Race Report: A 'Tough' Marathon

For my race report of my most recent marathon, I'd like to tell you it was all rainbows and unicorns, but events didn't play out that way. Similar to my marathon from last fall, there was little gas left in the tank to power through the last 10 kms of this marathon. I wanted to drive my legs this last distance, but my legs didn't cooperate on this day. Needless to say, I was bummed out with TWO CONSECUTIVE marathon finishes below my expectations!

I found this post (One Week After A Tough Marathon) by elite runner, Dathan Ritzenhein, to be really helpful for making sense of it all. Ritzenhein had a disappointing (for him) 2019 Boston Marathon.

Race Goals
Ritzenhein writes:
"While I was disappointed with my finish, I knew I had accomplished three of the goals I set out for in this race: Goal one was to get to the start line healthy...The second goal I accomplished was to finish...And, lastly, I came away from the race healthy."

What I find interesting is that none of Ritzenhein's race goals is about achieving a certain time - even though he ran 2:16:19 at Boston, good for 19th place. My race goals MAY have been tied to achieving a certain time. Am I missing something here?

Murky Thinking
Ritzenhein writes:
"Nothing you come up with in the moments after the race will be clear thinking. Judgment will be clouded in either excitement for disappointment right after a race. So many times I have finished a great race and been amped to go on as if nothing should be changed. Sometimes you do well despite what you did in training, and if it didn’t stop you in your tracks, you might not be so lucky next time. Likewise I have had disappointing races that I finished and wanted to throw out everything! But just because race day didn’t go as you envisioned it, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t do some things right."

You spend months preparing for a marathon. I agree with Ritzenhein that it takes time to get your 'thinking clear' on what happened in the race. Just because race day didn't go as envisioned, doesn't mean you didn't do things right - I wholeheartedly agree. Since VIM, I've run two local races and have place in both: something right must have happened in my training.

What Worked Then, What Didn't Work
Ritzenhein writes:
"I start self-reflection of any performance by first going to what worked. It is much more positive to look at the things that you did right in your training and race versus ripping apart everything that went wrong. Those successful things are foundations that you will still have to maintain if you want to make any changes work for the future. After identifying what worked then move to what did not work. Ask others with an outside perspective what they think. Your training partners, coaches, family and friends might be able to identify things that you didn’t see in your own training or race."

For me, I'm still working on this process to try to find deeper answers. Thank you for taking the time to read this post! By writing this post, I realized I still have some work to do.

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