Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Naperville Marathon 2014

I don't know what to say about this race.  I executed a great race.  I had the kind of race people dream about.  I ran every step - didn't walk once.  I ran tangents.  I tucked in behind people in the wind.  I paced very well.  Unfortunately, though, I came up short of my goal.  It has left me sad, frustrated, angry, disappointed, and motivated.

Race morning started well.  I woke up before my alarm; I got myself ready; I ate a small, nervous breakfast; and we were out the door early.  We found a parking spot close to the start/finish and we were there in plenty of time for me to use the bathroom twice, get off my sweats, and spend very little time cold in the corral.  I lined up around the 3:55 pace group as I like to start slow and then we were off.

I got into my race plan early - start slow, stay relaxed, move into race pace, drink/eat.  I didn't feel really great, but I was doing okay.  The miles were not ticking off quickly but I didn't feel really panicky either.  My low point of the race actually came early, around mile 9, when I thought about dropping out at the half, but I got my head back in the game quickly when I saw Amanda at mile 11 and Dave at mile 13.

Mile 1: 8:59
Mile 2: 8:29
Mile 3: 8:25
Mile 4: 8:12
Mile 5: 8:16
Mile 6: 8:11
Mile 7: 8:17
Mile 8: 8:20
Mile 9: 8:18
Mile 10: 8:24
Mile 11: 8:15
Mile 12: 8:18
Mile 13: 8:23

After the half marathoners turned off I noticed how windy it was.  I found a guy running the pace I wanted and shadowed him like I was his Siamese twin.  I really pissed him off.  At one point he looked at me and said something (I didn't hear it) and all I said was "Sorry.  I'm using you to block the wind."  Really I was unapologetic.  This was my race.  He must have felt like I was pushing him as he dropped off the pace.

Mile 14: 8:18
Mile 15: 8:13

Then I saw Amanda again.  She let me know the 3:40 group was right ahead of me and that I needed to move up to the next group to block the wind.  I caught them and kept behind them for the next two miles.

Mile 16: 8:31
Mile 17: 8:33

But, they weren't running fast enough for my goals, so I let them go.  And for the rest of the race I was in no-man's land.  I was feeling strong and really pumping but the paces just weren't falling.  I would try to use others to block the wind but I just couldn't find any consistent runners.  I kept looking for the 3:40 pace group as I knew if I could just get up to them I could hang on and use them.  Unfortunately though, I never saw them.

Mile 18: 8:20
Mile 19: 8:25
Mile 20: 8:27
Mile 21: 8:24

In the later miles, I was getting tired and I wanted to walk, but I was so close, SO DAMN CLOSE to hitting my goals.  I kept saying, "NO!  ONE MORE MILE!!!"  I saw Dave at mile 22 and told him it was going to be close.

Mile 22: 8:27
Mile 23: 8:44
Mile 24: 8:30

And at some point I knew I wasn't going to get that 3:40.  I was at peace with it.  I had run Boston several times before and really I just wanted to go in 2016 to see Andrea and Danielle.  There are other races; there are other goals.

Mile 25: 8:43
Mile 26: 8:39

Finally, I made the last turn, headed uphill (cruel joke) and dashed to the finish line.

Total time: 3:43:08
Place: 9/101 in my age group.

I'm not going to lie, I cried after the race.  I had a GREAT race and just came up short.  Looking back there isn't a whole lot that could have been done differently during the race.  Sure, there are many things that could have been done differently with my training and nutrition, but what is done is done.  And IF I decided to do another marathon in the spring I will certainly try a little harder with those pre-race items.  For now, I don't know what the next planning stages will bring.  I was not intending to run a marathon in 2015.  I have other goals and races I wanted to run.  I will admit, though, that I'm hungry to get back to my marathoning form.  I'm better than a 3:43 and I want to prove that to myself.  These next few weeks I'm going to rest, enjoy the holidays, and spend time with my favorite little boy. 

1 comment:

Carina said...

Aye, I can imagine your disappointment. If you're so inclined read some recent Meb stuff -- in some ways, your race makes me think of him -- pushing your best for the day, even when there seems to be no reason b/c you'll finish 4th (in the Olympics and in NYC, and out of the money/medals). I struggle so much with running a good race even when the original goal becomes impossible, and you really kept it up. I'm jealous of that. Keep your chin up, looking forward to seeing what's next.