Saturday, September 22, 2012

Determined

Today was a rough day.

Here is my Facebook status from shortly after the Denver Rock n Roll Marathon -

"Lesson learned. No more back to back marathons. Today was the hardest race I have ever run. From mile 2 I knew it was not my day. At mile 12 I almost quit. At almost every other mile I wanted to quit but I was determined to NOT get another DNF. As much as I am unhappy with my time of 3:55 I am proud I finished. Time to recover and rest. 3:17 pr will hang out a little longer."

I slept well. I ate well. I was well-hydrated. I was excited to race. I thought I was ready to run fast. 

And I just wasn't.

It was a battle from the beginning. And let me tell you - when you are working way too hard at mile 3 of a 26.2 mile race and barely hitting your goal pace (which should be easy to do), it is a long road ahead of you. 

Nothing hurt like an injury, but everything hurt. My legs felt like tree trunks. I had no energy and no giddy-up.  I tried to think positively and tell myself that maybe I would warm up, find another gear, feel better, etc. but it just did not happen.

By the 10 mile point I wondered how on earth I would go another 16+ miles. I considered just finishing the half marathon (the half marathoners started with us), and with that thought, I honestly wondered if I could make it another 3.1 miles. 

But at 11.5 miles, when I had to choose the path to the left (marathoners) or to the right (half marathoners) I went left, and I vowed that I would finish no matter what. There may not be a PR or even an impressive time, but there would NOT be another DNF. 

It was the hardest race I have ever run. The course was beautiful. The weather was great. There was no reason for it to be so hard, except my body just did not want to go. 

My mom was AMAZING. She was all over and managed to be on the course to support me and cheer at the finish. Seeing her was a huge boost and helped me keep fighting, even though it felt horrible and a little embarrassing to have her there for me and to be doing so poorly.

I finished in 3:55:54. It is a time that I am not proud of, and that I am proud of all at the same time. It would have been easy to quit. It is very easy to think, "I am not having a good race. I am not going to finish with a good time. Why bother finishing? Why keep suffering?" It's easy to look at all the faster girls and wonder if you will ever be as good of a runner as they are, and then to get discouraged.

Lessons were learned, a new level of determination was found, AND, despite everything else feeling awful, my stomach was better than ever. 

I am bummed and disappointed, but NOT discouraged or defeated. I will learn from this and move forward. I will be proud that I chose to finish instead of quit. I am more determined than ever. I will be a better, smarter, faster, and stronger runner from this experience.  I do so love this sport.

Looking forward - moving forward.

Tallahassee Marathon is on February 2. Fast and flat course, sea level, smaller field, and home to my best friend in the whole world. :) Josh and I are running NY in November but it will not be a race for me, it will just be a fun (long) training run. 

For now, rest and recovery (both mentally and physically). 

Time for food. And sleep. Thanks for all the love and support.

39 comments:

Beth @ Miles and Trials said...

Erin, you continue to amaze me. Sharing both your ups and downs with us is brave and inspiring. You will continue to get stronger mentally and physically, I have no doubt.

susette said...

Much deserved rest and sleep for you!! You work so hard at what you do and I am so impressed with your abilities. I know you aren't happy with your time and I was so happy to see you finish this anyway. Way to fight through!

I had the same option in my race today at the bottom of the canyon to turn and go with the half marathoners. I was tempted but knew I had to do this and so I continued with the path I set out from the beginning to accomplish.

This marathon business is TOUGH stuff. I'm not sure I like it yet. Half marathons are just such a more happy place for me right now! So hats off to you and what you are accomplishing!!

emlizalmo said...

I love this, Erin. I love the imagery that came into my head as I read about you choosing the left fork when the road split. I think that says everything about you as a runner and as a person.

Jen@runfortheboys said...

Tears...this morning during the race and reading this now. I hope you could feel all the love and support behind you...Josh and I texting away watching your splits. As always, your beautiful spirit shines through your humble words...no blame games and simply recognizing it for what it was. You will learn from this and continue moving forward with a whole new bag of lessons in your arsenal...one of the most impressive of which is your strength and determination when it would have been easier to throw in the towel. A lesser athlete would have done just that. You didn't. You stayed the course. You kept your focus. As crazy as it might sound to you at his moment, you are more inspirational in your thoughts and feelings about today than you could have been if everything had gone perfectly. We grow when times are hard. We learn the most about ourselves during those moments when we want to give up. And it is in those moments when we show the world what we are truly made of.

I am so excited that you are coming to run Tallahassee. It is a wonderful course and the best part is you are staying with me :-) I am going to be the loudest craziest cheerleader you have ever seen.

Kathy said...

