Race Recap: Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

State #30/Marathon #38
imageAfter 38 marathons, you think I’d remember how bad it feels to blow up in a race. It baffles me how I could forget that type of physical and emotional struggle so quickly. This weekend was certainly not my first ride on the struggle bus. I finished my 2015 marathons the same way I began them: with a disaster. In February, I ran the Lost Dutchman Marathon and had a ROUGH day. Before that day, I thought the days of blowing up at marathons were over. I hoped I learned a tough lesson in Arizona and would never have to “struggle” that way again. I was wrong. No, I don’t ever expect a marathon to be easy. But blowing up to the point where you feel like you can’t put one foot in front of the other…the kind of race that ends in walk/run intervals…those were the days I’d hoped I left in the past. I was so wrong. After a speedy 3:12 in Hartford less than a month ago, I chased that with a 3:57:53 at Indianapolis Monumental. Yes, you read that correctly.

What this all really comes down to was a decision I made in the first five miles of the race. I was not willing to sacrifice my spring season and the Boston Marathon over this race, so I backed off. I’d like to tell you that you’re about to read a tale of someone who backed off with grace, ran with a smile and held her head high. Unfortunately, this is the furthest thing from that.

imageAt the start, I line up near the 3:05 pacer. I’m not running with a pacer – I’m running my own race and learned that lesson a few weeks ago. I know I likely can’t run a 3:05 today, but my bib number is 305 and that was my goal. I can’t ignore that sign. I know I haven’t had any indication over the past three weeks that I should still pursue this goal. I realize my calf could tear. I know watching the pace team leave me once again might break my heart. I have to just see.

Before mile 1 has passed, I watched the 3:05 pacer do his job and confidently lead his pack. I didn’t follow them, but it made my heart (and my calf) hurt just a little. Okay, you knew that 3:05 was probably off the table. But I’m running a marathon. I’m going to check state #30 off of my 50 state journey. I’m not going to let my calf ruin my spring season and I’m focusing on Boston. I don’t want to be injured when I begin training for the spring. I’m grateful to be able to line up at the start today. I’m grateful to be running a marathon at all. Back off, Allison.

At mile 2, someone cuts in front of me at a water stop. That happens during races, but today it made me change my stride and take a weird step. Oh no. That didn’t feel good on my calf. As I feel the sharp pain deep in my calf, I panic. I never should have done this, and I am going to drop out at the next medical station. I don’t want to ruin my spring. I’ll come back here next year. This isn’t worth it.

At mile five, I still haven’t dropped out. I see my friend Mark, and I fall into step with him. We chat a little, but I’m having a hard time talking at what normally is a comfortable pace for me. Maybe I can finish this race with my friend. He’s usually somewhere between 3:20-3:30. That’s reasonable. We go through a water stop, and I see the gap between us increase. I begin to pick up the pace to follow him and my calf, which seemed to have loosened up, makes it’s presence known. Boston. Don’t follow him. I back off, and my heart sinks a little lower.

At mile 7, the half marathoners break off. My calf has been aching off and on, and I’m struggling. It’s still so early to be struggling. Do I do it? Do I get scored for the half? I’ll have to come back to this state and do this race again. That was a really freaking long car ride. Maybe I can come back next year. I should definitely fly here next time, especially if I come alone. The opportunity passes, and I keep moving forward. One step at a time. I’m still averaging about 8 minute miles. I can do this today.

At mile 8, I want a walk break. But I’m still averaging 8s. Don’t walk, Allison. Make it to mile 10. At least get to double digits. My calf seems to be cooperating, so I keep the pace steady.

At mile 10, my legs feel trashed. How is this possible? If they feel this badly at mile 10, what’s mile 20 going to look like? I can’t think about that now. One mile at a time. One step at a time. I should take a walk break. No, Allison – make it to the half marathon point. At least you’ll be halfway.

At mile 11, I see a beer stop. Yes, please. I grab a beer, the people in the crowd cheer loudly and it tastes great going down. As I keep running, I hold onto the cup and keep sipping until it’s gone. If it’s going to hurt, maybe I can make it my mission to drink all of the beer on the course. My spirits are lifted, and I’m smiling. This might still end up being more fun than I thought.

