Sunday, November 13, 2011

Marathon reflections one day out

It's funny seeing folks in the hotel the morning after a marathon; it's easy to tell who raced! I fared pretty well with just some residual tightness in my calves and a bit of fatigue/soreness in the quads, hams, and glutes. (I've had way worse from leg workouts with Kurt.) I think I recover pretty quickly, maybe it's because I don't have time to think about it. Today was busy with traveling back home, unpacking, and doing all the laundry and various mom things for the week ahead.

The race had a good outcome for me but that is never, EVER a given for me or for anyone. While I appreciate the confidence my family and friends have in me, I still have to fight hard for a good race just like anyone. When well-meaning friends say "I know you will do well," I am thinking, "well I don't know that!" It's not easy when there are expectations.

I came into this race with some doubts and uncertainty given the limited training time and injury-inhibited running year. I was a bit scared as I knew that this race could potentially blow up for me. My energy waned through the week and I wondered what I'd have on race day. But I purposely don't give voice to my doubt as I believe that gives it power. If I say it, it makes it more real. I focus on what I can control and what I know to be true.

I am very happy about how the race played out. It went according to our plan for 22 miles and only slipped off pace for the final four where I lost just over a minute total. But I never allowed myself to walk (except briefly at aid stations because I cannot seem to run and drink??) and never allowed myself to despair. I just kept checking in with the legs to be sure I was giving everything I had. I picked off people where I could and that kept me entertained :-)

In hindsight, something that really helped was an idea I described in my pre-race post, this concept of running feeling like I was holding back. Whether I was or wasn't, I believed I was, and that helped me to feel strong and confident. Coach and I had talked about me holding onto that feeling until mile 18, so that divided the race into two parts and the second part only had 8.2 miles! I really liked that approach. I am fascinated by the mental aspects of racing and all the tricks and methods we use to get the most out of ourselves.

In summary, yes, I met my goal to run a disciplined and controlled race and to enjoy and be grateful for the ability and opportunity to do so. And yes, to finish #14 out of 268 in my age group with another comfortable BQ time was an added bonus. But I want folks to know that it didn't come easy, and that when we race, we wage war against doubt and fear! Isn't that part of the challenge?

Incidentally, I got a few comments about my "immodium" mention in the previous post. That was a tip I picked up two years ago at the Richmond race while, ironically, waiting in line for the port-o-john. There was a recent sidebar write up about it in one of my running or triathlon magazines so I'm not the only one onto that secret. It's a good cure for a nervous stomach without any real negative side effects.

Back to reality tomorrow....!!  Have a great start to the week, everyone!