In 2012, I set a lot of goals for myself. Too many goals really. I ended up being a bit overbooked and probably overtrained as I completed the Ironman and then dove right back into working out, urging my body to recover faster than needed. In 2013, I set 3 simple goals:
1) To Qualify for the 2014 Boston Marathon
2) To Complete P90X2
3) To Run a Sub 1:45 Half Marathon
I only achieved one of my goals. In March and again this last weekend, I ran a sub 1:45 half marathon. Unfortunately, if you’ve been reading, my quest to qualify for Boston at the Eugene Marathon ended in disappointment with a DNF and then a redemption race at the OC Marathon ended in a 3:40 marathon – not the 3:35 or faster I needed to qualify. As for P90X2, I abandoned the idea when I fell in love with Club Pilates. One day I do plan to complete this program, just not this year. The reason I added P90X2 to my list of goals was that I wanted to focus on strength training again, and with Club Pilates and some of the strength training I did at the gym, I achieved that goal. Just not in the way I set out.
Getting engaged and then planning on getting married in the same year put the brakes on any further attempts to qualify for the 2014 Boston Marathon this year. And that’s ok. I wouldn’t trade a BQ for the wonderful year I had with Mike and Boston will always be there waiting for me when I make it.
Endurance sport is all about experience. Although a few lucky ones do qualify for Boston or even Kona on their first attempt, it is rare. Endurance sport takes practice. With every race we learn something new, even if it’s just as simple as knowing that slapping a kid’s hand on the side of the race course is worth the extra feet ran to get close enough to do it, or as complicated as knowing when and if to take electrolytes, water, and calories. We learn what a good race feels like, what a bad one does, when to call it quits and when to keep going. We learn. Anyone who lacks patience will not succeed at endurance sport.
And so I’ve learned to be patient. In 2011 I had a year of success – PRs galore, my first sprint triathlon barely preceded by registration for my first Ironman, a podium finish at my first Olympic triathlon. I was new to the sport and I had a lot of gains to be made. A little work reaped big rewards. I thought it would last forever!
Now that I’ve been doing it longer, the rewards don’t come as often, but when they do, they are that much sweeter. My 2013 racing year wasn’t full of PRs, sunshine and celebrations. But, it was an important year, maybe the most important of all. I learned that the mind is stronger than the body. I learned that nutrition does matter. I learned that even if all the numbers say you can race a certain time, there’s a good chance you won’t. You can’t predict if a race will go well, and that’s the beauty of when it does.
2013 was great in a way that I wouldn’t have expected it to be. I’ve moved past the disappointment of failure and instead I’m focusing on learning from it. 2014 is going to be a great year. The things I feared the most happened and therefore there isn’t anything to be scared of anymore. Now the BQ will be even sweeter.
What race has taught you the most about endurance sport?