Friday, April 29, 2016

Oshkosh Marathon Report: Nobody Dies and Says "Glad I Didn't Try"*

Well, that happened.

I can't even be that bummed about it. (And surprisingly, I'm not.) I feel like it was a big question mark trying to race another marathon just three weeks after running under 3:39. In the past I've run two marathons five weeks apart and PR-ed, but I've also run two marathons four weeks apart and completely blown up. (The latter was a super hot day though so I still thought it was at least worth trying to see what would happen.)

So... what exactly did happen?

Clearly, I was not fully recovered from Circular Logic three weeks ago. It's one of those things where you might *feel* like you are better but you don't actually know until you get out there and try- and then your body says OH HELL NO.

As for training, I treated the Circular Logic Marathon like it was my "last long run" of a regular marathon cycle and did a re-taper of three weeks into Oshkosh. I figured that I was already conditioned to run the distance, I just needed to focus on recovery so I could be well rested on race day.  I did a teeny tiny bit of marathon tempo work but I really erred on the side of caution because I didn't want to overdo it. I know I can run an 8:10 pace for a lot of miles, I just needed to rest up so I could try it again for 26.2.

Start photo. All business

Race morning was perfect. I would have killed for these conditions in Indiana a few weeks ago! Cool, cloudy, and most importantly NO WIND to speak of. If I would have chosen this race as my goal race initially I would have been golden. (Ugh. I'm trying hard not to think about that too much.)

Anyway, there's not really much to tell about the actual race. The story is that I was able to go out at the pace I wanted, it just never felt good. I always tell myself to give it a couple of miles before freaking out because sometimes it can take a while to settle in. But by mile 10 I knew it just wasn't going to fly that day. My legs weren't sore but I felt sluggish overall and even though I don't wear a heart rate monitor I could tell that I was exerting more energy than usual to run at that pace.

It took me a couple of more miles to talk it through in my brain and then I made the decision to let it go for the day. Between mile 12 an 13 I downshifted into my regular "easy" long run training pace. It wasn't going to be worth it to try to force the marathon distance again and come up with a 3:43 or something like that. Clearly, I needed to step back.

BUT, I've got the Ice Age 50 mile coming up on May 14th so it wasn't like I was going to drop out right? Before I had decided to run this marathon I actually had a 50K trail run on my training schedule. In short, I needed to run a lot of miles on this day either way and now it didn't matter what the pace was so I could relax and chill out.  So I did!

Near the finish. Emotions.

When I file this race away it won't really stand out that much, but this photo happened to catch a moment when I was suddenly feeling really overwhelmed and grateful for what I'm able to do. I mean, I just qualified for Boston three weeks ago and here I was running a 3:55- a time that was my dream time just a few short years ago. What an ass I would be to not be grateful for that.

The week leading up to this race was kind of rough for me. The 15th anniversary of my mom's death was on Saturday and my emotions were all tied up in that as I drove to Oshkosh that day. By mile 20 on Sunday though all I could think about how incredibly proud my mom would have been of me if she were still around (at least I'm pretty sure of that) and whether I run a 3:35 or 3:55 of 5:55 she would be proud and amazed either way. 

I hear that Boston Qualifications are way down this year due to some warmer weather at races. Maybe my BQ -1:03 will hold up after all and I'll get to run Boston 2017?

*Credit to Tigernite's "Empire" for the post title. 

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