Okay it didn’t feel glorious by the end, but I challenged myself to go that bit harder from the start in the recent Gold Coast Marathon, hoping to set a big PB. It didn’t work out.
I felt amazing for the first half marathon and was running a pretty slick pace (for me), but I blew up badly and got progressively slower and more uncomfortable the longer the race went.
Instead of the PB I had envisaged I ended up coming in a lot slower than my previous best efforts- slower than I have run for the past 18 months- despite being on track to smash it at half way.
I'm not sure I have ever wanted to quit a race more than I did today and if I had to that would have been okay. But while I was injury-free and still had the strength to run I was pretty determined not to give up. The importance of resilience and seeing things through is a value I want to pass on to my daughter so I told myself I didn't want to feel like a hypocrite when I spoke to her about it in years to come. This proved a powerful motivator, and just running the last 14km of the race without stopping when things weren't going my way felt like something I could be proud of.
While I was disappointed at misjudging the race, and I certainly feel like I missed an opportunity to make the most out of the fast course and good conditions, I don’t blame myself for having a go and failing.
I have written on this site already about my view that it is important not to fear failure and accept that it must happen from time to time. Further to that, when asked for advice about running, I have always encouraged people to be ambitious and go for things they think are right at the edge of what they can attain. So I have to extend the same logic to my own goal setting.
Which isn’t to say I enjoyed the experience. I didn’t. It was really hard for the last hour or so and I also have to admit that for all that I say about accepting failure, it still stings a bit.
But I learnt a lot today. I will go back to my training with new motivation to work even harder and will go into my next marathon with a better understanding of what speeds I can and cannot sustain.