Around the Lake 2013: Sophomore Mistake

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I ran the Around the Lake Marathon again this year. Again, I made a crucial mistake.

Leading up to this race, and with all I learned at the race last year, I had a determined mindset. I thought, in a way that I remember as rather not-cocky and realistic “My fitness is better and I have a plan this year. I’m going to run for a 2:50, then, if I have to, I’ll fall back to a 2:55 or 3:00. I’m giving myself a lot of BUFFER time.” So dumb.

If you’d like to know THE basis for frustration and the mistake that you will very likely make as a new runner, that I’ve experience twice now, here it is: Even though it is easier said than done, you should start slower than you are going to finish. The mistake I made was that I set out on a plan that was way too aggressive. It wasn’t a rookie mistake, because there was a plan, an intention to execute a strategy, but it doesn’t matter. I can defend the idea that I was understandably confident all day long, but it doesn’t matter. The result was the same: no qualification. A hard reminder that the numbers don’t lie.

In the end I crossed the line decidedly slowly at 3:15:57, way off the 3:05:00 qualifier. And even more importantly, in a worse time than last year. One of the few races I’ve run in which I did not PR. The terrible thought is “you did WORSE while trying to do better”. Very tough to swallow. This though, is at the same time my own proper motivation for realizing that something else besides just the fitness must change. I’ll let you know when I figure what it is.

At this year’s race though, RLK was there with me running the end. When she was running next to me in the last lap of the race, I remember thinking, “I’m going to be fine after this. My body is in a lot of pain right now, but I’m going to recover, and I’ll be fine.” I think that I had these thoughts because I knew that yes, my fitness is indeed better, but also because of her directly. She is my inspiration for so many of my unstoppable thoughts, conscious and unconscious.

I feel stoppable, just as before.

For the first time ever, I’m thinking, “Will I ever qualify for the Boston Marathon?”