BUT.....I feel like this post is an important one and one that a lot of us runners need to hear.
Since the marathon on Saturday, I have, naturally, had time to think and 'process' what happened.
It was like fighting an inner battle to be proud of my achievment and also critisize myself and be miserable over missing my time goal.
I am not sure WHY so many of us runners focus on numbers, but we do. At least I do! I am always looking at my paces, comparing my runs, my races, and figuring out just how fast I think I can run that next race. For me, I label my goals as "Successful" or "Unsuccessful" by whether or not I hit the TIME GOAL I set.....somehow completely disregarding all the external factors that played a part in that race. Like somehow,I am super women and should be able to run the same speed in Freezing temperatures or blazing hot temps. On a flat course or a hilly one. ....it just doesn't make sense.
and so it was with my marathon.
I had been training and running so that I should easily be able to hit a 3:20 or better.
A 3:20 is a 7:38 pace...and I was CONFIDENT (and still am) that if I can run 20 miles at 7:29 pace that SURELY with race day adrenaline etc, I can run faster than a 7:38pace for 26 miles.
And so...when everything started to fall apart at mile 14-17 on Saturday, I was confused, discouraged and left feeling a tad bit devastated. Nothing was playing out as I had invisioned it for SO many months!
Now here is the part I am getting to.
In a conversation with my husband Sunday night, somehow the part about times etc came up and he looked at me and said (as he has on many other occasions).
"Nicole, time doesn't matter! it is just a number, it is completel irrelevant!". I rolled my eyes thinking to myself: He doesn't get it!
but as the conversation continued he said some pretty important things that I think actually may have sunk into my thick running skull!
I am so bad at trying to re-itterate wonderful things that people say..it always sounds so much less "impactful" when I say it ,but I will try to put "in essence" what he said here:
Yes, you could probably have run that 3:20 or better.....IN 50-60 degree weather, AT sea level as you've trained, WHEN you hadn't just been sick with the flu, AND had been sleeping in your own bed ...ETC ETC ETC. The list goes on.
Nicole, you were FAST! (this is when I started to cry).
Why did I feel like I wasn't fast?
b/c my pace was 8:14 and that is usually my easy pace? yes. Pretty much.
But I was the 7th female to cross that finish line even after stopping over 10 times b/c I thought my legs were going to fall out from under me and I was going to pass out from heat exhuastion.
He went on to say ...IF ANYTHING, when looking at how you did in a race, look at how you placed among everyone else that trained just like you did!and ran in the EXACT SAME CONDITIONS that you did!. The number is IRRELEVANT.
(I think Britt gave a great example of this out look when she shared her race report in super WINDY conditions on Sunday).
In a 5K, not everyone trains right? some people just show up to walk it, some people just wing it, but in a MARATHON, EVERYONE trains. No one just shows up to run a marathon.
When I think that I placed in the top 3% of the women that ran that race, it suddenly makes me realize that I ran a really good race and did really well for my first marathon. Especially when I have only been training for 7 mos. and have NO prior running history. Do you see where I'm getting to? we are ALL different! We can't compare ourselves with ANYONE b/c they are not us and we are not them. There is such a vast combination of factors that make up who we are and our own individual abilities. So for the first time since Saturday, I can say I AM PROUD OF MYSELF:) few! I said it. and yes, I mean it. For THAT race, I did very well.
I am not saying I will no longer have time goals, of course I will, or that I dont' care about how fast I can run, but I have learned that there is a place for these goals to fit into the big picture but they are NOT the big picture themselves.
Last year, I set a goal that I wanted to place in the top 10% of all my races and I think that maybe that is a better way to measure my goals since every race and race condition itself is different.
I also talked with my coach and he gave me some useful information to help me make sense of everything on saturday.
He told me that Heat in long distance running effects everyone differently, and usually effect women more than men. interesting. also, if you have recently been sick, it can effect you more ( I had the flu 1 week before my race). I wonder if internally I hadn't quite healed all the way.
He shared more with me that helped me make sense of why I was feeling the way I was so early on in the race.
