This post was written just before I cleaned up the last remnants of my Post Alaskaman pity party. I probably should have kept these thoughts and feelings to myself, but I believe in transparency, and showing a little of the not-so-fun times that happen when no one is looking. I am positive, but not perfect.
As of today, I have run forty-five marathons. Three years ago today I ran my thirty-fifth, and it was maybe the most momentous and pitiful of them all. I had built up a mountain of expectations leading into the race, and honestly no matter how it turned out, it wouldn’t have been good enough. I believe that is true for all of my races. I did choose an obviously challenging course, the San Francisco marathon, so a personal best was a reach, but still a goal. In case you are unaware, it is hilly in San Francisco. *Spoiler Alert* - It was not a great race. I felt good and ran fast for more than a few miles, which were lovely, but then I slowed down and broke down, and savored every minute of my collapse.
My 35th marathon was the worst and best of them all.
I usually go through a vigorous cycle of self-introspection and race reflection after every finish, and I have been banging around the walls of the post Alaskaman washing machine of “what if’s”, and “why couldn’t’s”, and “next times”, that miraculously I broke free from this morning when I remembered today's anniversary.
The San Francisco marathon was the culmination of my momentous 35 by 35 quest, and I finished nearly twenty minutes later than any other marathon I raced in the previous two years leading up to it. While running mile twenty-three I heard absolutely nothing except my feeble, throbbing heartbeat. Next, complete quiet engulfed my senses as I accepted that my performance was a failure, but the race itself was perfection.
It was hard. It hurt. And it made me hungrier than ever.
The fact is I will never be satisfied with any race result. I will always want to have swum, rode, or run faster than I did, and placed higher than my competition; that is the torturous and glorious reality of being blessed with a competitive personality. It is difficult at times, but I wouldn’t want to live any other way.
I am my own biggest cheerleader and toughest competition. I enjoy setting and pursuing goals, that is how I am wired. Even though each race comes along with a wallop of heartbreak, they’re all worth it.
I can’t wait for the next one.