So you bonked your marathon…now what?

If you read my recent Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans marathon race recap you know that the race was a real struggle for me. I really wanted a time goal of 4:30 or 4:45 but I knew a little over halfway into the race that just finishing was my new goal. I had completely bonked. I still got in (barely) under 5 hours but it wasn’t the performance or race I had wanted. So, of course, for the past few days I’ve been beating myself up and beating myself up over it. Here’s what I think went wrong:

  1. It got hot quick. I don’t perform well in the heat to begin with and I’ve done ZERO heat training. I wasn’t ready mentally or physically for running in 70+ degree weather.
  2. I went out too fast on the first half. While I kept my pace 1 minute slower than my usual half time, I should have factored in the heat and slowed it down a little more.
  3. I was undertrained. I had run two 20 milers, but I think I was still undertrained for this race. I don’t think I had the weekly mileage I needed. Work, sickness, kids, life had sidelined several runs and I was barely finishing out 100 miles for February.
  4. I’m still working out fueling and hydration on those longer distances. I thought I was drinking enough water on the course but judging how I was feeling and the color of my pee after the race (sorry if that’s TMI) I was NOT. While I had trained with my hydration vest, it was in much, much cooler temps and I didn’t need to drink as much. During the race I was running through water stops and just sipping from my vest when I should have been DRINKING much, much more water. I got dehydrated.
  5. The marathon is just Not. My. Race. To be honest I don’t love it. I’ve done 5 now and I’ve struggled with each and every one. I love running, but it becomes a chore to me with those upper distances. I lose focus and lose motivation. All of the training is time consuming and tough on my family and my body.

And now I sound like a whiny little baby. I totally applaud those people who can run marathon after marathon and love it. They are amazing. I just can’t. I have yet to love one. I LOVE half marathons. I love training for them. I love running them. But I just cannot get on board with 26.2 miles. I’ve tried…five times! So, I think I’m giving them up for a while. I need to get back to what I love, just running the shorter distances for fun. Will I run a full again? Sure. If it’s the right one. If I get into NYC I’ll run it. I’d run Disney and maybe the Houston or Oklahoma City fulls. If it’s the right race and right time I’d totally do it, but now’s not the right time. I want to enjoy my two littles while they are still little. Training for the full was taking that away from me.

In the midst of wallowing in self-loathing on Sunday night and Monday morning, my husband and several running friends gave me a good wake up call and runner smack to the head though. “Look at all you’ve accomplished this year!”

  • I essentially started over running early in 2015 after having Baby Z-peat. I forget this. A lot. I didn’t even start running again until late January 2015 and I slowly eased into it.
  • I went from a 2:24 half in March 2015 to a 1:58 in January 2016. That’s a 26 minute reduction in less than 10 months.
  • I set a half marathon and 10k PR in late 2015.
  • I ran 5 half marathons in 2015.
  • I’m running consistent 100+ miles a month.
  • I’m running injury free.
  • I ran 26.2 miles in under 5 hours.
  • I’ve met some amazing and wonderful people who have become dear friends through running.

So I’m going to stop beating myself up. I had a bad race, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a runner. I’ve had a GREAT come back running year and that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m going to rejoice in these victories.

But right now I’m going to go play Leggos with my son.

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3 thoughts on “So you bonked your marathon…now what?

  1. There is nothing wrong with not running marathons. I gave up the distance after running run, getting a stress fracture training for the second and deciding not to run the third. I’m no longer allowed to pay for them. I love the half. It still takes a lot to train, but doesn’t take over your life. It’s still a great accomplishment, plus I enjoy it. You do what works for you.

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