Saturday was THE day.
It was a chance to prove to myself that all of my hard work over the last 5 months had been worth it. It was the day when my dream of a Boston Qualifier WITH MY SISTER was supposed to become a reality.
But, those things didn’t happen. Instead, I had the worst race I’ve ever had.
The week leading up to the race was full of so much excitement. There was a tremendous amount of support from friends, family, and coworkers. I felt so much love, it was unbelievable. From the number of people who sent text messages, cards, emails, Facebook messages, to all of the people who decided to pack their bags and make the long trip up North to cheer me on…I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt that much support. It was truly heartwarming, and my eyes are getting a little leaky thinking about it all over again.
But, with all of that support came the realization that this was a BIG deal. And with that realization, my anxiety over the race continued to grow. I felt nauseous for a few days before the race, and just couldn’t shake the pre-race jitters (for four days…). To say the least, I did not handle the pressure of the race well at all.
On race morning, I lined up at the start line just like any other race.
I was as ready as I would ever be. The training was done (for 5 months with only missing ONE training run!), and now all that was left to do was reap the reward.
Rondi and I started out as planned. The first miles were rough, but I kept hoping that my body would warm up and things would feel better. But, just keeping our pace was very difficult for me. My whole body felt completely exhausted. By mile 3 when I walked through the aid station, I felt wobbly and my legs were shaky. The realization that it wasn’t my day was already creeping in.
By mile 5 I told Rondi that she needed to leave me. I was managing an 8:05 pace, but that wasn’t fast enough for Rondi to meet her BQ (she’s younger than me, so I have a 5 minute cushion on her), so I urged her to leave me, letting her know that 8:05 was the fastest I was going to be able to maintain. She refused and kept trying to fill me with positive thoughts and mantras. I’m pretty sure she thought that it was my mind that wanted to quit so early on, when really it was my body. But, I kept trying to hold on to what she was saying…fake it on the outside until your body believes you…Boston…one foot in front of the other…no regrets…
It would work for a very short time, and then I would go back to the place where my body was telling my mind it wanted to be done. By mile 8, I knew I had to convince Rondi to go on without me. So, I just stopped running and told her she had to go. I promised her I would try to keep going, but that she had to go on without me or she was going to miss her BQ. And, she went.
For the rest of the race, I was left to process the fact that it wasn’t my day. There was no “I was so close.” I wasn’t close at all. I just couldn’t understand why I felt like that. I’ve never felt so awful in a race so early on. Ever. By mile 8 of that race, I felt like I did at mile 20 of my BQ race last year. I very badly wanted to quit. The thought of having to go 18 more miles and come no where near reaching my goal was so defeating. But I knew I couldn’t just quit the race. I had to finish. So that’s what I did. And frankly, it sucked.
Looking back on it, I realized that the stress of the race ate away at my body. My nutrition was off, and I just didn’t have the energy to make it happen. I really don’t have any regrets about the race. I don’t feel like I “quit.” Last year, when I had a mental break down at mile 20 and walked for a few minutes…THAT I regret. Because that was all mental. It was entirely different this year.
Part of what carried me through the second half of the race on Saturday was that I had myself convinced I would try again for my BQ at the Charlevoix Marathon at the end of June. More than anything, I did not want all of my training to go to waste. I held on tight to that hope as I made my way to the finish line.
But, after talking to some running coaches and getting professional opinions, I have decided it’s not in my best interest to do that. My body will not be ready to go through that again, and my performance would most likely be worse. (And, for goodness sake, I can’t have that!) So, I will have to wait a while to have another chance.
One of the things that upsets me the most about all of this is that the happiness and joy my sister should be feeling because of her BQ has kind of been pushed aside. And that’s really not fair. She got what she set out to get and I am SO happy for her! If she decides not to go to Boston without me, I will be pretty disappointed. Her accomplishment deserves the reward. (Although she says we will get to Boston together…even if it’s not until we’re 70! But I just don’t think I have that kind of patience.)
Even though it didn’t go how I wanted, I feel extremely blessed to have gone through all of the months of training and emotions of that day with my sister.