Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DNF Aftermath

I've gotten a lot of feedback on my Shamrock experience and since my recap was rather grim, I feel the need to address some of the comments.

I'm not feeling much better about the situation, but I am going to continue running and training and doing what I love to do. I'm upset about this and I am going to allow myself to be upset until time makes it all better.

Most of the comments fell into three buckets:

Figure out what you do differently on marathon day so that you can address the issue and run great marathons.
My coach is in this camp. My response is that I'm fresh out of ideas. I don't do anything different on race day. Really the only difference is that I hydrate more, but I get plenty of electrolytes too, so I don't think I am over hydrating. I have the same shoes, the same nutrition, the same fitness level, the same sleep. I can't pinpoint anything, which is why I think there could be a subconscious mental aspect.

You had a bad day-- don't over analyze it. Just get back out there.
I could have said this in 2010. But it's happened so many times that there has to be something going on.

Focus on shorter distances (aka don't run marathons).
Shorter distances are great and I focus on them quite a bit. But I will continue to believe in myself and my ability to run a great marathon. I have done it many times before and I will be able to do it again.

I don't have any real solutions. I think the next time I run a marathon I'm not going to try and relax, I'm not going to try and "work" on my attitude. I am just going to be me. I am going to let myself feel whatever I feel-- anxiety, excitement, fear, longing. I'm just going to go with it.

And I'm going to wear headphones next time. All of my good marathons were with headphones. All of my bad marathons were without them. Somewhere along the way I told myself that it wasn't good to wear headphones during a marathon. Maybe I just need that music to get outside of my head and pull me along. I don't train with headphones because I am usually running with others. But when I run alone, I have headphones and I like it.

Time to get some sleep.


  1. I've never run a marathon so I'm not really qualified to talk about it but I LOVE headphones. They help me stop thinking and just run.

  2. This might sound crazy, but how about just going out on your own one day and running 26.2? Don't worry about pace, just go at a comfortable effort--just a little faster than an easy effort and see what your time is like. I am currently training for an ultra and I did a training run of 26 miles and the time was faster than my last two marathons!

  3. Beth, I have seriously considered that. During one of my 20-milers for this cycle, I felt so great at the end (already having averaged 8:40) that I was tempted to keep going. I might actually do that. . .

    1. I think you should. If nothing else, it would be an interesting experiment. You have nothing to lose!
      (same Beth as above, just updated profile!)

  4. I didn't comment on your last post because I don't have anything "helpful" to say. just know that I'm thinking about you.

  5. "I don't have any real solutions. I think the next time I run a marathon I'm not going to try and relax, I'm not going to try and "work" on my attitude. I am just going to be me. I am going to let myself feel whatever I feel-- anxiety, excitement, fear, longing. I'm just going to go with it."

    Bingo (I think).

    I've learned that it's never a good idea to run someone else's race - you run your own, pacing to your own strengths.

    Makes sense that the mental aspects of racing are the same -- we each need to mentally pace in our own way. So you just need to keep playing. And you will figure it out. And the answer may be quite different for you than for me, or for someone else.

  6. Maybe it's something about tapering that throws you off? I know that back when I was swimming, there were some girls on my team who just never had good races at the end of the year when we were tapered. For some reason they did better mid-season when our training volume was much higher. I know there's lots of science behind marathon training and tapering, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the right thing for everyone. Just something I thought of when I was reading your post.

  7. I'm going to throw out an unconventional idea that some reading this blog might think is ridiculous. I think you should register and plan to run 3 marathons all in less than 6 months. Hear me out-
    *I think in previous races you have psyched yourself, easy for all of us to do. You train for months to have it all on the shoulders of a race that lasts a few hours. The many marathon plan will solve that b/c "there's always the next one."
    *I think that you have a bad luck problem and get crappy weather occasionally. My plan will also solve that b/c "there's always the next one."
    *Finally, your first one back might be a bit rusty. In that case, you will be left yearning for more, and you will have another marathon planned to really nail that BQ.

    And I'm not just blowing this out my butt; it's exactly how I planned my winter racing. I had a BOMB in November, resulting in ambulance/ER visit. January was a PR marathon, and I turned around and ran fairly well in March.

    ((((HUGS)))) to you!

  8. I really don't have anything helpful to say either. I think we all go through things that wind up fixing themselves somehow.

    Let's talk electrolytes tomorrow...

  9. One thing I did on my training run over the weekend that helped my brain immensely is that I set my garmin to display the distance only, and I turned the sound off. At any given point I didn't know my pace, and it really helped. I know this doesn't relate a whole lot to this post in particular, but, it's another thing you could try in the future.