I always knew making a change 10 weeks out from my marathon was a risk. Ten weeks isn't a ton of time to completely prepare for the battle that is the marathon. I knew this and yet I was still good with my decision. But something happened in the last ten weeks. I began to make a lot of progress! Every week workouts would get better and better. I was finding my legs and more importantly I was having so much fun that I started to believe in ME again. At the beginning of this journey I was unsure if I should even run Chicago. I was worried I couldn't be ready. I had been feeling so awful. But by the time I was packing to head to Chicago I wasn't only ready to race.... I was ready to go for it and get a PR. That was such a relief to me.
Leading in to the race I had a good chat with Lee. Which made me calm and ready. This is odd for me, typically leading into a race I am a mess of emotions. This time was different I was just ready to see what would happen. Travel to Chicago was good, the kids even cooperated, flights were smooth and nutrition was exactly what I needed. At the tech meeting the day before the race I learned that we would have a pacer set up to hit 2:30 and that Clara, Sara and myself were all going to go for it. The situation was getting better and better. I could feel myself get giddy with anticipation. I was so calm and confident in my plan. I even got a great nights sleep the night before the race. Lets be honest...this NEVER happens.
Race morning I woke up before my alarm, had an easy time getting down my breakfast, got on the bus and was ready to rock it. This honestly seemed like a dream come true. Weather was good, I had great people to run with, a fast course and I was coming in healthy and fit. Here we go! The gun went off and after a bit of side to side running to get position and get in our group we were off. First mile was just a bit slow but that is perfect for the marathon. After that our awesome pacer, Willy, had us locked in to a steady stream of 5:45. I'll spare you the details of every mile but by mile two I could feel something wasn't right. I just felt flat and couldn't get comfortable. This is never how you want a marathon to feel at mile 2, but I stuck with the plan knowing a marathon is funny like that. In Boston I had more times of feeling awful than I had miles of joy. You just have to fight through it and things will be fine. Sadly by mile ten I knew it just wasn't going to be my day. I was having a hard time chocking down my fluids and gels, my legs felt like bricks and I just couldn't find my rhythm. I made the decision to fall of the pack a bit. Thinking I could regroup for a couple miles and get going again. I had plenty of time. Unfortunately by mile 15 I knew my day was over and my thinking changed. This was about getting to the finish and hugging my family, time was out the window.
It's a hard thing to come to terms with that failure.
For the next 11 miles I had a million thoughts going through my head. Yet I never once contemplated not finishing for a couple reasons.
First off I owed this to the race, the race directors, Bridget, Bank of America and the city of Chicago. Nothing was wrong with me. I wasn't hurting, or broken it just wasn't my day plain and simple. I could get to the finish even if it meant I had to swallow my pride. Everyone I mentioned worked so hard to make this race what it is and to give us the perfect opportunity to run fast. I would finish it out of respect to them.
Second I couldn't stop thinking about my kids at the finish. If you have never met my kids you should know they are so driven and competitive.... almost to a fault. A large part of their competitiveness they get from me and my husband. When we go after something we do it 100% and do it to succeed. Both boys are in sports. Football, basketball, baseball, hockey and when they do it they want to be the best. It is a struggle as a parent to try and teach your kids that at some point they will fail. I was going to cross the line if for no other reason than to show the kids that yes today mommy failed but I will keep trying. I won't give up or let it ruin me. It is one race that will teach me what to do better next time. Kevin and myself are constantly giving the kids pep talks when they are down on themselves teaching them that they can't always have great games but that they always need to keep fighting on. I wanted to cross that finish line without tears or remorse. I would cross the line, congratulate everyone that had a great race and be proud of myself for fighting on. I would find my family and let the kids see that I was ok. My day went about as bad as it could have but our life was still just fine. One race or game does not define you.
Now it's time to move on. No I didn't run a fast enough time to be considered for the World Marathon team or fast enough to maybe get a new sponsor but I won't let this one race determine my attitude. I am very fit right now and even feel like I have speed under me. Chicago was an off day. Every runner knows that sometimes it just isn't your day. Am I disappointed that I had such an off day on such an important day? Yes of course but it won't change my attitude moving forward. I believe in everything Lee has me doing. I believe I can run a faster time than I ever have before. I will not let this one failure ruin my love for the marathon. The funny thing about failure is you can let it go one of two ways. Let it ruin you or let it fuel your fire. I will choose to let it fuel me. Sometimes getting your butt kicked is just what you need to get to the next level. I am so excited to get back to training with my team and hopefully I will be at a race very soon!