I ran the Indy Mini Marathon yesterday. And I have to say it did not end well for me. I crossed the finish line at 1:55:08, not with tears of joy, but tears of sorrow. It took everything in me to not fall on my knees and sob. As a runner, I had failed myself. There were no PR initials after that time, no goal reached, just a major disappointment.
The timing chip feeds our drive, our push in every race. The competitiveness that lies within us lives by the numbers on the clock. We set our goals and we plan to reach them. But all runners can tell you running is never consistent. That’s the beauty of the sport. One run can feel amazing and the next can make you feel as if you’ve never run a day in your life. You have good days and you have bad days. This mini was my “bad.” When I saw my time, I immediately thought, “What the hell went wrong?” The questions came at lightning speed. Did I not eat well enough? Did I have enough carbs? Should I have added more tempo runs or speed work? Did I rest long enough? Did I need more cross training? Where did I go wrong? I didn’t have any answers, so I began to ponder my disappointment.
It wasn’t as if the race went horrible. Except for some slight wind, the weather was perfect for a long run. I knew every twist and turn of this course. I had envisioned the run the night before. I felt good going in. Last November, I ran the Monumental Half in 1:54:57. I wanted to run this Mini around 1:48 – 1:50. I knew I could. But somewhere along the way, around mile 7, my body told me otherwise. My pace crept up. My legs got tired. I finished with nothing in the tank. The numbers ticked on in front of me and I couldn’t cross the finish line any faster. The disappointment set in.
Runner’s reflection is good. And I’m stating it now, after the fact, disappointment is just as good. As Olympic Runner Matt Tegenkamp once said, “When things go well, you never question how you got there because you accomplished your goal. When things don’t go to plan, it makes you reevaluate and get back to the basics.” And back to the basics is what this runner is going to do. I’m wiping the tears away. Tomorrow, I will be lacing up the running shoes and hitting the pavement once again, new goals in mind. The only limits holding me back will be the ones I place on myself. And this runner is running free.