October 12, 2012

Marathon of Death

Another reason I love my students is because they don't give 3 craps about what kind of marathon I ran. In addition to that, they don't care if my hair looks like crap, if there's a stain on my shirt, or I have dry erase marker streaked across my face. (Yes, those things all happen to me on a frequent  basis.) After coming back from being on a trip (and my students having a sub), I am always greeted by the biggest, brightest smile that comes with seeing someone you've missed. It's true and it's genuine. They are always glad to have me back. That was my saving grace Tuesday.

Most of you have already read on FB that I bombed my race and finished in 3:13:xx. (I actually don't even know the seconds, what place I came in or any of the details. They simply do not matter to me.) Before I give a brief race report, I'll just say that I'm really struggling with this, physically- some and a ton emotionally.

Like I said in a recent post, I've had this lingering cold thingie. It hasn't been anything major, but enough to know that I wasn't 100%. However, I didn't think it was a deal breaker and I still don't blame my crappy race on that. (*Sidebar to say that under coach's orders, I did go to Urgent Care yesterday and now have a Z pack for a respiratory infection.)

I was concerned about the drastically cold temperatures. During my jog on Saturday, my legs refused to get loose, and I was even wearing tights. Sunday brought the coldest temperatures I have ever raced a marathon in. I still thought I could do it, though. It wasn't THAT cold. I did my drills inside the school, dropped my bag and headed for the start.

After lots of debate on my outfit, I went with the long sleeved Brooks ID top, ID shorts, compression socks, gloves, headband, and threw on a teeshirt to wear for the first few miles. (It really got on my nerves, though, and I threw it off at Mile 2-3.) I would love to share my splits with you, but in my completely pissed off state of mind, I deleted the entire race from my Garmin while walking back to the hotel. I do know that I went through Miles 1-7 at roughly 6:45 pace. I thought I would feel better than I did. It wasn't easy; I was already working hard. Somewhere during Mile 7/8, we made a sharp right turn up a small hill and I felt my hamstring/butt pull. It was a sharp pain, but then subsided a bit. I didn't think much about it, but I did slow for a mile to 6:50ish. At this point, I couldn't really find a rhythm; things felt hard, and I felt that twinge in the hammy/butt. By Mile 10, I was cussing, and I knew it wasn't my day. Mile 13, I wished they had had a half marathon b/c I would've cut it short. Things went from bad to worse. I won't rehash all the details b/c they are not happy memories. Basically, my body completely revolted everything about me running 6:52 pace. I was coughing, my hamstring/butt screamed bloody murder. And I coughed, walked, ran, cried for 13 freaking miles until the Marathon of Death was over.

After the race, I was pretty much a wreck. I could hardly walk, but that was nothing compared to my broken heart. So much training. So much time. So much money. So much hope. Completely down the tubes. There really isn't a single thing anyone can say or do to make it better. It sucked then, and it still sucks now. I would love to put on this happy face and say, "Oh, blah, blah, blah, everything happens for a reason, yada, yada, yada." Well, I disagree, sometimes things just suck. Lots and lots of things happen for a reason. We are given plenty of adversity and plenty of blessings that are all part of The Big Plan, but there are some things... that just suck. I am currently working on another post, a post of my reflections about the training cycle as a whole, what I liked and what I would've done differently. I will save that for later. I just wanted to check in with all of you that have been so sweet, kind, and encouraging.

No, this thing is not over. I've cried too many tears, put in too much work, and been going for too long to quit on this now. Right now I'm simply recovering, more from the training cycle than the actual race. The hammy/butt is feeling much better. I've been doing some light stretching, foam rolling, and work with The Stick. Those have helped a lot. I do believe what I said in my last post about training being like money in the bank. And I guess I'll work on "getting rich" for my next race.


  1. I am so so sorry about this race. I know it sucks A LOT. And there's nothing anyone can do to make it better, so just know that I'm sending (((hugs))).

    But do not underestimate the effect of the cold on your lungs, particularly if they were compromised already. The first cold race I ran last year, I felt like I could NOT BREATHE. It was miserable (and was only a 5k!).

    I'm super impressed you finished. Honestly, I might have just thrown in the towel half-way through.

    Hang in there. Any idea what your next race is?

  2. I am so sorry Rebecca. I thought of you on Sunday. I am impressed you finished because I would have walked off at mile 13.

    Hugs to you!!

  3. You're right , some things just suck. And in these situations sometimes all you need someone to say is I'm Sorry. So, I'm sorry girl. Thinking of you and sending you love and healing energy right this very second. Process, grieve, live with the "this sucks" for a bit, and then use it to come back even better...this I'm certain is in the plans for you...it's who you seem to be and why you inspire others.

  4. You're right , some things just suck. And in these situations sometimes all you need someone to say is I'm Sorry. So, I'm sorry girl. Thinking of you and sending you love and healing energy right this very second. Process, grieve, live with the "this sucks" for a bit, and then use it to come back even better...this I'm certain is in the plans for you...it's who you seem to be and why you inspire others.