At the half marathon point, I cross in 1:46 and my thoughts begin to change from actively seeking out beer stops to feeling sorry for myself. Why is this happening to me? Last week, I paced a 1:45 half like it was nothing. Three weeks ago, I ran a 1:30 half and felt like it was almost effortless (other than the whole calf deciding to freak out on me). Four weeks ago, I was running a marathon and crossed the half marathon point in 1:32. A month and a half ago I ran a half marathon PR in 1:29 and in August, I won the hilliest half I’ve ever run in 1:34. I feel the tears in my eyes, but I refuse to cry. I want to walk. Just make it to 14. Then you can walk.

At mile 14, I want to walk but I tell myself to make it to 15. I’m still in the 8 minute range and haven’t seen any 9s on my watch yet. My calf is still hanging in there. The course is flat, but every single time I see a tiny incline (these are little teensy tiny blips that would never even register with me on a normal day) I panic that my calf might give up on me. I just keep running. People are starting to walk, but not me. Not yet.

At mile 15, Ashley passes me. I know her goal is a BQ and she looks like she is has it. For a brief moment, I consider picking up the pace and running with her. It would mean around 8 minute pace through the finish. Could I? Maybe. Should I? No. She worked for this. I know myself well – things could very well get dark and twisty. I’m not going to ruin it for her. I muster up a smile and tell her she looks great. I want to walk. No, Allison – make it to 16. Then all you have is 10 miles to go.

At mile 16, my body wants to walk. Even step I take feels hard and it just wants to stop. But I’m still seeing 8s on my watch, and my calf isn’t freaking out on me. I will make it to mile 17. Then, I’ll be in single digits.

At mile 17, I walk. My pace has taken a nose dive. My right hip and my right knee are hurting, probably from compensating for the dull ache in my left calf. It’s time. I tell myself: 2 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of running. You can do this. I stick to the plan and after two minutes of walking, I begin to run. This doesn’t feel bad. Maybe I just needed that little break. I can do this. Instead of running for 10 minutes, I make it 20 minutes. A small victory, and I start to perk up a little bit. This isn’t so bad.

At 2:59, I take a walk break. I’m somewhere in the 20-21 mile range and I feel the tears in my eyes. No, I didn’t have hopes of breaking three hours today. But I was supposed to be closer to that goal today. Today, I am going to be lucky if I break the four hour mark. As my watch changes to 3:00, I feel a tear escape so I wipe it away and begin to talk to a random guy, also walking. He was cramping up and watching his goal slip away, too. I tell him that I’m going to begin running again at 3:01, and he should run with me. I start running, but he doesn’t follow.

At 3:05, I see my watch. I should be finishing, but now I’m looking at my watch in anticipation of 3:11, because that’s when I can walk again.  I feel the tears again because I should be finishing the race, not praying for my next walk break. I feel the tears because I still have five-ish miles left, not five-ish minutes. I wonder how those two minutes of walking can fly by at light speed, but the ten minutes of running seems to last for an eternity.

At 3:11, I walk again. I don’t remember what mile I’m at, but I see my watch flip to 3:12 and I openly let a few tears slip out. Three weeks ago, at 3:12, I was running the .2 and sprinting to the finish at something like a 6:15 pace, racing another woman to make sure I came in ahead of her. I can barely manage 10 minute miles right now. At 3:13, I run again.

After that last walk break, the rest of the race, times, walk breaks are all a blur. I remember getting to mile 24.5 doing the run 10, walk 2 minute deal but I can’t remember much. At 24.5, I also remember Sia singing “Big Girls Cry” on my iPod and the lyrics make me tear up:

I may cry, ruining my makeup
Wash away all the things you’ve taken
I don’t care if I don’t look pretty
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking

Side note: Looking back on this experience, I realize what a huge dork I am. Let’s be real: it’s running. I was hungry, tired and defeated which made me weepy and emotional. I considered writing a rosy race report with the attitude I’ve currently adopted (I finished! I’m 2/3 way done with the states! I didn’t make my stupid calf worse!) but that isn’t exactly how it went down. If I can’t tell the real story here, where can I tell it? Besides, I regret not recapping Arizona after it happened. I don’t want to forget this.

At mile 26, I see Mark and he cheers for me – tentatively. I semi-glare at him and semi-ignore him.

At mile 26.2 and 3:57:53, I cross the finish line. 45 minutes longer than my marathon less than a month ago. 52 minutes slower than my goal time. I immediately reset my Garmin – I didn’t wipe the splits off completely and I’ll go look at them when I’m ready. But I couldn’t face them in that moment.

