I finished my fourth marathon in the past ten months when I finished the Run4Troops Marathon on Saturday, June 28. That made it the third marathon I finished in the last ten months at the time.
As with every marathon I have a finish-time goal. For this race it was 4:45:00.
I didn’t make it. Didn’t even come close. I finished at 5:51:00. I still cringe saying it.
And as I stumbled through miles 10 to 14, wondering whether I should just throw up as I wanted to and then decide to continue or drop out, as I thought well if it’s this bad at ten miles what’s it gonna be at 25, as I wondered where that pace and energy I felt at mile nine disappeared, as my spirits sunk remembering the hours on the trails and roads and the heat and long winter, the long hours in the gym inspired by my personal trainer, Summer Lisk, to take one more rep or add more plate - You gaht this - and having to tell her I didn’t make the goal ... I realized, you know what, there’s been a whole of wins and personal bests along the way that pushed me this far.
I ran four marathons and finished three in the past ten months. I would have finished the fourth but they closed the 1-mile loop with the one aid station and I had no water or gels. It was raining and colder than expected too. I quit. Yeah, it sucked. But I didn’t feel comfortable running on public streets without water or gels and in a depleted mental state. So I quit.
* This finish was the fastest finish of the 3 marathons I completed.
* It’s the fastest marathon I’ve run since I turned ... wait for it ... fifty. That was nine years ago.
* Training in the gym, I squatted more reps with heavier weights, deadlifted more and heavier, same with upper body stuff.
* Running, I ran more miles on hillier routes.
* I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been.
So, yeah, I wish I hadn’t eaten that packet of beet crystals that normally give me a boost on an empty stomach. My stomach wasn’t empty that day, note to self.
So, yeah, as that finish time slipped farther and farther away and the heat and the humidity rose higher and higher, I made a note to self to run more in the heat.
And I reminded myself, with the extra time, of all the small wins and personal bests that brought me to this beautiful trail run hosted by a wonderful group of volunteers on, really, an okay day to run.
So, the next time you have a setback, a screw up, a failure, just remember that it was only those personal bests and achievements that brought you to this moment, far from your safe harbor. Don’t deny it. Figure out a solution to keep moving and assess your experience for the lessons to be learned so you can keep moving forward to reach the other shore.
My other shore includes benching my weight 30 reps, 20 pullups, a marathon under 5 hours and an ultra-marathon by next July.
I’ll let you know.