Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hall of Fame Marathon Race Report - Hall of Fame 1, Pam 0

Sunday was a big day for me. I was ready to accomplish a couple of big goals including my second BQ and a shiny, new marathon PR. I have trained with determination for months. Through ups and downs, health concerns, foreign business trips. There were many obstacles this year that threatened to get in the way of my big goals - but I got through each of them. I never gave in. I never skipped my training - when I could control it.  Most weeks of the year I have run 50+ miles - sometimes reaching 70. I added in more cross training to avoid injury. I've biked hundreds of miles to keep my legs strong. I went to the gym all winter - lifting heavy a couple of times each week to avoid injuries mid season. I feel I did everything I could to achieve my goal. Yet, I didn't.

Prerace photo with my cute pacer!
I lined up at the Hall of Fame Marathon ready to give everything I had. Even after I knew the weather forecast wasn't ideal I could not bring myself to back down from my goals. My brain just doesn't work this way. I instead tried to acclimate to the heat as much as I could - running hot tempo runs at lunch and hydrating more than usual. I thought maybe if I ran a smart race with even splits I could beat the heat. This worked for a while. But then the heat and lack of water on the course got to me. Going two or three miles after 13 miles of running around an average of 8:08 without water caught up to me. Thank goodness my husband snagged a Gatorade bottle for me that I was able to refill and run with for the rest of the race. If not, I don't think I would have made it much longer.

The heat was heavy, my body sweaty, stomach sick from Gatorade, calves cramping and I just gave in a little around mile 19-20. Not a complete "I don't give an F" give in but an "I can't keep going this hard or I am going to pay for this" give in. So I walked a little. Then a little more. I did what I could do. I let my big goals go around mile 21 or 22. I negotiated with myself. Just break 3:45 I told myself. At least you will get in a good training run for Cleveland I told myself. You can try again. It's okay. Everyone is hurting. Not just you. Just do what you can do today. So I listened to my inner voice. I tried to run slower and steadier and just bring it home. I finished in 3:46:07. My husband was cramping and wanted to sit down for a few minutes. I couldn't. I just walked for a little bit and then stopped. And cried. Tears of frustration, exhaustion, disappointment, relief. The pressure that I put on myself temporarily removed. Until I try again. Soon. In less than three weeks - in Cleveland.

At times I wish I could just not care. Why can't I just do this for fun? Why do I need to compete? What makes me push myself so hard? So often? Maybe the need to control my environment? Maybe to prove to myself that I am good enough? Maybe something else? I can't say exactly what drives me. As long as I am competing I will compete against myself. I will set bigger goals.  And I guess that's okay. I just want to achieve things so I set big goals and then I work hard for them. I take them seriously. I make them part of me. It's not right or wrong. That's just how it is. Thank goodness I am an amateur - I can't imagine the pressure of being an elite and having my paycheck depend on meeting my goals.

So now, I rest and recover. I prepare for the Cleveland Marathon, Green Jewel 50K and the Canal Corridor 100. One day at a time. One run at a time. One mile at a time. Who knows what the future holds. Maybe bigger things than I can even imagine in this moment. Maybe more disappointment. No matter what, the journey won't be boring. And I will learn something new - even if it is something as simple as accepting myself and my failures. At least I earned a sweet finisher medal, right? I also earned my hoppy beer at R. Shea Brewing after the race!

Best part of this race is the medal for sure!

Post race at R. Shea enjoying an IPA!


  1. Loved your post-your raw honesty-I could feel it. I know how intense it is to push all the time, I find myself doing that as well. Hang in there-CLE is right around the corner and we are guaranteed good weather (karma!)

    1. Thanks lady! We certainly deserve nice weather! Congrats again on your O24 100K finish!