“And one day
that she was fierce,
and full of fire,
and that not even
she could hold herself back
because her passion
than her fears” – Mark Anthony
A friend posted the above quote on her timeline today and wow, that really sums up my Madison Marathon adventure on Sunday!
In short, I hit my eight-year old goal of finishing 4:17 or under with a 4:15 finish.
Going into the day I had a race day execution plan provided by my coach that made complete sense and I knew it was doable. It was a very safe plan.
Come mile two of the marathon, I got greedy. I was a few feet in front of the four-hour pace group and thought about dropping behind them. The daredevil in me said, “Nah, let’s see how long you can stay in front of them for”.
Rule #1: RUN YOUR OWN RACE.
I zipped up and down the hills of the arboretum, I recklessly flew over Observatory drive with an 8:53 split, I had a headful of positive, happy thoughts. I kept reminding myself, “light and free, light and free, steady, stay in control, what a beautiful day, light a free!”
Rule #2: JUST BECAUSE YOU TELL YOURSELF LIGHT AND FREE DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE ACTUALLY RUNNING LIGHT AND FREE.
I began to question myself and wondered if I should pull back a bit, but the daredevil laughed and assured me I’d regret not trying more than slowing down later. This daredevil is a persuasive lady!
Rule #3: TELL THE DAREDEVIL TO STFU.
Rule #4: NEXT TIME DO WHAT YOUR COACH TELLS YOU TO.
Around the halfway point my light and free, quicker-than-planned race pace began to feel more labored. I hung onto positive thoughts, “You’re so lucky it’s not sleeting out! This is so fun, sharing the roads with all these strong runners! Look, sunshine! The orange-yellow leaves on that tree are so pretty! That patch of grass with a sprinkle of snow on it is so beautiful! Light and free! Stay in control! Swing those arms! If it were easy everyone would do it!”
Rule #5: THE 2ND HALF OF THE COURSE WILL EAT YOU ALIVE.
Around mile sixteen the course goes uphill for approximately a mile, veers left, goes up another hill, veers left again, more uphill, veers left, there’s got to be a top of this hill? And when you finally make the full circle of hills through this neighborhood the downhill “relief” is a fraction of the distance you just suffered uphill.
This is when the four-hour pace group passed me. I hung on for a half a mile. “C’mon, 9:10 pace, easy peasy!”
I was so spent.
I began dreaming of the tallest, warmest chai latte. My hands were cold. My legs were not cooperating. Where did all those positive, happy thoughts go? I knew they were gone, but lacked the ability to bring them back.
Rule #6: MASTER THE ART OF HAPPY THOUGHTS WHILE IN THE PAINCAVE.
The last six miles were rough! The only thing that kept me going is that my original goal of 4:17 was still well within reach, and I did not want to have to try again in spring–I hate winter/spring marathon training! (Sidenote, LOL, let it be known that I have since Googled spring marathons).
In the last two miles it became almost nail-biter close if I would make it, and I remembered the course came up a bit long on my Garmin in past years. I pressed on more purposeful, even up the last couple of maddening hills.
4:15:42. I gave a weak ring to the PR Bell, got my chai latte, got to hang with my amazing tribe of friends who were out cheering in the cold! It was 20 degrees–seriously, how am I so lucky to have these ladies in my life?! Them, and John. He was out chasing me in the second half of the course with our dogs. I demanded a chai latte from him at mile 21, he was kind enough to have it for me by mile 26.4.
I’m so glad I didn’t hold myself back in those first few miles, I have zero regrets for going out too fast. I know better, I had a plan! The burning desire to see what I’m capable of was stronger than the fear of failure. There was no failure in this. My passion is brighter than my fears.
RULE #7: LET YOUR PASSION BURN BRIGHTER THAN YOUR FEARS.