I grab a Mylar blanket, my medal, a water and some food. I sit on the curb near gear check. I’m starving because I didn’t eat much before the race, and stopped taking gels at mile 15. I feel empty. I eat a chocolate chip cookie and drink some chocolate milk. I feel a lump in my throat and the tears start to fall. I wipe them away, pull my shit together and head over to gear check. I force a smile and thank the volunteers as they get my bag. I walk behind the tent and I’m relieved that no one else is in sight. I sit on the grass, wrapped in my Mylar blanket and bawl my eyes out.

I called my husband since I knew he was tracking me and was probably really worried. He was relieved to know that I wasn’t stumbling around with a torn calf muscle, and he listened to me cry in my post marathon fog, which was exactly what I needed. I’m sobbing about how I could spend 19 weeks working harder than I’ve ever worked to have it all amount to this. Finally, I pull myself together because I know my friends have been finished for awhile and are probably wondering where I am.  I’m outside and I have no shame at this point: I use the Mylar blanket as a shield and change my whole outfit (sports bra included) into clean clothes. I don’t care. I’m freezing, and I know that will help make me feel better.

I’m very grateful that I was able to finish the race at all. I’m not disappointed with my time in the way that you may think. I broke 4 hours on my worst day this year, and I know many people dream of breaking 4 hours on their best day. The time on the clock is not what hurts and I am proud of finishing the race despite the emotions. Why did I feel terrible running what is normally my easy pace? Why, after 19 weeks of training and 965 miles in that training block was a sub-4 hour marathon so hard? Because this weekend – that 3:57 on a pancake flat course was much, much, MUCH more difficult and grueling than my 3:12 at Hartford. Or even my 3:06 in Charlevoix. I just don’t get it. It’s like my body just didn’t want any of it. That’s what hurts. I am thankful for finishing the race. I am thankful that my calf is no worse. I am thankful, but I’m also defeated.

This weekend was a huge reminder of something: we are not owed a PR because we ran the right amount of miles or trained at the right paces. We can take care of our bodies and do all of the “right” things. We can make one dumb decision and it can dismantle the whole plan, or we can do everything exactly right and still not achieve our goals. A lot of people train really hard – what makes me entitled to PRs and great race finishes? Absolutely nothing. I think because I had some really outstanding races over the past few years and thought I had this whole sport figured out that I put my time in and it was owed to me. It’s not. Will I have another wonderful, effortless, easy-breezy season of running again like I did in 2014? Maybe. I know one thing: I won’t take it for granted if that ever comes around again.

It also reminded me of what my marathons used to look like a few years ago. I consistently used to finish marathons in 3:40-4:10. I don’t know what I will do in the spring or if I will have another finish like today, but it reminded me of how far I have come. I’m also thankful for that.

Hollie at FueledByLOLZ said something in a recent blog post that basically sums up my feelings about this weekend:

“Despite both of those races being miserable, I finished healthy, and I never looked back.  They were just a memory that running is hard and not every race is a dream race.

Regardless of the race time, every bib number, award or medal is a memory of something. They are a memory of doing something I enjoy. Sure I could donate half of the red, white and blue strung 5k finishing medals I have but I don’t want too.  I don’t like to take for granted finishing every race.”

Because this weekend, I finished the race. This weekend, I had to walk. After 19 weeks of pouring my heart and soul into my training, it didn’t go at all how I’d planned. But this medal…this bib…it’s a memory. It’s a reminder that it IS hard. Those are the moments that make all of the PRs, all of the effortless races even more sweet.

I was worried that this race might crush my spirit. The last time a race crushed me, it resulted in a six month hiatus from running that I almost never returned from. But I woke up the next day and I wasn’t sore, and I smiled. I ran a marathon. On Monday, I woke up and it was absolutely gorgeous out. I really wanted to go for a run. I didn’t go – I need to heal – but just the desire to go made me smile. I will run a 3:05. I will break 3 hours. And when I do, I will read this post again.image

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86 Replies to “Race Recap: Indianapolis Monumental Marathon”

  1. Oh, Allison, I just loved reading this. I’m of course sorry you didn’t have the race you trained for, but I do know when the time is right, you WILL break 3:00!! I can relate to being wrapped in a Mylar blanket, bawling. (Although sadly for me, no one I called answered the phone) I DNF one of the Philly halfs and it really is heartbreaking.
    Also, the part about Mark cheering made me think….i saw him on Main st. In Stroudsburg during this year’s run for the red, when it was brutally (unseasonably) hot. He was walking but started to run when I cheered (though I’m certain it’s the last thing he wanted to do at that moment)….then went back to walking. 🙂
    Lastly, you took some great photos. Glad you had some good friends to make the trip with!!

