and every day we wake up with a different body. I forgot that doing my best varies from day to day. I forgot that some people did not finish. I forgot that I saw many people in the 3:45 pace group walking. I forgot that less than 1% of the population has completed a marathon, if you believe these statistics. I forgot that simply crossing the finish line is a victory. I forgot that there will come a day when I will not be able to run a marathon and as awful as I felt, Saturday September 12th was not that day.
So, yes the wheels fell off. And yes, it was not the race I had imagined. But it was my race and I finished. I have the medal to prove it. I earned it.