I know this wasn't the race you were hoping for but I love that you finished ... I know how hard that can be when things are aren't clicking. I loved meeting you yesterday - you are such an inspiration!! Onward to other and faster days!

Penny said...

congrats to you for following it to the finish,especially when you are not really feeling to day. You will get that 3.15 just not today. Take care. You are so inspiring to others.

Happy Running Mama said...

Congrats, Erin, on finishing what was a very hard-fought 3:55. I know it wasn't the time you were hoping for but maybe (in some way) you will learn more from this than if you had finished in a 3:25. Sometimes we learn more about ourselves from the times we fight and do not quit than from times that we cruise to a finish that also isn't a PR.

You are a HUGE inspiration for me and I am so happy I found your blog. And I found Coach Rick because of you, too! We are just embarking on our journey together but I already feel like I know so much about him from everything you have said.

Rest, relax and give your body a much-needed chance to recover from the past couple of weeks. It is great to know your stomach cooperated today!! That is something to be excited about (speaking from experience)!!

xo

winnerswearyellow said...

Congratulations! Success is not a finishing time. You worked hard and you should feel so proud.

winnerswearyellow said...

Congratulations! Success is not a finishing time. You worked hard and you should feel so proud.

Jill said...

I know these races are tough to swallow after all the hard work you did...I've been there a few times myself. But you stuck it out and that takes a lot of grit when you feel like crap! The altitude had to be a big factor here and possibly the cause of some of the heavy legs...I am very impressed by your determination and you will now, and forever, be a huge inspiration to me. I hope you had a great time in my city while here :)...onward and upward from here on out!
xo

Mark Matthews said...

Goals change midway through, and this race certainly squeezed some of your best stuff out of you. Perceived effort and finishing time are two different things.

Your workouts, to me, show your capable of some 3's or less (and to that famouse dude Bart Yasso with your 800 times) so you know they are coming.

Running Moose said...

Way to fight for every single step of this marathon, Erin and to not give up. That's a win in my book especially when you feel absolutely horrible and know you don't have it, but push through to the finish. That time and your determination are something to be proud of!

Bill Fine said...

Erin, your determination is a model for others to follow, and in the face of a bad day, you choose to take the positive lessons that come from that experience, even when you might have wanted to do a little wallowing! :>)

Your PR is still out there.....and I have no doubt you'll get it soon. Way to persevere and finish what you started!

robinbb said...

Races like these are THE hardest but the best for us in training. It is all part of the experience and we learn from them. I am sorry yesterday wasn't what you wanted, but I know you will take from it what you need to become a strong runner. I won't say 3:55 is a great time and you should be happy, because I am sure you hate that time. I will say, way to tough it out. You have so much ahead of you!!!

mfranks said...

Sorry that Denver didn't go as planned. I am with some of the others that have mentioned you should start to just focus on 2-3 marathons a year....that way you can get in a full training cycle before each of them.
3:17 is a great marathon, and if your goal in 4 years is 2:45, you need to shift your focus to training more and racing less. Potentially, you could end up with three marathon PRs in 12 months if you get the training in correctly.

Even if you finish a race and doesn't feel hard, it still does damage to your body that you can't see. Give yourself sometime to recover, go at another PR in February. Congrats on the great training and racing.

Kristin said...

Congrats on FINISHING. Every run is different, and every race you have to run YOUR race, whether it be your goal race or an in it to finish race. Hoping to get bloggers together for a meet up in NYC, so glad to hear you'll be coming to the greatest city in the world!!!

Anonymous said...

My girl, watching you yesterday was an incredibly emotional experience_ right out of a Hollywood movie. The determination and commitment you showed will stay with me forever. I am so grateful to God that both Rick and I were able to cheer for you, pray for you and hug you at the finish line. Welcome home. You have earned a hero's welcome. I love you,
Pam

Anonymous said...

Last year I ran the Colfax Marathon in Denver in May. It was cold and rainy (even snowy) and a terrible day, as I was not trained properly (finishing my PhD was my priority last spring). I wanted to give up and I even spent 3 miles looking for a van to come by and bring me back but none were there. So my only option was to run and finish. Even though I finished in about 5 hours, it was an amazing finish, as I was so proud of myself that I had done it! I made it when I thought there was no other way and I was SO HAPPY to be done and finished. For what its worth (and I know this may sound inappropriate--I do not mean it to be), plenty of people would kill for a sub-4 hour marathon. There is a bright side here! You are a great runner and do not always need to prove that with each race.

Nicole said...

Onward and upward, Erin. No mater how long we have been runners, there is still plenty to learn. You finished and did not quite and that is wonderful!

Denise said...

Congratulations on your finish. The fact that you were able to find the strength and determination to see this difficult race through just shows how strong and amazing you are.

Laura @ Mommy run fast said...