    1. Thanks, Laura! I said to Mark after the race, “Did you see me shoot that death glare at you?” He was like, “Yeah I had no idea what to do. It would be rude not to cheer but I could tell you were not happy!” Ugh, bad races are so heartbreaking. It felt good to write about it, though! I’m ready to move on!

  2. I love this recap. Sure, it was a crummy race experience but you made the best of it and truly handled it with grace (even if it feels like you didn’t). Your goals are just waiting to be crushed!

  3. Congratulations on your marathon! 🙂 Thanks for writing this recap with what you were feeling at the time– we’ve all had bad races, and it’s nice to see one recapped any pressure to… I guess, sugar-coat it or “prove” you’re okay with it, if that makes sense. And as you said, this race is a memory. I think being able to recap it without sugar-coating the way you felt shows you have total confidence that there really will be other races and that those races really will be better.

    1. It felt really good to write about it, as bad as it was. When I was proofreading it, I was laughing at how ridiculous the whole thing was. It’s running, after all! As hard as it was, I wouldn’t trade the experience. I think those are the races that make you stronger…or at least build some character!

      1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you noted how emotional people get while running marathons when they are tired/hungry. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure the end of the world is approaching over lost keys or something even when I’m just a few hours late with a meal.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. My heart breaks for you! I surely understand a bad race. It comes with a wealth of emotions. I’m taking my recent bad experience and using it as fuel. I’d like to think that with a little more training I’ll become that much better of a runner next race. 🙂 It’s so crazy how we have epic experiences then suddenly it’s like our bodies have forgotten how to even walk straight. Hope you’re recovering well sweet thing!!! Next year WILL be a rocking year!!

    1. Thank you, Jess! I am getting caught up but I know you didn’t have an easy race this weekend, either. It sucks, but it builds character, right? I feel like the worst days sometimes make you tougher so when your best day comes, you can lay down the hammer and race your heart out! At least, I have to think that way 🙂

  5. Wow, what a race experience! This bad day does NOT take away all the good days and all of your PRs. Thank you for sharing this as it is inspirational to everyone. We have all had bad races and I have definitely had to do the walk/run thing. It feels exactly they way you describe it feeling!

  6. I’m proud of you for not dropping out. You kept moving forward and on that day that was the best that you could do. It absolutely sucks that Indy was not a reflection of your training or of your abilities, but you were able to finish the race without an injury and that is a good thing!

    I don’t feel qualified to offer you any sage advice/wisdom because you have been running much longer than I have and you are a much more talented runner than I am, but with all of that in mind, remember that progress is not always linear and training is accumulative. Even though Indy fell short of your expectations you put in a seriously amazing training season. That isn’t just going to disappear, you will be able to continue to build on that training this spring. Plus don’t forget that you PRed all of your shorter races this summer/fall. Keep putting in the work and that sub 3 is going to be yours (although you might just have to come back to Charlevoix for your stars-aligned-everthing-is-perfect race).

    1. Thank you so much, Heather! I am so thankful to finish the race and not be worse off than when I started (well, I’m not worse off with my calf…maybe worse off emotionally, ha!). I agree that training absolutely is cumulative and I hope that with some rest, I can build on what I started this past fall. I also have to remind myself that ultimately, I wanted to build my base again this fall. I did what I set out to do. If I PR’d along the way, that was icing on the cake. Also, I’m all for coming back to Charlevoix. I loved that course so much!!!!! Thank you so much for your kind words and your support!

  7. There is so much awesome in this post amidst your disappointment and struggle. You are a wonderful example that at times running can be really rough and totally suck, but the world isn’t over and life keeps going and so will you. The marathon is a beast and by its nature, impossible to truly tame. There will be times when you train solidly and the race works just as you planned. And there are times that despite your best efforts, injury makes it difficult (I always tell my athletes that the hardest part of marathon training is coming out without an injury). And sometimes, everything works perfectly and our bodies just don’t cooperate on race day. There isn’t always a rhyme or reason. I think it is running’s way of reminding us who is really in control.

    1. For as much as I get so upset by a difficult race, I think what you said is what keeps me coming back to the marathon distance. It’s a beast that is impossible to tame. I thought I had it figured out. I thought my days of “bad” races were a thing of the past, but it goes to show you that just when you get a little too confident, the marathon bites back 🙂 It doesn’t matter how hard you train – there are variables that are often out of our control and they may rear their ugly heads on race day. Writing about it was helpful, and I am so ready to put it past me!

