The Marathon That Broke the Camel’s Back… and Will

Greetings from the Battle Born state,

One of the more exciting weekends in May has passed, and with it, more adventures than I had actually planned on. Marathons, card games, Avengers, family time, and birthday parties. No wonder I’m drained…

For the second time in the last month, I’ve missed out on a step up in the podium by less than 30 seconds. Disappointing is a bitter and very painful understatement. Out of a 3.5 hour race, 25 seconds is nothing! Those precious seconds are two stops that were a tad too long at an aid station. Had I not walked for 17 minutes then I would have a very different view of my race…

In retrospect, yes, the race turned out “fine,” whatever that means. I got 3rd in my age (because there was barely anyone in it) and all is supposedly good. However, I don’t really remember a time being more disappointed in myself or let down about a competitive event. Instead of slicing 15 minutes off of my time, I tacked on a heart-breaking 8.5 minutes. My dreams of eventually qualifying for the Boston marathon seemingly evaporated before my very eyes, and I crashed way too early in the race.

Last year I was feeling phenomenal until mile 19. This year, I was crushed by a cement mixer at mile 17 and had to struggle through 9.2 miles of torture just to convince myself that I still had “it,” which it turns out I didn’t. It’s bad enough missing your goal, let alone plowing through 75 minutes of a race knowing that there was no hope whatsoever of you ending up where you wanted to be.

I’ve never been one to abandon pursuit of greater goals because it’s inconvenient or painful, but it would have been so much easier. I look back on my blogs from my first marathon experience, and what a difference this experience was. Instead of the glorious time-cutting adventure it should have been it turned into a malnutrition, catastrophic nightmare that wouldn’t end. Not even my awesome music mix could save me from bonking like a champ.

Persistence, dedication, and an iron will are recurring themes throughout my blog, and I guess this experience is no different. No, it wasn’t a complete failure, and I was shocked that I got 3rd, but frankly, I don’t care.

It was worse knowing that had I not walked as much that I would’ve crushed my goal. Instead, I spent the better part of the race limping along. The perseverance did pay off when I rounded the last corner and saw all of my friends and family, but it was bittersweet, with a heavy emphasis on the bitter. Finishing didn’t count as the success that I was looking for, especially in the bigger picture.

Initially, I was going to scrap marathon competition forever, but that isn’t really conducive to finishing an Ironman in a year… so onward and upward I guess.

I’ve had some pretty miserable races, but none like this. I’m not going to quit the sport and I’m not going to quit pressing on. I just may have to prioritize my life to set myself up for future successes on the race course, especially because it’s something I need to balance the rest of my life out.

What was one of your largest competitive failures?


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