Saturday’s Pocatello Marathon was a big disappointment due to my individual performance, and while I know my approach should focus on the cause and not myself, sometimes it’s nearly impossible not to dwell on a lousy race.
Mentally, I was all-in for this one. The course profile is favorable for the way I run and I was really eyeing this one as a PR (personal record, fastest time ever) course. I still feel that way about the course. I do various things with my training and recovery to get myself in the best position to race, and I really thought this had a chance at being a great day.
As a lot of you know, my PR is 3:00:05. Sub-3 means finishing a marathon quicker than three hours, no slower than 2:59:59. I was six seconds off of that and I’ve been chasing it for nearly three years. In fact, chasing those six seconds was part of what drove me towards Operation Jack. I thought it was a waste of my efforts for my running to revolve such a small margin. Maybe it’s meant to be that I live with a 3:00:05 PR for a while?
Anyways, I’ve had a few races over the years where I thought I had a good shot at that PR, and today was one of them. I felt light, I felt ready, I felt quick, and most important, I was fired up. I had been excited all week. I was talking up a storm about it, putting pressure on myself to go out and get it done. Saturday was my day.
I got up this morning and while getting ready, I looked at myself in the mirror, thinking about the race. Someday I’m going to go sub-3. It might not be this year, it might not be next year. But someday I’ll get it. I’m not a gifted athlete, but I’ve worked very hard over the years and I want it and I’m going to get it. So I thought, while I looked at myself, that one day is going to be the day that I finally go to bed with that goal accomplished and Saturday was as good a day as any.
Up at the start line, I was completely nervous, a feeling I hadn’t had in years. I wanted to throw up from the nerves. It was an amazing. I was so excited to go run and get this done. I took off at the start and I was moving well, staying under control by heart rate and flying down the course.
The wheels were turning, and while it was a downhill course, I wasn’t feeling any of the pain I expected to feel. The miles were flying by, my stride was good, my turnover was good — it was an awesome run. I crossed the halfway point in 1:29 flat, pretty much right where I wanted to be. There were points between miles 8 and 14 where I thought I was slowing down, but I’d turn a 6:45 and know I could do that all the way home and join Club 2 (that’s what I like to call the group of people who have run sub-3).
I was on pace at mile 15.5, and then I don’t know what happened. I started to slow and people started running right by me like I was standing still. I could tell by 16 that I was toast. I had no idea, and I don’t and I’m not even going to try to analyze it. But the day was done and I knew it. The legs weren’t turning and the miles were instantly in the mid-8s. I ran 9 miles the first hour and only 8.2 the second hour. I knew those last miles were going to be incredibly difficult on me mentally.
I kept running (and I use the term loosely, because I was so incredibly slow), trying to salvage anything I could out of the day. Sub-3:10? BQ with a 3:15? All I could keep thinking about was how my day was unraveling so quickly and so incredibly. Like I said, I know this can’t be my attitude every week, but every here and there, I’m going to go after a race and expect a lot. That’s the competitiveness in me and that’s what today was for me.
Well, long story short, I finished in 3:16:40 according to my Garmin, probably a few seconds quicker wen I check the official results. I didn’t even BQ. I took 3rd in my age group, but that’s probably a result of a not-very-big field. I don’t even know what I won — I had to jet out of town in a hurry to catch a flight.
I was pretty upset about this one at the finish. I was so all-in for this one and it blew up on me. I texted my wife and told her I was pretty upset. She told me not to worry, that the race that matters for the weekend is Sunday’s 7-hour race in Portland, because that’s the one that’s raising all the money.
I got in the car and the first song that was on the CD was All I Ask For Any More by Trace Adkins. The chorus to that song is, “When I bow my head tonight … there will be no me, myself and I … just watch my wife and kids, please Lord … that’s all I ask for any more.” I’ll admit it — it made me cry. I was kind of an emotional overload and some kind of nuclear explosion happened in my head. Tiff was right about Sunday’s race and as hard as it is, I need to keep things in perspective. But every here and there, I’m going to have days like these. You guys read about them, but I have to live them.
So I guess now I need to move the focus on to Portland. I need to get myself fired up to run the heck out of that race. It’s pretty simple — the more miles I run, the more money I raise. I can turn things around in that one, but I really hope I run well because if I don’t, I’ll have seven hours to think about it! By the way, if you haven’t seen what we’re doing, please click here to read my blog from Thursday, especially if it’s before Sunday!
That’s all, I guess. 41 down, 20 to go. Plus seven hours on Sunday, of course.
This is what I look like when I’m really bummed after running a marathon.