  8. Thanks for sharing this, even though it wasn’t what you wanted I’m glad you kept going. This just adds to the pile of things that make you stronger.

  9. I totally shed a tear in the coffee shop reading this. The triumphant ending didn’t happen to this season, but the fitness you’ve gained over the last 5 months isn’t going to disappear overnight and once you are ready to train again (AFTER THE CALF IS 100% HEALED) you will be light years ahead of where you started from last season. I’m so proud of you for allowing yourself to write the reality of the race and face the shit head on. I can’t wait to read about that sub 3 someday soon!

    1. Thank you so much for the support, Hilary! I have to admit, it was so tempting to run yesterday because the weather was amazing. I opted for my bike, and I know it was the right choice because I’m certainly not 100% healed! It helped to write it all out even though it wasn’t really the race recap I expected to write when I signed up for that race. But they never are – even when they are your best day. It was a rough one, but I am ready to put it behind me! PS – I am going to sign up for Kentucky in the next week or so. I want to do a test run and make sure my calf is healed before I commit to anything else, but I really want to do it!

  10. Somebody I met through the Saucony program had a beer stop around where you had one. I wonder if it were them!

    I want to cry reading your recap! It’s hard to have a goal slip away. I’m glad you see the positive so soon and I’m sure the emotions will slowly fade. You could always think about what if you dropped out or didn’t run but if you hadn’t, today you’d be probably regretting your decision anyways. Get that calf better, Boston has some big promise ahead!

  11. This reminds me of a quote I like from Lauren Fleshman: “we have the right to hard work, but we don’t have a right to the results of that work.” I, more than anyone, have really suffered from the sense of PR entitlement you describe. I had it BAD before Grandma’s. I got lucky and got a PR anyway but I know in future races I wont be so lucky, so I need to check my attitude and going forward I know I really need to focus more on the process than the end result. If you think about it, your finish time in any given race is really nothing more than a big coincidence. What’s NOT a coincidence is the hard work we put in to get there and the fitness gains we make in training. It definitely feels like salt in a wound when our finish times don’t reflect what we’re capable of, but finding value in the process really helps keep things in perspective and better prepare us for races in the future.

    Honestly – I think you were just checked out on Saturday. You’ve been wanting this race to be over more than anything. You’ve been talking about and looking forward to your downtime and 2016, which is awesome, but I think you subconsciously went into this race with the mindset of getting it over with. Injury or not, your fitness was there. You had it in you to run a strong marathon and I’m glad you’re not letting a sour experience take that knowledge away from you.

    It’s inspiring to me that you have the strength and courage to keep getting back up when you get knocked down. I look forward to your new chapter

    1. Did you write that quote somewhere once before? When I was writing my post, I was thinking of it but I couldn’t remember who said it or where it came from. But yes – we have a right to hard work but not to results. That is exactly what it boils down to. I also agree that I was checked out on Saturday. I don’t want to use it as an excuse, but as soon as the calf thing happened it was like I gave up. I didn’t cross train (other than pole, which is not cardio – it’s strength). I didn’t get extra sleep the week before the race. I didn’t eat my usual race week foods because I didn’t feel like preparing them. I didn’t want to run the race, but I didn’t want to miss out on hanging out with my friends for the weekend, either. So I agree that some degree of my disaster was also mental. Writing about it absolutely helped me put it all into perspective. Thank you so much for your support and your comment. It means a lot. Oh, and Annie was there!!! We never got to meet up but I thought it was cool that we ran the same race. So excited for her!!

  12. I know you made the best decision for the day. You are going to come back much stronger and run a solid Boston. I’m confident in that and looking forward to seeing you succeed. Plus hanging out!

    1. I definitely made the right decision, and it was a tough one to stick by that day. Even with the kind of race I ran, I know it was the right one. I just didn’t want to spend my whole spring injured. Time to break the cycle. And yes…more hanging out!

  13. I didn’t know it was possible, but I love you even more now after reading all this. You’re just such an amazing woman, friend, athlete, runner. I adore you to bits, Allison and I have no doubt in my mind, you’ve got that sub-3. It’s percolating in those legs of yours.

  14. Even though I am so sorry your race went that way, it is definitely relieving to see someone else struggle like i do! I totally cry in moments like that, i wish I didnt but I definitely do. Congrats on getting another state though!!