I love the comment about sharing your ups and downs... I completely agree. I love how "real" you are- this is how races go for the rest of us! :) Although I am so sorry, I know how disappointing that must have been. Good for you for pushing through to finish! Rest and recover, and be kind to yourself. :)

Anonymous said...

There is a reason why every runner gets a medal when they finish a marathon--because everyone who finishes is a winner. Really. Wear that medal with pride and hold your head up. :)

Raina said...

Racing is about taking risks. The bigger the risk sometimes brings the bigger reward. You have some guts Erin. We can only do our best to train, learn from our experiences, and seek guidance on the way. . You are strong in body and soul, and this is not where the story ends. Looking forward to the next chapter.
Lots of love, gal!

christa said...

You finished! Take care of yourself and recover smart!

Cat said...

Oh my dear. I'm so very very proud of you. :) I'm thinking February is going to be pretty epic...

misszippy said...

Really sorry you had a tough day out there--but, you proved that you are tougher than the day. That's something in which to take pride.

I know I've said it before and don't want to sound like a broken record, but you really are so new to all this. Everyone has a marathon like this--your number just came up this time. You learned from it and will move forward, and that's what counts.

Now take a little rest--your body wants it!

Rachelle Wardle said...

You are one tough cookie. Congrats on finishing another marathon Erin!

Shana said...

As always, I am encouraged by your honesty and transparency. And still so proud of you.

For me, that is one of the great mysteries of running; how some days you just have it, and some days you just don't.

DeVore Family said...

Long time reader first time commenting! :) Sorry to hear about your race, After reading about how good you felt going into the taper and the awesome workouts you had the week before I was shocked to read this race report. The "heavy leg" comment gave me flashbacks to when I went through an "overtraining" bout...*shudder*. Some days are just bad running days, all of the runners I interact with have said the same thing. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to bad running days, you just hope and pray its not a race day! I live in Utah county and have run a lot of the same races as you. This year I ran Utah Valley and Top of Utah. I too will be running NYC after a qualifying 1/2 marathon time last year. I was just rereading Pete Pfitzingers Advanced Marathon book and was particularly surprised about his recommendations for training after completing two marathons close together -its worth a review!

Jill said...

Sorry about your race, but I have confidence you will bounce back!

Teamarcia said...

Bleh, so sorry it wasn't your day. I was definitely feeling the altitude. Chalk it up as altitude training. I know you'll come back stronger than ever. So bummed I missed you!

Elly said...

Hey Erin, sorry to hear about your race. I love your determination, no matter the circumstances. Take care of yourself!

Momshomerun said...

Sounds like you ran this marathon on willpower! So well done. And your time is still impressive.

coach dion said...

I'm sorry it was a hard race.

Last week you were running 12 miles no problem and I see no reason you should have been running 12 - 20 miles with no problem on race day... So what went wrong?

I don't think it's so much the marathon of a couple of weeks ago, but something else. Now I'm not the expert, but I think your body is just shutting down... Look at it this way:

You do a lot, running and bringing up 100 kids (must feel like 100 some times). Now the week before your race (this is the 3rd time now) you taper and rest... Tainings gone well, race should be fine! but your body just won't work, it's still in shut down mode! and will take a few days to get going again. Ask any one who works in an office just how hard it is to start working on the first Monday back from a holiday!!! I think that is what is happening to you.

I think you and Coach Rick need to look at a different taper. Something like easy for the 2nd week before the marathon (any race) then start building it back up for the week of the race, I know lots of people (some athletes of mine) who just don't run well with a taper, so I get them to rest before, then get back into running and race!!!

I hope you and Rick work it out and I know you can dip 3 hours early next year...

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

Tears and hugs for you darling. I know this race was tough but it will prove to be one of your best memories and you chose to fight on. You are strong and wonderful. I know you really wanted a PR and that will come to. This is part of the journey getting you ready for that moment of success!

Suz and Allan said...

I hate the race didn't produce the time you were hoping for. The rough races seem to teach the most valuable lessons.

lindsay said...

well, you didn't get injured and you learned that you shouldn't run marathons this close together - could have been worse! better to learn lessons without any serious pains, right? i did two back-to-back, it is definitely not easy!

3:17 lives to see another day, but not for long! :)

brg said...

I think it's SUPER tough to finish when you are having a bad day...esp when your loved ones are there cheering for you. But you added to your mental toughness and didn't give up. that's a "win" in my book.

Anonymous said...

I think there might be something to this. Either your body really doesn't react well to the taper, 2 marathons were just too hard on your body, or maybe some serious overtraining. It just seems like you could have at least run this at your normal training paces, I don't get why it was so hard from the start. You've worked way too hard and had fantastic workouts - I know you've got a faster marathon in you. Best wishes!