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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Felt Great to Fail

OK, so maybe the title of this blog is a little dramatic.

Beginning in April I began training for the Chicago Marathon with one goal: Qualify for Boston. Because of new Boston-qualifying standards and the timing of the Chicago race, I had to post a 3:04:59, which is a 7:03/mile for 26.2. Yikes. I knew the goal was lofty, but when I commit, I’m all in. So for a little over four months straight, I was more disciplined than I’ve ever been in my life. I carefully watched my nutrition, I skipped only a hand-full of workouts and took countless ice baths. I sacrificed many Friday/Saturday nights of going out for the sake of being rested for hard workouts the following day. I was all in. Committed.

On October 9th I finished the Chicago Marathon in 3:10:52, missing the Boston by just less than six minutes. Through 35K (a marathon is approximately 42K) I was hitting a perfect stride, right on pace to qualify. Around mile 23 something happened, and for whatever reasons that came to me at that point in time, I gave myself permission to walk. That spelled the beginning of the end for what I had hoped to be a perfectly executed race strategy.

Toward the finish I saw my parents amidst the crowd, cheering for me. You see, at that point, they thought my goal was still attainable – text message updates on my pace/splits only came every 10K. The last they had seen, I was still cruising on target through 30K. When I saw my folks, I began to jog over to them (much to their confusion). I told them I wasn’t going to hit my time, hugged them both, then continued to hobble my way to the finish. As strange as this may sound, this was one of the most spectacular moments I’ve ever had.

I failed. But man-oh-man, was it fun. Amazing and supportive family, beautiful city, and I felt so happy as a runner with almost 40,000 others. I didn’t hit my goal, but I crushed my previous best time by almost 20 minutes. When I crossed the finish line I surprisingly wasn’t that upset. After all the training and sacrifices, and not hitting my goal, it’d be normal to be upset, some would be devastated! I could point to various things in my life that would be the cause of my atypical reaction, but the bottom line is that I wasn’t upset… just motivated to learn from the experience, make adjustments, and try again.




Me, not too upset shortly after the race.