  15. Hey. Recently found your blog. That race was a test of your mental fortitude and I admire the fact that you finished rather than dropped out. It is so hard to finish a race when you know your body is not up to the task and you see the times you are capable of just slip away. But your mind just willed that finish to occur. Bravo! Now sheesh, woman, take some needed time off to recover properly. 😉

    On another note, I see that you seem to have beaten your Achilles tendonitis (to be replaced by a bum calf GRRR). It gives me hope that maybe I can get rid of mine!

    1. Hi Bonnie! Thanks for reading! Ugh, it was definitely a rough day but I am so glad it’s over and I am glad that I did it. Definitely loving the fact that I have nothing to train for right now, whew! I am so sorry to hear about your Achilles. How long have you been struggling with it? It took me 6 months to really beat mine, but I also didn’t give it a rest and ran several races on it so I think that might be lengthy. What are you doing for it? I found that exercises given to me in PT were the most helpful. I swear I thought it was the injury that would never end. I am so sorry you are struggling with it!

      Thank you so much for reading! I hope you feel better soon!

  16. Thanks for your comments. 9 months and I have been stupid and have run (raced) a lot on it. Now I’m doing PT and mainly biking. Crossing my fingers the PT will work.

    1. Omg it so will! I honestly think I strained my calf because I slacked on my PT exercises that I do for my achilles. I kept them up consistently after it was long gone. They also did ultrasound, I don’t know if that helped but I’d like to think it did. I didn’t think KT tape did anything for me. I also was stretching and foam rolling my calves often. I tried sleeping with a night split like you would for plantar fasciitis – it seemed to help stretch it overnight. It was a very frustrating injury. I totally know what you are going through. I honestly thought it would never end. But it does – I promise!!

  17. Congrats on another marathon! This was a really great post. I think most of the time we write about all of the happy moments, but sometimes races are hard and we don’t write about that. It’s so great that you finished when a lot of people would have pulled out just because the race was not going the way they wanted it to. I’ve been lucky this year in my races (minus Chicago), but when one does not go as planned, I will try to channel your strength to get through. Good luck with your recovery. Congrats!

  18. I loved reading this recap. I’m so sorry that you had a bad race experience, but you made the most of it and handled it so well. I have no doubt that you will meet your goals one day! You’ve come so far already and you inspire me to push myself harder to meet my own goals.

  19. You have got so many great responses already, but also want to add that you can’t let just one race define your year or season. I’m sure you already know that but want to add support too. You have had a fantastic year and all that work and training paid off in some fabulous races for you. To even be able run another full, at that pace just a month after your last one is amazing. I could barely get through 15 on Sunday, coming off Chicago which I think was the same weekend as your last full. Not to mention a great half and a pacing race! Get that calf healed and you will back even stronger and faster. And, 30 states, freakin’ awesome!!

    1. Thank you so much!! Since doing the whole 50 state thing I have been fortunate to be able to run a lot of marathons in a relatively short amount of time. I think if I want to get faster, I have to slow down the 50 state goal. Ugh, decisions! Lol. What state do you have next? Hawaii?

      1. Yeah, so many different things going on…I’m going to try for four marathons next year but which will by far the most I’ve attempted, considering I’ve done a total of 5 to date! Yep, next up is Hawaii – Maui Oceanfront in January, and then Utah – Salt Lake, in April.

  20. Your recap is so well written that I definitely feel your pain and grief about this race, but you have such a good attitude about it. It’s one race, everyone has their bad days, and you did what was best for your spring goals. I’m super impressed that you can run a marathon just a month after racing one – that’s incredible! You are such a gifted and dedicated athlete and that certainly shines through – and you will get that sub-3! The path to achieving goals isn’t always linear, but each race plays its own role in bringing you to that goal.

    1. Thank you! I didn’t have a good attitude when I crossed the finish line but my friends both ran GREAT races that day, and I was really excited for them so it helped. Writing about it helped a lot, too. You are so right – this race will bring me closer to my goal. Now for some rest before I take another crack at it! Thanks for your support.

  21. Super race recap (great memory!). Falling short of one’s goal (particularly when you know you have it in you) is hard, especially so at the marathon because redemption takes such a long time. When you meet that sub-3hr goal, the victory will be all the more sweeter for having gone through this.

