Marathon #2 Recap and Facing Failure

It’s been about 10 days since I ran my second marathon. I have mixed feelings on the entire experience. After a week and a half of reflecting, I’ve made peace with the results. When I set out for this training cycle, my goal was to run the marathon in 3:59:59. I failed to reach that goal. And while I know my body can (and will) run under 4 hours, I just didn’t have it in me that day. I’d love to give you a great excuse– I only got two hours of sleep, or it was oppressively humid, or I forgot my sneakers- but none of that was the case. In addition, I failed to accomplish my second goal of running the full 26.2 miles without stopping to walk. Ooof! So far, not great! But here’s the good- I ran a marathon! And I PR’d by 5 minutes! And I walked less than the first time around!

I was trying to smile for the camera.

Here’s a little race breakdown:

  • Miles 1-2: Started out feeling OK, but around 1.5 miles in I knew it was going to be a tough race, and I remember thinking I wasn’t going to reach my goal. My hydration backpack with all my chews felt extremely heavy and my mindset wasn’t great.
  • Mile 3-8: Felt OK, but my glutes and back were starting to get tight.
  • Mile 9-12: I wanted to quit. My legs were tired, my glutes and back felt so uncomfortable and I even said to Nick, “I want to quit.” To which he responded, “no, you don’t” and then we kept running in silence because he was right.
  • Mile 12-20: Dread. My music wasn’t hitting right and it was a dreary day, a boring course, and Nick and I separated around mile 16.
  • Mile 20-26.2: By mile 20 it became obvious that unless I picked up the pace and kept running for the rest of the race, I wasn’t going to hit my goal. I told myself, I just need to do better than I did last time. I walked a little bit, then started running again. I felt awful and I almost started crying at multiple points.
  • Finish Line: My legs felt like jelly. I felt this race was a lot more challenging for me both mentally and physically than my first marathon.

I learned a lot during this training cycle and during the race. First, not all 26.2 miles are created equal. This course was pretty flat and so was the first one I ran in May; however, this one was boring and there wasn’t a lot of spectators because we were running along a parkway. I do better when there’s more to look at. Another big takeaway: running with a hydration backpack is not for me. I’ll do it during training runs but I need to find an alternative for race day. I know there’s water on the courses but I prefer to have something on me so I don’t have to slow down. Plus, it’s easier to drink from a straw or water bottle than it is through a cup when you’re running. I just end up getting it all over myself. Also, I want to get away from using the blok chews as my fuel source. My plan going into the race was to eat a package at miles 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25. I got through mile 15 and then I couldn’t bring myself to eat again. I think that worked to my detriment but I felt full and didn’t want to chew. I want to find a gel because there’s no chewing involved and they’re lighter to carry. Lastly, I need to work on my core strength. During this cycle, I didn’t make it a point to keep a consistent strength training routine, including core work. I think this hurt me, as well, so I want to make sure that I keep that consistent during the next cycle.

Before I wrap this up with what’s next for my running, I want to address the fact that I think it’s important to own our failures. I know that me setting a goal for myself to run a marathon in under 4 hours is something I put on myself and it doesn’t matter to the rest of the world. But I think it’s important to set goals for yourself. It’s a healthy part of being human to try to improve at things and be a little better, smarter, or in this case, faster than I was yesterday. However, sometimes when you set goals, you fail to achieve them. And that’s OK. To me, failing is a sign that I tried to do something that was difficult. It wasn’t something that I knew I could easily do. That wouldn’t be a goal, that would just be any regular day. I’m really proud of myself for committing to run another marathon, completing the marathon and doing it 5 minutes faster than I ran my first one. The goal of running it in under 4 hours without stopping isn’t going anywhere and the good news is that I’m on no timeline to get it done. (But you can rest assured, I WILL get it done).

Next up? I plan to run the Long Island Marathon again in May 2023. They haven’t announced the date but I think it’s going to be the first Sunday in May. I also put my name into the lottery for the 2023 Chicago Marathon which is in October of next year. I am hoping that both Nick and I get into the race and we can run it together. Lastly, I am working with a running coach beginning next week. I’m excited to work with someone that can hold me accountable to running certain paces and challenge me to do track workouts– something I’ve done maybe a handful of time since running track in high school. I’m excited for this new chapter in my running career and will be sure to share updates along the way.

Until next time, āœŒšŸ»šŸƒšŸ½ā€ā™€ļøā¤ļø

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