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!