Tuesday, December 18

Quest to Boston Part III: Third Time Not a Charm

My attempts to qualify for Boston by running 26.2mi in 3:04:59:

1.       Chicago Marathon – October 9, 2011:  3:10:52
The theme: Excitement and pride. “It felt great to fail” as you may recall.  I didn't hit my goal, but I PR’d by a whopping 20min. I had overcome some anxiety and absolutely loved running in Downtown Chicago.

2.       Chicago Marathon – October 11, 2012:  3:10:25
The theme: Disappointment, but more than that, anger. One year later everything was just right. I was in better shape, more confident, more experienced and the weather was perfect. I came away from this race pissed off and ready to avenge my shortcoming on my home court in Dallas.

3.       Dallas Marathon – December 9, 2012: Did Not Finish
The theme: Too much too soon. With the Chicago Marathon a mere two months prior, I may have overextended myself to try and BQ here.

After debriefing with my coach we determined that I wasn't tapered/recovered enough for the race. Granted I knew from the get-go I was rolling the dice on Dallas. It often takes weeks to fully recover from a marathon.

As soon as I started running I felt that something was off. My HR was way higher than it should have been given my pace and previous runs (symptom of not being fully recovered). I ignored it and stuck to the plan. Through mile 14 I was feeling positive, and then I took a turn into the wind at White Rock Lake. At this point my legs started talking to me. Talking soon became yelling, and before I knew it I had fallen victim to 'run-walk, run-walk.' I gutted it out to 19 and then after doing several cost-benefit analyses determined it wasn't my day. I jogged to 21, saw my family, and pulled the rip chord. No sense in struggling through 5 miles to get a medal. I've done the completions; this was Boston or bust.

Someone said to me after the race, "It's a live and learn sport." So true. Amazing how much you learn about endurance sports and more importantly yourself through the training and then the racing. It also occurred to me exactly what it is that I'm trying to do. Trying to qualify for Boston isn't like taking the GMAT. If you get a lousy score you can't just re-schedule and try again the following weekend. It's not like golf or tennis; a coach can't tweak your back-swing or suggest a different follow-through that you can implement and try immediately. Marathoning takes time, and it takes a ton out of you. If I could sign up for another marathon tomorrow and try again I would... or would I?

I also realized through all of this that will power is a muscle.  And like every muscle that you utilize, you also have to rest it. I had been so laser-focused on Chicago for months, and then immediately went back into focusing on Dallas. Recovery is not only essential for the muscles to come back stronger, but for the mind as well. Which is exactly what I'll do through the Holidays. Back at it in 2013.  Until then...

Thanks for all the support, I'm incredibly blessed.  Jessie, Mom, Dad, Kylie, Sadie, Small Group, Family, Friends, Coach Mike, Coach David, SWA, etc. God is good.

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