Jun 21, 2017

Dear Marathon: Why????

Last weekend I finished Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN. That finishes a year of marathon training that I need to put behind me. But first, I need to process this. It all started in November when I ran the Milwaukee Running Festival marathon. I hadn't run a regular road marathon since 2010 or so, but I thought it was time to try to improve my performance at this iconic distance so to prove myself as a runner.  I became obsessed with a time goal and even wrote it on the mirror in my room. But when the day came, it just wasn't enough. Even with the support of my 'pacer' sister Suzie, I feel short of my goals.

I think Suzie is rapping to me in this picture (above).

Suzie is next trying to tell me that I am a good runner when things are starting to look bad after 18 miles or so (above). I finished but missed my goal by over 10 minutes.

Next up, Grandma's marathon with my friend and training partner Shana in June 2017. We both had the same goal in mind and trained together.

Enthusiasm and energy were not lacking (morning of race, above). We had a great time traveling together to the race.

But, again, when the time came, what I had just wasn't enough for the conditions. And it is REALLY hard to make yourself care enough to push through on a flat, boring, never ending road when you don't feel good.  I specially edited the above photo in black and white to show how I felt at 25 miles. I was taking as many sponges as possible to cool down and my breathing was getting more labored. Keeping pace seemed impossible so I focused on jogging to the finish. I made it there but was a disappointing 17 minutes behind goal. It makes you question your abilities and second guess all the time and emotional dedication you put in.  

Dear Marathon: We have known each other over ten years now. I love you because you forced my running to become more efficient. I love you because you make millions of people see how strong they can be and what they are capable of. You change a 10 mile run from something described as 'impossible' to 'easy'.  But I hate you because you are tempting and, for me, often disappointing. But even though I never got the outcome I wanted, I know that I learned a lot along the way. And time spent training with friends is never wasted. So, Dear Marathon, I will be back, but I will not be fooled by you again. You are not the only run worth doing. You do not measure me. Next time I come, I will come to befriend you instead of to fight you. We will be friends, just wait and see. Until then, look for me on the trails somewhere, kicking up dirt and not checking my split times. Your truly, Ana.

First world problems.

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