  5. Really, really sorry to read this. If there's anyone who can relate 100% to this post it's me. The exact same thing happened to me last year in Milwaukee- I was in the best shape of my life, trained really hard and smart, but at mile 8 I felt off, and I wanted to quite at mile 13, but didn't because it was point-to-point. Afterwards, I was a complete wreck, spent a lot of time crying and not understanding how something like this could happen.

    My coach told me to Shake it Off and prepare for the next one. I simply couldn't do that. How the hell can you just shake something like that off? Well, eventually I learned that shaking it off will actually help you in future races. The more negative stuff gets into your subconscious, the more it can permeate in the future.

    Trust me, I understand how you feel, but if I could go back and change something about Milwaukee, it would be that I would learn from the race and quickly move past it. Focus on my hard training, focus on the fact that I had a good strategy, that I executed well, and realize that I'm not a robot, and cannot execute perfectly on any given day. A bad race doesn't mean you are a bad athlete. And in fact, I would argue that this wasn't a bad race for you, you are just seeing it that way. You had a fantastic training cycle, you had a proper taper, you had a race strategy. Period. I know it's difficult, but really try hard to focus on that. My heart goes out to you on this. Of course, most marathon runners would kill for a 3:13, but I know that wasn't your goal. You're an inspiration to me and many others. Regardless of what time you run or how a race goes, your perseverance and dedication is truly amazing.

  6. It's ok to point your finger at the fact you clearly weren't 100% health wise. It's not a cop out, it's just a VERY annoying fact. Think of it this way, you were able to go out and run a 3:13 without being fully 'fit', that's not bad going! What could you have done if you didn't have that cold?! Can I hear a sub 3!!!!

    It's so obvious it's hard for you to even utter the fact that you had a cold, as if you're somehow making up an excuse! You are human, it's OK that a cold affects you when you're running 26.2 miles, cut yourself some slack (I am exactly the same so do as I say not as I do and I think I recognise it in you!)

    All that training and hard work is still in those legs, its money in the bank and will help you go sub 3 before long. Sorry it happened but please don't dwell on this, easy for me to say I know. You are healthy and injury free with a ton of potential, some of which has been recognized and a LOT more that's still to come. You have time on your side and an incredible milage base in your legs and boy can you handle BIG miles which is a wonderful gift that most people don't have. Wish I could give you some of my 'running joy' at the moment, I feel its jaded in you. Hardly surprising seeing as you've been running for so long, don't waste time on negative thoughts spend them trying to work out how you can find that joy again.
    I feel VERY bossy in this post but I am a bit bossy so.......

  7. Been thinking about you. Lots. I was following you as best I could via your coach's facebook posts and just knew something had gone wrong after mile 7.
    I am just so so sorry that your race turned out this way. Sometimes things DO suck and it's hard to miss a goal you have been working so hard for.

    I really like your attitude about this though. It sucks, yes, but there are some blessings around you. It must be nice that in your work, you can be surrounded by kids who know you are AMAZING regardless of how any marathon went.

    My best wishes and prayers for a full and speedy recovery of body and heart.

  8. I'm really so sorry to read about your experiences with this race, but I truly BELIEVE you have a sub 3 race in you. It sounds to me like you need a race that you know and are confident that you will excel. The biggest battle is our mind (I know this all to well from my struggles with the Ironman Marathon).

    Rest up and believe in yourself. Your perfect race is there.


  9. You know, somethings things just suck sometimes. No way to explain it. This post broke my heart a bit to read, even though it impossible to feel or completely understand another's experience.

    What doesn't suck is that you're starting to physically fell better! I'll miss you like crazy in LA this weekend:) Start balancing that checkbook, girl!:)

  10. Yup - somethings DO just SUCK. And it is OK for you to be sad. I felt like I had to put on a happy face because a few people made comments along the lines of "if it isn't fun then you should stop doing it" and it made me feel like I wasn't allowed to be disappointed and sad. So yes, you are definitely allowed to be sad, made, frustrated, whatever. Just don't let it get too far into your head and stick around. A respiratory infection and a pulled bum make for miserable racing, and you still had a very respectable time. Hang in there my friend - I know you are going to recover physically and mentally from this and be faster and stronger than ever. Hugs!

  11. You have lots of good races left in you. Lots. :)

  12. Ulgh, I am so sorry!! That sucks. I have totally been there. After I bombed Eugene last year I cried for days and felt horribly sad about it for a month......my heart was so broken unlike any breakup. You are so talented and your sub 3 WILL come. We all know it!

  13. Anonymous10/13/2012

    Recover well and recover fast, and get back on that horse! You are due an awesome race after a yucky deathmarchy one. It will happen!

  14. Huge ole hugs to you, my fast and beautiful friend. Yeah, sometimes things just suck. It's true. And this one sounds like it was right up there (down there) with the suckiest. Everyone knows you have magic coming to you and honestly, I don't know why it's delayed but for some reason, it is. It'll come. I know it will. You're too good a runner and have everything it takes and then some. xoxoxoxo

  15. You are not the only one who had a tough time in their race... I was about 30 min of the pace in mine! but we live and learn. recover fast and get out there again.