    1. Thank you!! It was a tough day but I do not regret doing the race. As much as I want that goal race, I don’t think I would change the experience I had because like you said – the victory will be that much sweeter! I’m glad it’s over, I’m ready to recover and move on 🙂

  22. Awww, I don’t know if I’m supposed to be happy or sad now! (although I totally cracked up at the beer drinking idea!!) I just love reading race recaps that lay it all out like it was. No happy unicorns prancing along side, but a day of a battle with your body and mind. I’m sorry it went so bad for you. I’d probably be writing the same race recap if I had raced mine this past weekend!! It will be something you laugh about… in a few. That perfect race is still out there for the taking 🙂 You’ll get it!!

    1. Thanks Lisa! You know, I considered not going and saving the race for a time when I was healthy and prepared but I’m glad I didn’t do that. For as bad as I felt that day, I still wouldn’t trade this experience. I still had a blast with my friends which I never actually wrote about and probably will later this week. While I liked the course and it was flat, it wasn’t my favorite course yet so I am not disappointed that it was not my PR!! Well, not totally disappointed 😉 onward!!!

  23. Sorry you had a tough race. 2 thoughts: 1, you’re right to have eased off to save for Boston. You don’t want to have a crappy race there… Experience speaking here!! In retrospect, I didn’t train adequately for Boston, and got what I deserved. Nevertheless, I so wanted to qualify at Boston again for Boston! Didn’t happen. 2. As you know, we’re big high school cross country folks. One time my husband was working the finish chute of a race. He said all the boys finished angry. And the girls in tears!

    1. Hahha! Ohhh yes, Boston is not a race that you want to show up unprepared for. This will be my sixth one, and I was extremely unprepared the first time. It was actually the first race that broke me and cause me to take a pretty big break from running that I mentioned in my post. I tried so hard to qualify for it and finally did in 2009. It was before the times had gotten tougher to qualify and the race was sold out. I had to wait an extra year to run, and then when I started to train I ended up with a stress fracture in my tibia. I trained for the whole thing by aqua jogging and while my finish wasn’t awful, it was a tough day. That is not a race you want to be unprepared for because it will eat you alive! So funny about your husband working the finish line. I was the girl in tears on Saturday!

  24. Great lessons here, but I’m sorry you had to learn them in such a hard way. You’re strong, you’re determined, and when you eventually meet your goals, it will be even sweeter because of the struggle!

  25. It’s comforting to know that runners of all calibers go through this. Your bad race is my dream PR for a marathon, but I totally get how rough and disappointing it felt. I’ve cried during a race as I watched the clock tick by. I get that. I’m glad you’re trying to look on the bright side. You kept Boston in mind and you made the right sacrifices. It sucks that you were in pain for basically the entire race! I really believe we learn more from a hard/disappointing race than from a successful one…And in a way, that makes it worth it.

    1. It was totally worth it. I honestly don’t know what kept me from dropping out very early on. I wanted to. But I’ve never dropped out, so I figured I would run until I couldn’t run, and then walk until I couldn’t walk and take it from there. It was tough, but completely worth it. To know how bad it can really feel to run a marathon will only give me more strength when one day the stars align and I run my dream race! You mentioned you’ve watched the clock tick by before so you know what I’m talking about 🙂 Thank you so much for your support.

  26. Thanks for the candid and honest account of your horrible race experience. I felt your pain as I was reading your post and I’m sorry you had to go through it. I know it’s just “running” but when you worked so hard to reach a certain goal, it’s difficult to accept when it doesn’t happen. Nevertheless, I think you did an impressive job in trying to maintain your stride and avoided walking until the later miles. Now it’s time to rest and recover. Hope your body is completely healed by the time you start training for Boston!

    1. Thank you for the kind comment and support! I wrote it, and then when I went back and read it I felt a bit silly because her I am crying over a bad race. But it wasn’t necessarily the race – it was the whole training process that I watched just slip away. I thought about the weeks where I felt more fatigue than I’d ever known because of high mileage. I thought about the nights I wanted to stay on the couch and watch TV but I knew I had to go to bed for an early morning workout. I thought about the missed social obligations, my messy house, and the amount of takeout we ate because I was too tired to cook (something else I love). That’s the part that stung so badly. I’m going to really enjoy the next five weeks because I will be back at it again, and I want to feel refreshed and healed!

  27. Hope my comment posted earlier…I was on the phone on the train so hopefully it didn’t get scrambled before the tunnel into Seattle!

