So I have been thinking A LOT about the marathon on Saturday and I have learned a few things that I would like to share.
First of all, let me start by saying that I had a goal of finishing the marathon in 3:30:00. Did this happen? NO! It certainly did not. My "official" time was 3:31:49. Should I freak out about 1:49? Probably not, so I won't. I kind of messed myself up a bit on the timing. When I made a "pit stop" at the halfway point I stopped my Garmin. I always stop my watch on training runs so I automatically did on race day. I guess it can be a good thing to stop your watch so that you know your true pace. BUT when you forget that you stopped your watch and you look down and see that you should have plenty of time to run that last mile, this can cause a problem. They switched the finish line this year from the Provo Towne Centre Mall to the Utah County Building. I thought that was a BRILLIANT move on their part...until I was running and could see the blasted finish line from 3 miles away. The last mile as I was running I could have sworn that the blasted finish was getting further and further away. But I was certain that I would accomplish my goal, I knew I could get there just in time. Then I quickly realized that I was off by a couple of minutes and it was far too late to try to make up that difference now. Not only was I done physically but emotionally as well. When I was FINALLY close enough to see the time, mind you I am pretty blind...shhh, I knew I had not come in under 3:30. I wasn't planning on sprinting to the end, I just didn't think I had it in me. But when Rachelle caught up we both sprinted to the end. I am so glad that I did, it's better to get 3:31:49 than 3:32:00 right?
I did qualify for Boston which was my original goal but then I thought "I can do better than that." And a 8 minute mile pace didn't seem like an extreme goal at all. So while I didn't reach one goal, I far exceeded the other.
I also have to look at it like last year at the same race I finished in 3:51:51. I shaved 20 minutes off of my time. I went from placing 56th in my age group last year to 16th this year.
I will be honest, when I got home on Saturday I was kind of being hard on myself. I had set a goal and I didn't accomplish it. I KNEW I was more than capable of getting 3:30 and it made me so mad, I knew I had made a stupid mistake and I was beating myself up about it.
In the beginning I saw Seth from my work and I wanted so badly to be able to be with his pace group, even though I knew very well it was too fast for me. So being the foolish gal that I am I ran somewhere around 6 miles with them. I know better than to start a race out faster than I should. I felt fine though, I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard. But as I was running along I realized that there was no way I could possibly keep up that pace for 26.2 miles. I settled into my own groove and ran alone for the remainder of the race. I was far enough ahead that I was surrounded by all men, I REALLY didn't want to strike up a conversation with some old man. And by the time the women started popping up I was cramping and miserable and I didn't care to talk to anyone. As I think back though I think it would have really helped me mentally to have had someone to talk to.
Another thing that I learned is that you never know what your body is going to give you on any given day. I have NEVER cramped up before and wasn't expecting that. At mile 16 or so I tried to take my last Salt Stick pill but as I was getting it out I dropped it. I wasn't about to stop and pick it up off of the road...I probably should have though.
So what I have I learned through all of this? Well, first of all when I do the Top of Utah Marathon I will stick with a pace group that I can actually finish with. I read all about Rachelle's experience (runningfortrevor.blogspot.com) and I loved hearing about all of the people she ran with. I think I would have had a much more pleasant experience had I done that. I would have gotten the same time but it would have been much more enjoyable. I will also have ample Salt Sticks next time. I realized after that as I ran through most of the aid stations I just took water and not Powerade. The gum that I was chewing was too sweet and I couldn't handle anymore sweetness. I thought that with having the Salt pills I would be fine with just water. Apparently I was wrong.
Sorry for the boring post, I just had to get that out :) I keep trying to remind myself that I still did really good and I accomplished part of my goal. I have another chance in a few months and I have learned some very valuable lessons. I can also say that I truly gave it my all. Last year I finished feeling great which means that I didn't push myself enough, this time I know that I did all that I could. And I guess that's all that I can expect of myself.
When you don't accomplish a goal how do you bounce back from that?
Is anyone doing the Top of Utah with a goal of 3:30 that would like to run it with me?