we train for months, we make sacrifices, we put our hearts and souls into training, then race day comes and its over with in the blink of an eye (although at the time it can certainly feel like eternity).
sometimes things go exactly as planned and we have the races we dreamed of and trained for.
but there are many times they don’t and we are left with a feeling of disappointment.
especially with a race distance as long as a marathon, the body typically isn’t capable of turning around and trying to get the immediate satisfaction of another attempt right away. we have to recover, and sometimes the brain and heart take the longest to recover as our muscle soreness fades away.
after CIM this year, i surprised even myself with how ok i was with this race. in the past this race could have easily tore me down and left me upset, mad, questioning myself and my efforts, and questioning myself as a runner in general, but this year was different. i was ok, i wasn’t ecstatic with my results and sure i wished they would have gone a little different, but i never questioned my efforts during the race and was able to walk away with a smile on my face and proud of myself. that in itself is one of the biggest successes i could have asked for.
i have been seeing this happen as marathon season comes to a close and i was asked how i deal with this and how i was able to maintain a positive outlook. in all honestly, i am not really sure. maybe practice makes perfect in this instance since this was not the first time i have missed a big goal or maybe i am just learning more about myself and this sport.
there are a few things that have helped me…
look at the big picture
you just ran a marathon (or whatever the race distance), that in itself is amazing no matter what. do not let the time on the clock interfere with that accomplishment. we do this because we want to and because we love it, not for any other reason.
after CIM i kept reminding myself that i completed my EIGHTH marathon. EIGHT. i never would have thought i would be there a few years ago.
be able to pull the positives out of a race, even if it was a bad one. typically you can learn a lot of lessons during a bad race and they definitely shape you as a runner.
i ran my 3rd fastest marathon at CIM. sure it wasn’t my fastest but compared to my past “crash and burn” races, it was 11 minutes faster! i took a risk and am happy i did, i know on another day i have that race in my legs.
new goals, new races
use a bad race to fuel your fire. let it make you hungry and want to get out there and train harder than ever. figure out what went wrong, what you can do to make it better and make it happen.
i think part of the reason i was very ok with CIM is that i have boston coming up. i have something else to look forward to, new goals to set and try to achieve and a lot of lessons i learned from my training i am excited to apply this time around. it definitely made me hungry to train extra hard.
don’t be afraid
most of all i know i am not afraid to fail. i will continue to set big goals for myself and i know i will achieve them. it may not be the first time i try or even the tenth time, but i will eventually get there because i won’t accept anything less. i think any goal worth working towards shouldn’t be easy to achieve and from experience, i know the ones that may take a few times really make it that much sweeter when it does happen. keep working hard and don’t be afraid to set the big goals.
it wouldn’t be as fun if it were easy.
some other posts where i talk about this subject:
what have you done to help deal with the disappointment of a not-so-great race?