races are a funny thing and runners are even funnier.
we push our bodies to our limits, sometimes we give in to those limits and sometimes we push them even further and actually push beyond them. what happens on race day happens. there is no going back and no way to recreate the moment to know what would happen differently.
i have been thinking a lot about hindsight lately and have even been seeing it a lot on other’s blogs, so i know we all do it. as runners, no matter what happens in our races, we almost always look back at them with some sort of “i could have done better” thoughts. no matter how hard you push during a race, no matter how well you executed your race strategy, we always make room for hindsight.
i am a 100% guilty of this. i have one race i can think of, where i didn’t feel those after thoughts of why didn’t i push harder? half marathons, 5ks, marathons… it happens in them all. after big sur, even though this was my no time goal pressure race, i STILL looked back and had a few of those thoughts. why did i walk? why didn’t i just run up those last hills? i could have pushed harder. i could have at least beaten 3:57.
i immediately recognized this when i started thinking these thoughts and shut them down. this was not what this race was about to me. it was about running a marathon in one of the most scenic places i know of. it was about celebrating how much i love to run and about conquering those massive hills. it was about crossing the finish line of my seventh marathon with a smile on my face. this marathon was about not looking back and having any doubts.
we are so hard on ourselves and often as the pain fades, we forget what we were really going through at the moment. every once in a while it’s warranted, but really you cannot question yourself after the fact. when you are at mile 23 and you are not feeling great, things are very different then 3 days, or even 3 hours, after the marathon when you are thinking a little clearer and have already forgotten what it really felt like in the moment.
only look back to learn from those moments. don’t second guess yourself and diminish your accomplishment, because with a finish line is always an accomplishment. don’t doubt that you didn’t give it your all in that moment, because in the end you can’t turn back time, you can only take what you learned try again.
are you guilty of doubting your efforts after the fact?
then there is the other side of it.
since you are questioning yourself and your efforts after the fact, you are also forgetting really how hard it was. those moments where you think or say you will never do this again seem to fade away and you start planning your revenge.
during those last 4 hours of the relay and on the way home i said never again and i meant it. i even mentioned it at the end of my race report. in my last leg, i told myself i wouldn’t run my half marathon this weekend because there was no possible way i could based on the way i felt. but yet here i sit, packed for my race this weekend and thinking about what relay i could do in the future and how i could make it better.
we are a funny bunch that’s for sure.