June 06, 2014

Motivation from a disaster marathon

When on December 1, 2012, I picked up my California International Marathon race package in Sacramento, I was not sure why I bothered. By then I had been injured, unable to run for five months, and counting. It would take another seven months before I could resume running again.

But I had paid for CIM, and we had driven 1,500K as Tim was racing, so I picked up my race package that contained an Irish green race shirt. It was a nice dry-fit long-sleeve shirt but I was sure I'd never wear it; after all, I could not do the race so why would I wear a shirt that suggested I had?

That CIM shirt remained in my closet, unworn, ... until December 2, 2013, when I did my final training run before the Seattle marathon, my first marathon since that injury, my first marathon in 18 months.

Looking for a shirt to wear, I was instantly drawn to that brand-new CIM shirt: it reminded me of how far I had come since being a reluctant spectator at CIM a year earlier. That shirt represented the long road I had travelled from the time a top sports doctor had suggested I might never run again to that day, finalizing my race strategy.

Today, five days after I ran my worst marathon in 15 marathons over 11 years, I don't yet understand  the meaning of my Windermere Marathon. While I certainly earned that finisher's shirt, a nice dry-fit one in bright cheerful red, I want to hide it because right now it represents a stunning misjudgement of my body's recovery from the Vancouver marathon I ran four weeks prior.

The Windermere Marathon ended my streak of 14 consecutive marathons in 3:15, or faster, and that pisses me off. I went to Spokane with the plan to run 2:59. While I realized that might not happen, I certainly did not expect to go slower than 3:15. And why would I?

I had not needed more than 3:15 for the last 14 marathons, two of which were "revenge" marathons too, only two and five weeks after another. Those revenge marathons I had run in (a then-PB of) 3:06 and 3:10 respectively.

I don't understand why my body was so off last Sunday that I could not even maintain the pace I have been able in my long training runs. Sure, it was an off day. Shit happens. But shit like this has not happened to me since I decided to focus on running in June 2005.

My marathons arranged by finish time:
16.     May 2012           Vancouver    3:00:29
17.     December 2013    Seattle        3:05:09   
15.     October 2011       Victoria       3:06:06 (revenge: 2 weeks)
18.     May 2014            Vancouver    3:06:43
9.       Sept 2008             Victoria       3:07:10
13.     May 2011            Vancouver    3:07:41
6.      April 2007            Canberra      3:08:48
14.    Sept 2011              Bellingham  3:09:40
10.    May 2009             Vancouver     3:10:19   
11.    June 2009             NODM          3:10:39 (revenge: 5 weeks)  
12.    April 2010            Rotterdam     3:11:51
8.      May 2008             Vancouver     3:12:56
5.      July 2006              Gold Coast    3:13:01     
7.      July 2007              Gold Coast    3:15:13
3.      July 2003              Gold Coast    3:24
19.    June 2014            Spokane       3:28:56   
4.     December 2003     Hawaii          3:36
1.     May 1999              Ottawa          4:18
2.    September 2001     Sydney          4:44

Perhaps I needed a marathon to piss me off. If that's the case, I certainly succeeded. Sub-3 marathon: you're going down!

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