  28. It’s incredibly tough when races like this happen, It reminds me very much of one of my past marathons. It’s one of those things you won’t forget but you WILL move forward from. It seems you already have in a way, which is inspiring. We live and learn, and all the work you did didn’t go to waste- as hard as that is to think about. Some time to recoup and get back on your feet will be so good, and then can start fresh and get ready for Boston. You are going to do great, keep your chin up!

    1. Thanks, Laura! I think I sort of have moved past it because I wrote about how I really felt. With my tough race I ran back in February, I took a blogging hiatus and never recapped it, never really talked about it. But I held on to some bitterness for awhile and had a really bad attitude. I can already tell that I feel so much better after this experience just from talking about it! And, I’m excited for Boston training so that’s a good sign 🙂

  29. I feel so sad that you felt so sad!! But you still broke 4 hours after majorly blowing up…how many people can say that? It’s just one of those things that will hurt less with time – you’ll learn from it and move on.

  30. Major chills reading your partings sentences!!!!! Sounds incredibly gruelling, I can’t even imagine, but I LOVE that you are going to re read this when you do it, because you WILL do it!! Cheering you on little flowers 😘

  31. Thank you so much for this post. I understand the sadness of being so far from your goal, but just like sometimes everything comes together for a great race, sometimes your body has plans that your heart and mind didn’t co-sign. You’ll get that sub-3, especially with the great attitude you have post race. Hugs! You still rock!

  32. I am so sorry you didn’t have the race you were hoping for. Your training this cycle was seriously great and was always inspiring to read. As is this post, you had a rough race and ended beat up but you will come back from this and fight on to that sub-3!!!

  33. You are AMAZING! Can’t believe I missed this post earlier in the week. I keep thinking work is gonna slow down soon, but then it doesn’t LOL. I’m so proud of you for hanging in there even when things got tough. So many people would’ve quit in your position, and you didn’t. I know how disappointing it must’ve been and I’m so glad you had your hubby to call to cry to. We all need someone to lean on and just let it all out. Then it’s time to pick up the pieces. You’ve got time to recover and you’ve still got the fire in you to make big things happen. Don’t let that go because those big things WILL happen for you! xoxo

    1. Thanks Charissa! It was a rough day but after our half marathon and how my calf felt, I suspected it might be. I was just hoping for a miracle but I did mentally prepare for a long day. I just really hoped I would be wrong! I am definitely not about to quit now. Even though Indy wasn’t what I wanted, I feel like I made a lot of progress this block – both physically and mentally! I am ready to try again…well, after recovery 🙂

  34. Your thoughts on this race perfectly echo mine after Berlin — shit just happens sometimes, and we can’t always expect things to go our way. I ran this race last year and PR’d even though I was expecting a complete disaster. So you never know how things will play out, but despite the slow breakdown, you finished in a time that many people would claw for. But, as you note, even acknowledging that isn’t always enough to perk you up. You’re allowed to mope for a bit.

    But then it’s time to focus on the spring. You’ve had an amazing year and you are definitely entitled to celebrate that. Onwards!

    1. I moped for a few minutes post race, but then I saw my friends and they had GREAT days so I perked up pretty quickly. I was a little bummed and took Monday off work to sulk a little and get my crap together. I feel a lot better now! I want to go for a run this weekend, but I promised my body a full week at minimum to really heal this calf thing. It feels fine now, but I think after this season I need it!

  35. How did I miss this??? Thank you so much for sharing this. When I DNF’d Phoenix, a race I felt I would dominate and get the goal I wanted, I was absolutely devastated. I thought it that was the lowest I could go. Then Chicago. A race I finished but still did not meet my goal. Not even close. BUT like you said, I finished and my time 4:45 is a time that people would love to get. It’s not what I wanted, but that was what my body gave me that day.

    I love love love that I found you and your blog last year. That is one my highlights 🙂 ❤

    1. Ugh, that was how I felt about my Arizona race – that it was going to be my worst race of the year and there was no way it could get worse. Then I closed out the year with my worst race of the year in Indianapolis. It was so frustrating but looking back on it, there was a lot of good that day too. Yep, it sucked to work so hard for all of those months and have it amount to that. But I knocked another state off of my list, and the two friends I traveled with had great days. My friend, Ashley, ran a BQ and she wasn’t even sure she was marathon ready (did an Ironman in September and took it easy post race). It wasn’t my day that day, but now that I am past it, it was a good day 🙂

      LOVE that we found each other’s blogs!!!! Such a great highlight to the year is right!!!

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