Monday, May 23, 2011

The Aftermath

Marathon # 4 is officially in the books, there were no unicorns or glitter in this thing, only sweat and pain. Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic but it was pretty damn tough. The Coach and several others asked what I thought went wrong. Great question.
I worked my ass off training for this thing and had at least a couple of training runs where I managed to run 24 miles in 3:15 running in zone 2 heart rate or less (that means I was running at an easy pace). Maybe it was partially mental, maybe it just wasn't my day. I don't recall doing anything different or out of the ordinary that would have caused the meltdown.

Quick Race Summary.
Felt great at the start, it wasn't raining as had been forecast. Temperature was in the mid to high 50's and felt good. I never once felt like I was overheated or dehydrated, in fact I was trucking right along but when I checked my heart rate at the 10K split it was a little higher than I thought it should have been. I didn't panic but I was a little concerned because we still had 20 miles to go. I focused on being relaxed, face, shoulders, arms, breathing....nice and easy. This worked for a little while but it still continued to creep up and by the time I hit mile 12 I was into zone 4 and I knew I couldn't maintain the pace for another 14 miles. I kept it going until mile 15 and then it was all down hill from there, mentally and physically. My back and my feet started hurting (this is not typical at all for me), and then after 20 I was pretty much done. My calves and feet were cramping and it was a miserable slog to the end.

I was pretty mad about the whole thing for awhile during and after the race but I am over it now. I know I did the work, I ran a fair race, and I do see another marathon or more in my future.

For now...I am going to focus on recovery and getting back to the basics...enjoying running. I feel my strength is in the half marathon or less, I want to get better, stronger, and smarter at the marathon plus.

I know this still doesn't answer the question....what went wrong? Here are possibly a few reasons, no excuses, it's all water under the bridge now but these are some things that I will change.

  • Sleep number bed at the Radisson - I didn't like it the night before my half mary in Springfield and had it again in Fargo. That's the only thing I can think of that caused my back pain. Sleep number beds are out of the race plan.
  • Mental - this whole BQ thing seems a little heavy. I like to set and reach goals, but I am not sure that this one is for me. I don't mean to sound like a whiny giver-upper because I am not. But I am not going to hang my entire reason for running on a BQ, it's not worth it. I run for me.
  • Tactical - Next marathon will be on my time at my pace. No pacers, no pressure, just a nice relaxed pace with the goal of finishing with a negative split and not wanting to die afterwards.

If you would like to know more about the Fargo Marathon, Jim Weatherly gives a pretty spot on review on his blog 50 after 40.

Here's the rest of the story.


  1. I think you nailed it in one sentence, Jeff: "I run for me." We (all us weird runner types) get caught up in the numbers and goals and things we think we should make (BQ's being one of them) and we forget why we do this in the first place - we run for us. We run because we love running. As soon as we forget that, we might as well stop.

    I'm very proud of you and your run this weekend. Great job and it was awesome to see you again. Next time we'll have to have more time to catch up. :)

  2. Sorry it didn't go as planned, but it sounds like you've got the right attitude to get past it. Totally understand your frustration though--this about summarizes my blowup there last year. (Maybe it's Fargo?!?!) Anyways, congrats on another finish. You're getting fast as hell and you'll have the marathon PR that matches all the other speedy ones soon, I'm sure.