Two weeks ago, I ran my 10th and slowest marathon to date.
I had a new running partner and friend by my side for the entire 20 weeks of training. Things didn’t go as well as either of us would have liked but, we stayed focused.
My goal going into this training cycle was to get close to my marathon personal record (PR) time or better yet, set a new PR.
I ran easy. I ran fast. I ran long.
I foam rolled. I strength trained. I stretched.
I went to physical therapy. I rested. I trained my brain.
I foam rolled some more.
On paper I did everything right during this training cycle.
My outlook on this race changed a week and a half before the race. After putting so much time, thought and heart into training, suddenly the Philly Marathon just didn’t seem so important. The week before the race, I adjusted my goal to something really simple – to run a negative split without any sort of time goal.
It’s possible things went south weeks before this though. After only missing two training runs in the first 17 weeks of training I had to take a dramatic taper. Instead of being confident in my abilities, I was just hoping to be able to make it to the start line without an injury. At this point I was struggling to get my mental act together.
After cheering on everyone who ran the New York City Marathon, I found peace with where I was and how I thought things would go down in Philly. I was excited to run. I was excited about my new goal.
Obviously, things did not go my way in Philly and I’m okay with it. I’m still processing the experience, but I know there are more lessons to be learned.
Running has already taught me that I can do hard things like run the last 12 miles of a marathon on a sprained ankle in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon (read that story here). When I was a kid it showed me that I could feel good about myself and brought me hope when I felt hopeless.
Why I run and what I get from running happens in the day to day. Occasionally that occurs on a single day – race day, but those single days of glory were the result of hundreds and thousands of runs added up over time.
Race day was not a good day, but all of a sudden I don’t care anymore. I’m grateful for the experiences that led me to that day and I’m grateful for the unpredictability of what life throws at me.
As someone once said, “The miles change you.”