Hard Things

I ran a marathon last weekend. I was better prepared for this marathon than any of the others I’ve run.

My 1st marathon was hard and I struggled but I was naive and didn’t know what to expect so I get a hall pass for that one. My dear and fierce running partner had to get me through that one. The second one happened on a hotter day than expected with a lot of wind and a lot of allergens in the air. That one didn’t go well either. Both of those were in OKC. My next one was at Disney and everything is magical there and, of course, it went well. My fourth was in Dallas and it was our fastest one with a PR that was 37 minutes faster than any of my prior marathons.

This spring we had our best training runs ever. We were running nearly a minute per mile faster than our PR pace in Dallas. So far this year I’ve run 586 miles when last year all year long I ran 794 miles. My partner and I have a goal this year of running 1400 miles and we are ahead of that target.

My expectation for the OKC Memorial Marathon where high. Our target was 14 minutes faster than our PR in Dallas with a stretch goal 8 minutes faster. We were confident and ready.

I’m a very analytical person who uses spreadsheets and plans and writes up 4 pages of notes prior the marathon to discuss and consider with my partner. Yes, I do that. We had strategies and tactics and computers and Garmin¬†watches.

636608467845604642Unfortunately, the temperatures on race day started higher and then rose a lot higher than expected. We started in shorts and tanks and were glad to be wearing them and when we finished, the temp was over 80 degrees. My watch said 81 degrees. We had not done any long runs at those temps this year.

Probably the back 40% of the run I was struggling due to the heat and we had to slow way down. It was difficult and hard, but we kept going. We ended up finishing about 14 minutes slower than Dallas and about 27-28 minutes slower than our target.

My reactions on race day were of disappointment because I wanted to do better. My expectations were different than what we were able to achieve.

However, as I thought more about this, I’ve completely changed my view. Just being out there, healthy and running, is an amazing gift and I’ve realized just how wonderful it is to be out there and doing these hard things.

I learned in the final, official results that I finished in the top half of my age group. I’ll take that. I realized the day after the marathon that I finished this one about 30 minutes faster than my prior best in OKC. I’ll take that. And I finished on a hot day and I’ll take that too.

And I was out there running with my dear and fierce running partner being cheered and supported by three others who traveled around the course to help and cheer for us. One of the three supporting and cheering us is battling cancer and she is a dear and fierce person herself. Just to be out there with her was a delight. Having her giving me orange slices and bottles of water and a wet towel and sending us confidence was a wonderful experience and part of a wonderful day. It turns out my biggest regret is not getting a picture of them and us together at some point in the race. The five of us getting a selfie. Note for future marathons, make sure that happens.

Go find some dear friends. Do hard things. Enjoy the experience. Cheer for someone else.  Get out there.

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