the other side

as we get more and more into marathon season and races come and go, along with those races comes the ups and downs of it all.  the celebration of accomplishing our goals and crossing the finish lines, but also the heartache and disappointment that comes when we don’t.  not every part of racing season is great, happy and cheerful. there is definitely the other side of it all. 

not every race is going to go as planned and not every race is going to be “the” race.  if you have been reading this blog for a while, you know i know about this part of racing very well.  we train our hearts, legs, mind and bodies for months for one big day.  sometimes it comes together and it’s magical and things just click.  sometimes we have to work and push harder than we ever thought possible.  sometimes something goes wrong and you can blame one particular thing.  then sometimes there are those other races where you can’t figure out what went wrong at all, but you just know there was something wrong.

i definitely have had all those races mentioned above and i think the last one is the hardest to deal with.  not having something in particular like an injury or weather or bad training to blame.  it was just a bad day.  all those months and all that work and the bad day came on race day.  there is nothing we can do to prepare ourselves for that day and there is nothing we can do to change how it went.  i know a few people, both bloggers and non bloggers, who have experienced those races in the last few weeks, and i can sympathize completely and my heart hurts for them knowing what they are going through.

i often wondered why eugene had to happen the way it did.  i wondered if i would ever gain perspective on that race, if i would ever find my running heart again.  that race broke me down and exposed every insecurity i ever had in running, but after time it also gave me fight.  it gave me the fire to fight in mile 23 of CIM last year and it gave me the absolute best feeling in the world when i finally crossed that finish line in under 3:40.  everything was worth it in that second.   

it has also given me the ability to chat with my fellow runners, to feel their pain, to sympathize with them.  i would never wish those feelings on anyone, but it’s just part of our sport.  if we set easy goals we know we could achieve without a problem, it wouldn’t feel so good when we did achieve them.  we challenge ourselves and push our limits and sometimes we reach them, but sometimes we surpass them.

one thing i have told each person i have talked to or emailed with is do not give up.  if there is anything i learned last year after fighting for my goal, it is do not stop trying.  no matter how many times it takes, don’t stop believing in yourself and do not give up on your goal.  it will happen if you want it badly enough.  there will be another marathon, another training cycle and sadly more bad races, but those good ones make every second of those bad ones worth it. 

we all are just waiting for that perfect race to let our secret out… because we all have our own secret awesomeness and with enough hard work and dedication we can show it to everyone else that is watching. 


8 – 11 miles with 1 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile at slower than 10k pace (4 and 7 minute recovery)

i decided to make this more like goal 15k (7:34) – 10mile pace (7:38)… faster than half marathon, slower than 10k.  since i have a half marathon coming up i figured running a little bit faster than goal pace would be good but not running too hard to tire my legs out. 

i had jury duty all morning and afternoon but i was finally dismissed after a very close call to being selected.  i got out of my comfort zone of the relatively flat trails and went on my rolling hill route to get some of this done.  i am always very set in certain ways and routes for any sort of pace workout, but i broke through that today and still ended up hitting everything on target. 

after a long warm up i got into the fast stuff.

1 mile: 7:37
2 mile: 15:14 (7:37, 7:37)
1 mile: 7:34

i guess my legs liked that 7:37 pace today :)

i finished off with a couple cool down miles and called it a day!

11.0 miles/1:31:57/8:21 avg pace

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34 Responses to the other side

  1. Running and living October 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    SO true, Aron! I've had the bad race feeling, too, and it sucks for a while, but eventually the bad feeling goes away, it always does. I think the trick it to never lose track of how amazing this sport is!

  2. Cate October 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    Agree 100%!!! After my HORRIBLE race in LA I had serious doubts about ever qualifying for Boston, and wasn't sure I wanted to run another marathon ever again. I'm so glad I didn't give up, because the next marathon I did (San Francisco) was the best race of my entire life!

  3. the dawn October 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    you have such a strong, courageous, humble spirit! i love your attitude toward running and marathoning. beautiful!

  4. marathonmaiden October 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    this just gave me chills! it's sooooooooooo applicable to beyond running too in terms of not giving up

    great work on that fast stuff! running fast = fun :D

  5. Lara Robinson October 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    I've learned more about myself through Marathon Training than I ever thought possible. The training is intense, there are good days and bad, there are heartaches, insecurities, injuries, bad weather and brilliant moments all rolled into one. I'm training for CIM as well, though it'll be my FIRST marathon. I hope we meet up at the race Aron, I would love to see your smiling face in person. :-)

  6. Melanie October 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Girl, you hit the nail on the head with this post. Well said. :)

  7. Nicole October 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    I can't wait to share my secret with you!!!! Your amazing! Thank you for this post it was exactly what I needed!!!! Miss you more than you know!!! Xoxo

  8. Tara October 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    I've been doing lots and lots and looottttsss of reflecting and thinking back on this year and I know that the reason I haven't met my goals is because I don't focus on them…I'm always looking ahead and thinking what do I have next. I don't think I've given 110% of myself and finally I feel like I am ready!