I also spoke to the race director b/c I wondered what happened to the female racer who was going out for a 2:46 in this marathon to qualify for Olympic trials and he told me she dropped out at mile 14 due to heat exhaustion! funny that is right about when i started to really notice it...maybe a bit earlier..about mile 12.
Anyway.....all that being said, i have learned from this race. I have learned that I need to broaden my perspective on this journey of mine. It can't just be about running a 3:15 or a 1:28 (on July 4), it needs to be about training hard and embracing every effort I put into each race.
I WILL have bad races and good races. Not every single race is going to give me the best weather, the flattest roads etc. and I feel like now, instead of ONLY seeing numbers and basing my success or failure on that, I can focus more on just being MY BEST, healthiest self.
I will admit I am going through running withdrawls right now....especially since I tore a muscle and can't run for a few weeks....or really SHOULDN'T. I'm worried that i'm gonna get to that crazy point where I just HAVE TO run and then do more damage....and it doesn't help that we leave for Maui in 12 days and I really dont' want to put on 10lbs before then. grrr.
So!.....onto the pictures that sum up this beautiful, amazing, not what I had planned, experience!:) MY. FIRST. MARATHON:)
** Thank you to my talented husband for all the photos! there are MORE than I could ever need to remember this day well! :)
(click on photos to see them larger~ sorry they look so small)
The night before at Dinner with My dad and Susan. I was SO
blessed to have them there. My dad was so excited to come support me and
it made me feel SO special! thank you dad for flying all the way there
to see my run my first marathon! I love you!
The hubs and I:)
Race day morning! BEAUTIFUL!
all my clothes laid out and ready to go! thanks for the tip Valerie
ready to go!
I love this shot! the sun was just coming up! about 5:45am. I LOVE early mornings!
they feel so spiritual to me:)
I will never forget the feeling I had as I got ready to go run this 26 miles!
doing my drills:)
Love my Brooks Launches!
The beautiful Harmony from Keep on Keeping On
(click on the link to read her race report)
this women is a doll! I just fell in love with her!
This is my EXCITED face!
and I'm off!!!
Here I am at mile 4:) feeling good but HOT ! I could not WAIT
to pass my hat off to Susan!
so happy to see some familiar faces!
Here I am coming in at Mile 8
(the girl behind me in the pink tank was the one who came in 3rd last year at 3:22 and this year ran 3:46:(:( )
I'm telling dad and Susan how HOT I am!! I was really startin' to feel it
and as you can see...NO SHADE!
Great shot! my husband set this up with off camera flash! I don't
even remember seeing him:)
Here I come at mile 17.5...I pretty much want to die by this point
everything feels WRONG but I am trying to hang in there.
more water ON the head!
almost walking.....needed to get some water down
I dont' remember what I was saying here but something about
how TIRED I was.
Mile 22. enough said. I had just ran what felt like 5 miles up hill.
hating my life lol.
right after they took this picture is when I felt the sharp shooting pain go up my
leg. I stopped and then kept going but I stopped at least 5 more times between
here and the finish to try and nurse it.
Iloved your sign Susan! thank you! xoxo
I love you Dad!
here I come at Mile 25 w/ Steve by my side.
when I read the signs, I just starting BAWLING!
that's what my ugly crying face looks like after running 25 miles
in the heat! lol
Thank Goodness, it's OVER!:)
7th female to cross the finish line!:):)
A feeling of relief and devastation. but I did it.
checking out the results
talking to my mom:) made me cry AGAIN!
Let me explain this picture! lol...I told steve to take a picture of my
legs b/c this might be the best shape they are ever in! lol
My whole life I have been thin but never "in shape" so I am enjoying that
I finally have a TINY bit of muscle!!
The support team!
here comes Harmony!!!
You did it girl! sub 4!!!
we did it!!!
SUCKS! I had to stay in bed all day/night like this from about 3pm on:(:(
while Steve, Dad and Susan enjoyed the city.
Today I can walk almost normally for the first time:)
Love this picture!
I love you
and thanks to Lacey for watching my girls for 3.5 days!, she is the bestest friend a girl could ask for!