Since Sunday’s marathon, I’ve wrapped my head around the race a little more and have come to realize that initial thoughts aren’t always the last thoughts.
With an official time of 3:28:57, there were some factors affecting the outcome. Travel, sleep, nutrition and hydration, training and attitude all played key roles in a time that was nearly 11 minutes slower than my time at Grandma’s Marathon last June.
Going into the race, I shrugged it off as a training run. During it, I made a couple of stops, something I’d normally never do. Even my early pit stop, aiming to make myself more comfortable for the next 25 miles, was a decisive moment in the marathon.
That early stop focused on comfort and enjoying the race, rather than aiming to nail a faster time. And when it was over, while I found my feet blistered, I didn’t feel like I had run a marathon.
Six months ago, when running in Duluth, I found myself pushing myself through discomfort, aiming to straddle the red line of racing to get my best time. This time, with doubts about my training and fitness, my goal was to set myself up for a great spring of running and fitness building. But I question if that was the best approach.
The next morning, before catching my flight back to Fargo, I headed out for a short run. Before my first strides, my legs felt no worse for the wear from the marathon. During the short 3 miles, my legs were a little sluggish, but nowhere near dead. And that should be a good indication that there was more to give during the marathon.
It was a good learning experience. I had fun, but should have found the marathon more taxing on my legs and body. And while I wasn’t in racing shape, now I know there is more in reserve to make the next marathon better – and faster.
Also, I’ve been updating the list of regional races posted on the blog. Dozens have been added over the past few weeks, including a few more dates and links today. Click here to see a lengthy list of races in 2012.