|Expo board signing|
The Maui Marathon.
It is a race I have done multiple years. In 2010 I ran the half marathon. That was my first step into marathoning. It was a strategic step. The launching pad and building block to run my first marathon in 2011 and yes, it was the Maui Marathon. 2013 represented my third consecutive year to run the Maui Marathon and my fourth marathon. I had big dreams. Big goals. High hopes. And when it comes down to it, even though I put my faith in higher hands I truly believed my goal was doable and in reach. I totally believed I could, and would, break a 4:20 marathon. I envisioned success. I believed.
At the start I actually bumped into a sweet lady I had been coaching to run her first marathon. It was nice to see her at the start, talk a bit, and see her enthusiasm. Her goals changed during training and today it was to just finish....okay, hopefully finish under 5 hours. I am sure many of you can relate to the no time goal kinda having a time goal behind it. I totally understood her drive and knew she would achieve her dreams. She did.
There was a little fire dance show before all the runners lined up in their corrals and walked to the start. With a final drumming the start flag lowered and streamers shot into the air. And just like that, the race started.
I focused on starting smart and fell immediately into a running pace that felt just right. At mile 2 I checked in on my pace. Yep, a little fast but not my typical too fast start. I was happy with it. I felt good and strong. Shortly thereafter the lady I had been coaching was at my side and we started pacing each other. Yes, my goal was to break a 4:20 marathon. Her goal was to finish. But I knew her training paces and I knew we were fine running together. We did until mile 11 or so when she let me know I could "go get your 4:20". I gave her a thumbs up and kept on running happy.
I was feeling good. We had been maintaining a steady pace and didn't get crazy on the pali hills. I ran through the tunnel alone and knew I was approaching the second half of the course and nerves started building up. Historically it is the second half of this course that kills me. Last year it was miserable. I feared a repeat occurrence and tried to remind myself it is a whole new year, a new race. At the halfway mark I was at 2 hours. My mind worried a bit as I was just ahead of the time I hit this mark last year and last year my body got beat up. I reminded myself last year I was also hurting by now. I wasn't hurting. I told myself I was fine.
I really don't remember much of the next 5 miles. The beach stretch didn't bug me like it did the year before but I was heating up. At mile 18 I can definitely tell you I started walking. My head was fuzzy. I was going to just walk a few cones and start running again. The walking lasted longer than I wanted. It was hard to get to running again but I did. At mile 18 I was still on target to break 4:20 but I also knew my window of opportunity was beginning to close. I knew I couldn't keep slowing down and achieve my goal. I ran/walk and tried to keep my electrolytes up and the fuzzy head feeling at bay. Somewhere along the line I took a shaved ice that was offered and savored the ice. At mile 21 I was dying and at this point all my emotions became very raw. I knew the 4:20 was gone. I didn't see how I could convert this run/walk pace into 10'00" miles to the end. I felt I could still PR and tried to motivate myself to reach for my A goal instead of my A+ goal. I couldn't find the drive. At that point in time, a PR didn't matter. I didn't want a PR. I wanted to break 4:20. I know it sounds odd. A PR is wonderful and would have been cherished but in all reality, I was frustrated, mad, annoyed, disheartened, beat up. Take your pick.
Bad thoughts plagued me for the next mile. I was ready to give up this darn marathoning idea. Perhaps it wasn't for me. Perhaps it wasn't meant for me to ever achieve my dreams. Perhaps I was no good. And that darn Honolulu Marathon in December? Well, I only paid $26.20 and I'm not going. Dear hubby can go and stay in the hotel room himself! Hmmm....I bought my airline ticket already. Okay, I'm going. But I give up on reaching my goals! I'm done! Never again! But I kinda like my running streak. I am running tomorrow!
The main thing that really struck me though is that I felt I was letting people down. Each and every person who believed in me and told me that had faith in me. I felt like I was failing you and that hurt the worst. It took time for me to realize I was running for me, not anyone else really. That my story wasn't a story of failure per se. Yes, I wasn't going to reach my goals. Yes, I would tell the world about my experience. But I am not the only runner in the world to watch a goal slip away. And I had a B goal. To come out of this race ready to train for the Honolulu. How ironic is it that the race I was ready to skip was becoming my priority? That deep down those dreams of breaking a 4:20 in December were outweighing a PR today. I didn't fully realize in that minute that was where my priorities were but I do see it now.
I needed to finish this race. I noticed my hand feeling tight and looked down to see my hands were indeed swollen. I was also craving salt like crazy. I just wanted pretzels. I skipped on plain water and only did sports drinks to keep electrolytes coming in and hoped there was a good amount of sodium in them. I even went as far to take some trail mix that was offered since I saw a nut and was dreaming of salt. That almond had no salt and only achieved one thing - making me very sick to my stomach. I dug deep and told myself I was doing my best. Walking was okay. I told myself that my fast walk may even be faster than the slow jog I was doing. I told myself it was okay.
|Top 8 F 40-44 Maui Marathon 2013|
Eventually the tears dried up and I could chat with other runners and the stories were very similar. So many of us saw our goals slip away at about the same time. Saw our best race ever change into something else. It seems to be the ongoing story of the Maui Marathon. The second half is hot. Watch The Ultramarathon Man 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days....the heat in the second half enters that story too.
Yesterday morning I woke up sore but not dying. My stiff legs carried me to my car to drive to work. On the way tears welled up again probably motivated by the fear of answering questions of how I did and feeling like a failure, that I let people down. Yes, that feeling was still toying with me. It didn't take long for me to refocus my mind and come up with the idea to get a running coach. Yes, I am a coach. Yes, I can make killer plans. But perhaps I need someone looking over me and pushing me. Helping me to dig deeper and not give in to excuses. Because in all reality, I know a number doesn't matter but I also know I want to set a good example for darling daughter. An example of not giving up. An example of pushing for your dreams and doing everything you can to achieve them. The only failure is not trying and giving it your all. And I refuse to fail. I may fall down a million times but I will get back up. And I have to believe that one day will be my day. I have faith.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that the running coach I contacted is willing to train me when I also have my side goal of running every single day.
Daily Affirmation: I am okay.