03 June 2009

The agony of defeat………

My body is feeling really good after my marathon on Sat, but my ego not so much. Maybe it’s the day maybe it’s the fact that it’s over and I have told myself that I have officialy retired from doing any more marathons. This was an especially tough marathon for me, because I really wanted it. I wanted to prove to myself that I have what people have told me – that I could run a 5 hour marathon and even a sub 4 marathon, but it did not happen. I ran a 5:31. As I recap my training - how great my long runs felt, the perfect half’s I ran,, it makes me wonder what the hell happened? My 21 mile training run was awesome, so what happened? The weather was perfect! My mind set was a bit off, but nothing I could not over come. As I started out I was feeling good, keeping in mind that I did not have my HR strap on because I forgot it at home and now I need to run by how I felt. No problem. I can do it. As the miles came up they seemed to fly by and I was keeping pace with what I had to do to own the second half of my race. Working my way to mile seven I realized I am a better runner when I am alone. When I run with someone I know I tend to focus on their needs and not mine. Am I running to fast? Am I running to slow? Am I holding them back? So for the next few miles I played cat and mouse with people including my friend. I just was not feeling the run so I needed to snap out of it. I took a back seat and kept several steps behind my friend working myself into my zone. By now I can feel it, the miles are coming up and I see the first place runner coming towards me and I feel the excitement now more and more people making it feel like I am not alone and I can own my race. I still have some time to get to mile fifteen and the turn around, but I know it’s coming up and I know I will be able to pick up the pace. As I came to mile 13 and caught up with my friend who I could tell was really starting to slow down, I asked how she was doing. She told me she was not well and really needed my help. I was so surprised by those words. I asked her what she needed me to do and she said she did not think she could make it. I told her I would run with her and help her through it. We started a run walk and as we approached mile 15 and the turn around she was really having trouble staying focused on what we needed to do. I reminded her that she has run many marathons and the way to get through this was to focus on each step, find something to focus on running to and don’t lose sight of it. We started picking off trees, signs, and people- whatever it took. We walked up inclines and ran down hills. We did what ever it took to get her on track. At mile 18 I checked in and asked how she was doing. She said she was fine and I asked if I could run a head. I took off knowing I needed to make up time if I wanted to at least hit a 5:30 time. I started picking people off, mostly walkers and slow runners, never the less it was a motivation for me. It was a great feeling to be running again and as I passed people they cheered me on and sent me off to catch the next person. I was feeling good and I knew I could save this marathon. When I got to mile nineteen I saw another friend who was eating oysters (Yes they had oysters on the course!) I also saw my friend’s husband and he was running to find her and I knew she was going to be fine. I went on, but started to feel a few blisters forming on my toes. At the next station, I stopped to put band-aids on my toes. I took off and concentrated on the task at hand. When I got to about mile 23 I could feel some cramping in my leg and the top of my left foot was hurting as if my shoe was too tight so I stopped and loosened it but it did not help. I was really starting to feel the pain and looked at my watch and new I had to keep going if I wanted to PR even if only a one minute PR. I pushed through the pain and reminded myself that this is a PR course, but at some points the pain was beyond what I could ignore. As I approached mile twenty-five I was done! My motivation was gone and I had nothing left, I knew I was not going to PR and would not even come close to my last marathon time. I really needed someone to remind me of what I was doing this for and to help me get up the hill. I was feeling sorry for myself and I did not want to walk in my last mile. I grabbed my phone and called one of my best friends and I was so happy to hear his voice. I knew he would get me up that hill and I knew he could relate to how I was feeling. Holding back my tears and trying to tell him what was wrong he reminded me that I could do this and if I had to walk in there was nothing wrong with that. He reminded me that I was not a quitter and that I needed to get control of my breathing and get up that hill even if I had to walk. His final two words to me were Just Finish! I hung up the phone and started up the hill, when I reach the top, I had another surprise waiting for me. My friend Michelle’s husband was there to cheer me on and take pictures of my finish. I was able to put a smile on my face and run down the hill to find Michelle waiting and cheering me on. Some might read this and think I am just feeling sorry for myself or having a pity party and I am, but I think I have earned it. As I write this I still don’t know what went wrong but what I do know is that if my friends ask me to run another marathon with them, I just might. Thanks for reading.

Now go out and RUN!


  1. You weren't joking. It seems that you and I ran almost identical races a day a part.

    The important thing is that you finished another marathon. You aren't a quitter and I am so proud of you! You are an inspiration and a fantastic role model for your kids.

    I know this wasn't your last marathon!

    And although it wasn't the race you wanted, you still did a fantastic job! Congratulations!

  2. Hey Solo-been there, done that. Cape Cod. Awful. 5:22:48. My fourth and worst marathon ever last October.

    You'll other days, Maddy-you too. It's the challenges that make us stronger. You weren't defeated. You conquered. Even a DNF we learn from, and you were not that. You finished. You crossed the line. Great job. I know how you feel. You wanted to do better. Look to the left of you. Look to the right of you. Does your co-work have multiple marathons under their belt? Didnt' think so.

  3. You go girlfriend! I'm proud of you! I'm sure you'll change your mind to run another marathon.

  4. You did a great job! I was proud to be a part of a marathon that you were running in. I didn't realize how important it is to have someone you know competing in the same race! It was great meeting you.


  5. Great job finishing a tough race!