    Nice job on the speed work! Very consistent legs today :)

  9. Her Name is Rio October 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    secret awesomeness… i like that!

  10. lynette October 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    How was I so lucky to have such an amazing daughter like you? You never cease to amaze me! Great job today after sitting in jury duty! Love you!

  11. The Laminator October 26, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Define YOUR OWN awesomeness Aron!
    Truly inspiring! Yay!

  12. kizzy October 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    Great post.
    Congratulations on the race…

    –kizzy salomon shoes

  13. onelittletrigirl October 27, 2010 at 3:19 am #

    I think that is what NJ State was for me…the secret :)

    You are so awesome- you battled your way to Boston and you are going to rock it come April!!!

  14. Laura October 27, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    Secret awesomeness…this is so going to be my mantra for my upcoming race.
    Awesome post….

  15. Joanne October 27, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    Just read your Eugene recap. Did you ever come to a conclusion as to what might have happened?

    You're really running great now and it's inspiring to read your posts. It also allows me to forgive myself on those days I just don't want to run when I read about your passion for running AND that you have those down days as well inspite of that passion.

  16. Amanda - RunToTheFinish October 27, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    i think a lot of us continue reading your blog specifically because you share both sides and show how to keep pushing mentally and physically when things get tough

  17. Marlene October 27, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    THANK YOU for this post, Aron! (and for so many others who have written in the past which have helped me)

    You have helped me so much – knowing that you have been through this but you HAVE had your "perfect race" as well.

    This race really beat me up mentally/emotionally, but I know i'll come back stronger for it. I'll get my moment too. :)


  18. Marlene October 27, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    And AWESOME job on the run! Way to nail your splits, Miss Consistency!

  19. Morgan October 27, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Beautifully written and perfectly timed. Great post girl, as always you help us all keep things in perspective.

  20. Emily October 27, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    I love this Aron! And I love the idea of secret awesomeness. You have such an amazing perspective on running! I can't wait for you to run CIM. I am predicting you are going to have a lot of your not-so-secret-awesomeness shine through.

  21. The Jesse October 27, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    this really hit home for me right now during training for my first marathon. thanks for sharing!

  22. teacherwoman October 27, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    I think you answered your own question about Eugene and why it had to go the way it did… you definitely were able to grow from it! I think we all have bad races for a reason… it makes us think and gives us perspective from time to time!

    Great post.

  23. lindsay October 27, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    Loved this :) you always have a great perspective! And the "fails" are good because they make us stronger and teach us valuable lessons that we wouldn't have learned if we succeeded all the time.

    Nice job on the 7:37s!!

  24. marathonsnmartinis October 27, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Thank you for this post. It is so easy to be discouraged when things don't go your way, and I've followed you through Eugene to your BQ. You're such an inspiration to me.
    I love what you said at the end about waiting for your perfect race to let the secret out! I feel that way for sure – I know I can acheive my goals – it's just not going to always be on my terms and my timing.

  25. Denise October 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    i'm still scarred from shamrock marathon in march and that wasn't even a goal race. headed out for fun, was on pace for a PR and fell…a…part. i can't shake it from the back of my mind as i get ready for philly.

  26. October 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Ahh, I love this post! And it was so meant for me to read right now. You're so right, setbacks don't need to stop us from meeting our goals. Unfortunately speed bumps happen, and just make us stronger in the long run.

  27. seejessrun October 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    It's definitely a lot easier to accept a bad race when you have something to blame it on. You showed a lot of maturity after Eugene and your patience paid off!

  28. Steel Springs October 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Great post. I think it's important to have goals that I'm not sure I'll reach. Those goals come with disappointments, but they also help us find our limits…and reaching them is that much sweeter.

  29. J October 28, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Very true Aron! I think we have all had races that have broken us down and made us question our goals and why we run! Great job on the speedy workout!

  30. Kristen October 28, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    Great post and so true! You are right though, every bad thing that has happened is 110% worth it when the good thing does!

    Great speedwork!

  31. All Things Jaime October 28, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Not sure if my previous comment left or not …. but thank you!! This is what I needed after last weekend!

  32. Lisa October 28, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Yup…it is like you were talking directly to me. Thanks again for all your support. I was thinking last week that I wanted to train for marathons without actually running them (I know someone that does that). But then I would never really know about pushing myself and overcoming invisible obstacles. If a training run goes bad, you just chalk it up to a bad day, walk it in and call it a day. A race is an entirely different thing.

    Thanks again, Aron. I loved this post and will probably come back to it again to give me perspective.

  33. E October 28, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    oh my goodness. this post stopped me in my tracks. thank you. it was a message i really needed to hear right now!

  34. Glenn Jones October 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Nice post Aron. Like I always say – you can fake your way through a 10K. Have a bad day, and you only have to live with it for 6 miles. Have a bad day on marathon day though…..

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