|This smile is a lie.|
Well, file this one under Shoulda Known Better. I knew once I decided to race another marathon this spring instead of focusing on my trail build up for Ice Age that I was risking not being able to finish this race. The fact that it came true just proves the question that I've been asking myself lately:
Can I be successful road racing and trail running at the same time?
A lot of people can be rock stars at both. Me? Sure I can take part in both, maybe even have decent finishes at both (except last weekend. Ha.) But I'm talking about being good at both. Like, the best you can possibly be at both. What I realized this weekend is that even though I love both "fast" road running and trail ultraunning, I really need to just pick a lane. (For now, at least.)
Sure, I had stomach issues during this race. I don't know if it was something I ate during the race or if was just a fluke but I struggled a lot with digestive stuff for the first time at an event. Still, I think if I had been better prepared for this race overall I would have had a better chance of overcoming my situation- both physically and mentally.
Here's how this spring should have went- if I had better judgement:
1. Finish Circular Logic with my BQ. (Check! Did that.)
2. Recover for a week. (Check)
3. Do a mini-build up for Ice Age that culminated with running a 50K trail race three weeks out.
Oh wait, whoops.
What did I do instead? I got all bent out of shape about my marathon time not being better and signed up for another road race, re-tapered for that, had a mediocre race, followed that up with a mad scramble to get some trail runs in before re-re-tapering for 50 miles.
You get what you deserve eh? I SO DID.
I love trail running. I love ultrarunning. But here's the thing: I love road racing too. I'm also not a dummy and know that I probably only have 5ish good years to continue getting faster before I just don't anymore. Sorry, it's just a fact.
So.... I pick road running. (For now.) Not to say that I won't do other trail races (or even ultras) but the focus of my running is going to be on getting my marathon and half marathon times down to what I believe is my full potential. I can't sabotage one love with the other anymore. Yes, I realize this is just a silly hobby and I'll never be an "elite" runner, but it's also a fun game for me.
And I want to win my own personal nobody-gives-a-shit-about-it game.
This epiphany has also led to the decision that I need a coach. I started running a little over 8 years ago, ran my first 5Kin 2008, my first marathon in 2009. Since then I've dropped my marathon time from 4:27 to 3:38- all on my own! I take pride in that but it's clear to me that if I wan't to get to the next level I need someone to help reign in all this crazy energy I have and focus it in the right direction.
So here's to learning and growing and all that stuff.
Big goals for Chicago Marathon this fall! Let's get started.