Back when you were in school, did you ever spend hours, days, weeks, etc. studying and prepping for a big test or project and you just knew you were getting an A, only to get the final grade as an 89? It’s still a great grade, not an A, but amazing and something to be proud of, right?
That’s the only way I can really describe how I felt right after the NYC Marathon. I actually think Kara’s blog post sums up my feelings and was able to put it into words perfectly (obviously I’m no elite, but my emotions were similar) but I will work on sharing my thoughts. I hope that you can see that while I’m happy, I know I’m capable of more. Please don’t see this as me being hard on myself or unhappy…it’s just more a list of thoughts and things to focus on next go round.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I stick to a training plan. I don’t think I skipped a single run this training cycle. I went to PT, chiro, sports massage, cross trained and went to pilates religiously to make sure I was taking care of my body. In order to be dedicated to my training runs, I had to pass on Friday nights out with friends (and sometimes Saturdays because I was so tired), passed on alcohol and dessert more times than I can count, and often rearranged my personal calendar to get my workouts in. Yep. That crazy about this training cycle (very much a part of my personality- anything I do gets 110%, not just the marathon).
I truly felt prepared- I had done all of the above and felt confident going into the race.
I tried my best to stick to the race facts in my race recap, but want to share a little more about what I’ve wayyyy over-evaluated in the past week. It may sound like a bunch of crap to you, but it’s something I want in writing to remind myself of how I felt post race, things I need to work on in the future, and why the marathon didn’t go as perfectly as I had wanted.
The main thing I was disappointed in was my attitude. My first few texts and phone calls immediately post marathon involved frown faces and tears. I still hit my B goal and should’ve be SO excited with my PR and BQ but to be extremely honest, I wasn’t. AT ALL. It took a few hours to calm down and realize that some things were out of my control that day.
1. The weather. I said all along, there is a lot you can’t really predict on race day. Lord knows, 2014 has been my year to fight with the weather. I think I’ve only raced on a decent weather day 1-2 times out of 10 plus races this year. Why should I be so lucky on my marathon? 20-30 mph winds were INTENSE. I don’t think I realized how much of a difference they made on my race until I heard how it affected other people, too.2. Those people the weather affected? Not only my friends, but the pro’s. The 2014 marathon results for the pros were the slowest since 1995. Seeing that they struggled somehow made me feel better.
3. When we all knew the wind was going to be an issue, I was given the advice to draft off of the people around me to block the wind. Well, that wasn’t really an option for me. I had originally put down a 3:43 goal, so many of the people in my wave were shooting for a 3:45 (pacer was in my group). I spent most of my race passing people, not able to stay and draft off of anyone, so I spent a lot of effort fighting the wind on my own.
4. I hit the wall, HARD. I somehow dug myself out a bit to still get a sub 3:40, but I lost SO MUCH time during those last miles. I felt so good in the beginning and the race seemed to literally fly by…until those last few miles. I didn’t want a positive split race, my goal was to go 8:10 until mile 20 and kick it into gear, not the opposite. The main reason I think that happened? See #5 next.5. I couldn’t tell how much I had dehydrated until it was too late. I had read before the race that you need to make sure you hydrate enough because the wind and cool weather can be deceiving. I was following a hydration plan that had me carry 30oz of my own fluids, 4 hammergels, plus the aid stations if I needed them. I thought I had enough to get me through the race. I didn’t realize how much I had actually lost until it was too late.
I was sweating more than I thought, and once I took my gloves off (around mile 18 or 19) and felt my face covered in salt, I realized it. I tried to catch up with another hammergel, gatorade and more water, but it was too late. Once I took my hat off post race, it was half white from all the salt, too. And even after rehydrating, it took me a while post race to even have to pee. Obviously, I still failed in the hydration part. I’m going to continue working with my nutritionist to see what will work for me, but I’m thinking maybe salt tablets would help too.
6. The course itself is challenging. I think I underestimated this a TON. Rich bought ($5 so well spent) an excel spreadsheet that allowed you to put in a goal time that would help with pacing, tracking your runner (if spectating), etc. On the very first page, I saw this.Oh, a 3:35 in NYC is similar to a 3:30 on a flat course. Hmm. I really wanted to think that course wasn’t as tough as it was, and it wasn’t going to be as hilly as Atlanta. While that is still true, it’s where the hills are in the race that make it so challenging. Bottom line, it wasn’t like I chose a BQ friendly course, I just wanted to run what I knew I was capable of doing.
7. I ran a positive split race. That’s not something you really want to see. It was definitely not in my plan. And while I still BQ’d, I know that it’s most likely not enough to get into Boston in 2016. Last year’s cutoff was 1:02 and I only have 41 seconds off my qualifying time. Yep. That is that.
I have continued to question myself. Did I over train? Was my goal too lofty? Did I need another solid year of longer distance (more marathons) post hip surgery to really get me where I wanted to be? Was I just not ready for that pace at a marathon? These are things that I will never know.
One thing I do know, is that I have the most amazing set of friends and family, IRL and through the internets. I’m incredibly thankful for your support, kinds words, and thoughtfulness during my training and post marathon.
So, what’s done is done and it’s time to move forward. Every marathon is a learning experience and you never know what you are going to get on race day. I know I will continue to work on the things that went wrong (mainly hydration/nutrition and more on that soon) and be proud of the things that I did right. I have no doubt in my abilities and what I will be able to do with more and more experience and mileage under my belt. I’m currently planning out next year. Nothing is final yet, but I can guarantee a spring marathon in my plan to put it all there, again. I’m really excited to see what I can do. Here’s hoping for that perfect day where the stars align in my running world in 2015.
Do you overanalyze or are you good at putting things behind you and moving forward? Has something come in the way of your big goal on race day (weather, sickness, travel issues, etc.)? Are you running a marathon in 2015? If so, which one?