I’ll start this last blog off by saying something I really didn’t want to have to say: I am not a marathoner. Yet.
VCM did not go as planned for me. I bonked the bonkiest of bonks and at mile 16 had no mental or physical capacity to continue another ten miles to the finish.
I accredit this to a few things. First, I went out way faster than I should have. When I began training for this race, I intended to make having fun with it my first priority. I lost that perspective in the final weeks as I got caught up in the high of being in shape and suddenly capable of running farther than I had even been able to. Time goals began to form in my mind, which in itself is not a bad thing--but I thought of the hard work I had done and decided to push myself to see just how well I could do. I crunched numbers and figured out splits, completely forgetting what I got into this for. I pushed myself too hard. I could feel it by mile five, and by mile ten I realized my mistake and decided to try to just finish rather than go for a time... but I had already worn down my reserves. At the halfway point I knew it was over, but wanted to get up Battery Street (maybe for old times’ sake?). I hated to stop but there was no denying it: I had nothing left in the tank, and could not run on empty for the remainder of the course.
Second, the train of thought that I attached to this mindset was not an empowering one. Many runners work through the pain by thinking of the things in their life that they have to run for. I struggled but failed to tear my mind away from the fact that I was disappointing people--the readers of my blog, the friends who were supporting me, myself. The mind is the most powerful and dangerous force in running, and mine worked against me until I was too worn down to keep fighting back.
But enough of the sob story. My not finishing isn’t something I consider to be a complete and utter failure. There was a time in my life when I would have let something like this eat away at me and break me down, but now is not that time. I am stronger than that now. One race, two hours out of one day of my life is not everything. It does not define me and it does not summarize or even accurately reference the amount of work and the positive experience VCM has given me. I am disappointed, yes, and angry at myself. But wallowing in that negativity won’t accomplish anything. Que sera, sera. Today was not my day, but I have plenty of days still out there. This has been an opportunity to grow stronger, healthier and wiser. My training has brought me pride and confidence in my running ability, despite what misfortunes race day held.
With this in mind, I’m picking myself up and trying again. I came home and immediately registered for the Green Mountain Marathon this October. This time, I’ll be running with the wisdom of a runner who has made mistakes, made adjustments, and moved on.
A million thank you’s to the RunVermont team, the VCM volunteers, supporters and sponsors. Anyone who has witnessed VCM can attest to how incredible an event it is--finishers, attempted finishers, and spectators alike. A very special thank you also goes out to all of those who have read my rambling words for the past several months. It has been a pleasure sharing my thoughts with you.
Congratulations to everyone who ran today! Now get out there and have a phenomenal Memorial Day weekend!