Monday, January 30, 2012

"Rejoice, We Conquer "

I did it !!  I completed my first marathon on Sunday and it was an amazing experience.  I had a number of goals in mind when I started this quest, and I was able to meet some of them, and some will have to wait for the next attempt.   The good news is that I finished, and I finished in the upper half of my age group.  I was however, about a half hour slower than I was expecting to be.  There are some lessons, both good and bad to be taken from this experience.  I know one of the reasons that I didn't do as well as I would have liked, is that I wasn't able to choose a managable pace, and follow my plan to the end. There were so many people that the traffic didn't clear out until about mile 10 or so. Before that I was held back by the crowd, and then tried to sprint ahead whenever the opportunity presented itself.  I paid dearly for that error by running out of steam at mile 18 or so.  I've read "The Tortise and the Hare" enough times to my kids, that I should know that slow and steady wins the race, but I had a goal in mind and was going to hit it or die trying. I did neither.  Trying to maintain that goal was an absolutely fatal error in judgement on my part.  Had I backed off my goal early on, when I started really feeling the miles, I have no doubt that I'd have finished considerably faster about the race.  It was very well run I thought, and despite the size of the crowds, I always knew where I was supposed to be, and never had to want or wait for anything.  Porti potties were plentiful, organization staff were always around, and the logistics all seemed to go off without a hitch.  For a race of this size, that's an impressive feat.  The weather was in the low 70's and pretty humid.  It rained for a mile or so, but  at least it wasn't a bright sunny day.  My performance was encouraging in that I finished it, but no where near my goal time of 3:45.  I was able to learn some acceptance on the course as I realized by looking at my watch obsessively, my goal finishing time was already out of reach.  I learned that I have a pretty high tollerance for pain, and that I can always push myself a little harder.  I kid you not, there were times when I just kept saying to myself, " just don't stop running....just don't stop running..".   Developing my patience skills will definintely help me be a better person and parent, and knowing that I can go to the very limits of personal exertion, and still keep my sanity is something that will give me an edge in some real world situations.  I learned that blind adherance to an arbitrary goal will only lead to arbitrary results.  Had I the foresight to make a minor pace adjustment early on, I would have had much more ability to keep up my pace at the end.  Had I learned to not place too much emphasis on a time goal, I would have felt considerably more satisfied at the end.  Live and learn...and just don't stop running.  I'm already planning marathon #2, and will keep blogging about it until I know what I'm going to do.


  1. Thank you. It was an amazing and VERY humbling experience that will definitely spillover into my regular life. I am a better person for the endeavor, and am looking forward to my next marathon effort.

  2. Congratulations on your finish! Even more congrats on letting the lessons pour over into life. There's a lot to be learned when we face challenge. nice work!

  3. Today's quote of the day from Runner's World (I get them daily via e-mail) sums up the first marathon experience:

    With the marathon, you don't swing for the fences on your first try. It's a race you've got to learn. It takes time to master the feeling of a marathon.

    -Keith Hanson

    (I have not yet mastered this feeling. I don't know if "mastered" will ever be the right word for me when it comes to this distance.)

    1. I get the quote too, but didn't read it today. I'm really glad you called attention to it. It's perfect for me today. I'm feeling better about my race and thinking of it more as one stop on a journey rather than an endpoint. I also keep reminding myself that if a marathon we easy, it wouldn't be as rewarding. As always, thanks for the comments.