It is 2 days since the Illinois Marathon and it has been 2 days of trying to make sense of my epic failure. What were the factors that left me literally sitting next to the 23 mile marker with a teenager holding a walking talkie leaning over me asking “Sir, are you going to be alright?” How did I, a 5 time finisher of the marathon, end this marathon only a 5k short of the finish line? I was bewildered to be sitting in the medic tent and then in a van driving to the finish line. “This is not how you get here” I said to myself (and I meant that literally as the people driving the van got lost trying to return to the finish), FIGURES. I watched from the medics table as runners crossed the finish line and barely heard the doctor tell me how smart it was that I shut it down, the damage that could have done…blah blah blah, I wanted to finish. Yet the question lingers, What Happened? So after swallowing the disappointment, anger, and for that matter embarrassment, I have focused in on one word that I was lacking that lead to my failure, RESPECT. After several strong marathons, I got cocky. So what if I am dealing with Plantar Fasciitis and my training slowed to a crawl, pay no mind to the testy IT band that hurt so bad at the end of the last marathon in February, I will show up and run. Who am I to think that I can just put my shoes on pound out 26.2 miles without putting the work in, the marathon has a way of humbling you and let me say, I have been humbled. Here is a quick recap of the run, this will be short.
- Mile 1 thru 18 Run at an 8:30 pace, foot with PF obviously hurting but it was not increasing.
- Mile 19 though 21 – foot with PF pain increasing – stop whining
- Mile 22 – ouch walking
- Mile 23 – I went to the ground, I didn’t sit down, I WENT to the ground quick. I was dumbfounded, perplexed and as I tried to get to my feet, I slammed to the ground again, as my knee and foot were trying to get my attention. To the credit of the young volunteer that ran to me, he could tell this was not a runner just stretching, something was wrong and he had already called the medics. When the first one arrived, I was attempting to take off again and he looked at me, shook his head and told me to sit down. After checking me out, he told me I need to stop, the last time I ignored this command I ended up with a fractured foot and wife with not a lot of sympathy for me because of my hard head. So it was at that moment, I hit the button on the Garmin (which we all know means the run is over) and sat down.
So what do I do with this experience, how can I learn from it and get better?
- Respect the run or the run will humble you.
- If you start a run with an injury, it will not heal during the run; most likely you will end up with more than you had at the starting line.
- If you want results, put the work in, you cannot get by on past results
- Listen to the body, not the mind. Especially in my case, the body is much smarter.
- Deal with disappointment and failure but do not accept it as the end. Understand that it is what builds character and strength, but you have to get back up and fight again. Don’t quit.
- Set a goal and then work to achieve it, write it down, focus on it, and then go get it.
I was devastated in that van, but as we drove I saw all the runners and they gave me thumbs up, I found my wife and heard of her PR in the Half Marathon (by 13 minutes, yeah she is awesome!) and my mood was lifted. I read all of the great comments on the runHARD-alwaysFINISH page and I began to realize how great this community really is, I need to put this run in its place and go prepare for the next one. So that is what I will do.
Lesson – “RESPECT THE RUN or the run will HUMBLE you.”