Here is my original blog post reflecting on my experience at the 39th MCM. I've blogged about that race here before, but found this in the old blog and figured it was worth posting here. October 28, 2014:
Post Marathon Analysis and Goal Setting
Late this summer I found myself in a bit of a predicament. My habits started to break down, and I was gaining weight again and watching my weekly mileage shrink. There are a lot of reasons for that but the one I've really been kicking myself about has been pride. I went out for a 21 miler in late August and found myself repeatedly guilty of that sin.
I came home and took all of my race medals and put them in the bin with my bibs from past races. I started to train again, but never got my weekly mileage all that high. I decided that because I was so close to the marathon, it was better to race at my current weight (about 10 pounds up from my previous marathon weight) than risk trying to lose it fast and shedding all the core muscle I had worked to develop.
I raced about a 3:52 in the MCM on Sunday, which was not my goal. I'm still very happy to have broken 4 hours again, and I'm happy to have finished at all (which is always a goal when you see people fitter than you passing out mid race). But I am wondering about that 3:40. If things had been only slightly different this summer, I have no doubt that's the time I'd have seen on the clock.
Leaving the chute I realized that I was going out a lot faster (I had lined up with the 3:40 folks, but with no pacer people didn't line up by time). We hit mile 2 and the split came up as 7:52. I knew that wasn't great for my goal of 8:30 so I backed off. My next split came in at 8:22 so I aimed to stay comfortable and kept running off of effort, occasionally checking the splits.
I felt good all the way through mile 13, I mean, I was working, but conversational, having fun, not breathing too hard.
At mile 20 when we hit the bridge to head back towards Arlington, I knew I was in some trouble. I ran-walked through the next couple of miles so that I could finish running. But the walking cost me a bit, obviously.
So my goal now is two-fold: I want to find my humility again and use it to make me a better runner. I want to be able to handle the 26.2 distance confidently and comfortably, not just telling myself "I will finish this." At this point, I know I have the grit to handle the distance when I'm in the race. I just need the training and experience to yield the results I want.
So the plan now is to put together a plan to get trained up for a spring marathon. Even if I don't run a spring marathon. I want to handle the distance in the desired time. I also want to get back on track with my calorie counting, and planning out my meals so that I'm fueled well and in better fighting trim. Here goes, heading into the toughest season to do all that stuff.
Bring it. My legs feel better with that 26.2 behind them, and I'm ready to hit the roads again for a few easy miles tonight.
Also, still happy I beat Oprah.
...and Sean Astin.