Over the past 3 years, my running experienced has evolved.
I’d say that in Year 1 (2017), it was about learning the sport, having fun, and experiencing as much as I could. Everything was new, pretty much every race report started off with a list of 1sts, and nearly every race was a PR.
2018’s theme was travel, with races in Japan, Canada, Chicago, and DC. But unfortunately it was a year of acute injury too, with a traumatic knee DNF at Skyline, and a partially-torn calf at Chicago.
Coming into this year, I had two goals: getting that BQ acceptance letter and extending my range to 50 miles. As this year comes to an end, I’m BEYOND STOKED that I’ve achieved both (plus more, beyond what I had ever imagined in December 2018).
My mindset has changed as well over the years as well. Athletes are often reminded to avoid attaching identity to results. But, during Years 1 and 2, and even after Napa this past March, the supreme disappointment and unhappiness after failed efforts were REAL. But as I’ve hit my goals one by one, I’ve gotten much better at enjoying the process a lot more. Good outcomes feel good, but now they’re more like icing on top.
I’ve also increasingly felt restless… and bored. Running is an incredible base to build fitness, and I wouldn’t be the person I would be today without it. But, after 3 years, I want to try new things, and the theme of “trying new things” (which started the latter half of this year) seems like the direction my 2020 will take. On the shortlist: cycling, climbing, backpacking/bikepacking, swimming, triathlon. On the back burner: snow sports, diving, hanggliding/paragliding, mountaineering.
On the “for sure” list: running farther. And longer.
Which leads to today’s race (as well as my last marathon 7 weeks ago in Columbus). Despite everything I want to do, marathoning still forms my foundation, and for the 50-mile+ ultra, I think marathons are fantastic opportunities to really get motivated, supported long runs in.
So that was my motivation and intention today. Take it easy, don’t get injured, hang with the 3:05 group like I did last year, have fun, and most importantly, feel like I’m “in control.” At Columbus two months ago, I felt like I was in control — I had pretty much no problems, my mind was clear, everything worked out. At TNF50, 3 weeks ago, I was mostly in control — no bonking, no (major) injuries, I was lucid the entire 50+ miles, I had fun.
Today, I was in control up until around Mile 21-22 after which I felt like control over my legs was starting to slip. My cardio was fine, I could hold a full conversation just great, but in my mind, the warning lights were telling me “I’M GOING TO LOSE IT, I’M GOING TO LOSE IT!” And as Mile 22 dragged on to Mile 23, I started losing the 3:05 group, my legs started feeling heavier and heavier, and finally, I kind of collapsed to a a 7:30-8:00 average for the last 2.5 miles. Bummer.
But, oh well. I’m grateful that I’ve mostly recovered from TNF, I’m grateful to have had so many friends come run and cheer today, and I’m grateful that I can even treat a race like this as “training run.”
Hopefully, I’ll have a similar sentiment on my next long run in two weeks, at the Chiang Mai Marathon. 🙂 But before then, see you all at next week’s Christmas Relays!
By the Numbers
Race Day: Sunday, December 9, 2019. Bib: 11135.
Chip Time: 3:07:21 (7:09 min/mile). Gun Time: 3:08:25.
Overall: 1320/7527. Male: 980/426. M30-34: 210/603.
- First time CIM has actually set up corrals. Self-corrals though, by pace! Worked out quite well.
- There were concerns about rain for the week leading up to this race, but in the end, the race actually started out pretty warm (around 55F), in Folsom. There was some drizzle after 1.5 hrs (i.e. after 13-ish miles), but it didn’t pour. Wind wasn’t a noticeable issue (this was really the main concern even above rain).
- Travelled with Ed, Annette, and Jordan. Jordan rocked his first marathon!!!
- Also saw Chris and Matt Mintzias. Passed Matt around Mile 21-ish.
- Scott came to cheer! Got to see Claire PR by over 10 minutes on her second marathon!
- Hung out with Clair, Scott, George, Wendy, Elliot, Amy and Jordan at the finish festival! Though I ran with Casey for the first 15 or so miles, I didn’t see him at the finish. Saw (and heard) Amber cheering for me at Mile 24 (one mile after where she had said she’d be haha), but didn’t see her or Mark after the race either. Finally synced up with Debra, Ed, Katie, Jim, Casey, Jordan and Annette at the hostel afterward, after which we got Vietnamese.
- Though this is my 3rd time running CIM (and still the only marathon I’ve run more than once), I’ve now registered for the next year’s race. I’d like to do something different next year… but the list of friends I see and hang out with every year grows increasingly longer. The allure of going again is strong. I’m already looking forward to what I might decide (and write) next December. 🙂