Last year I ran my full marathon, TWENTY-SIX POINT TWO LOOOONG MILES. I had never in a million years thought I could do it. My only expectation was to finish under 5 hours. I trained hard and took care of my knee so there was no pain. I had the best run. I felt great and finished in 4 hours 20 minutes. I was more than happy with that time.
This year I decided to run the half again.
(picking up our packets)
(pre-race carb/protien overload)
I had a great training experience. I mixed it up from the last two races by adding more cross training and sprints. I wanted to do this race for time. I wanted to run it in 2 hours or under. I knew taking 8 minutes off my time was going to be tough but I felt like I had it in the bag.
Last Saturday was race day.
I started with the pack but it was hard to stay together in the sea of runners. I got a little ahead of my friends and realized I had lost my buddy Melissa completely. I slowed down to find her and she was not doing so good. She was sick already. I ran with her for a little bit but I had decided that at mile three I was going to go for it and run my own race. The night before my friend Meg who I had ran with the last two races kept telling me to go for it and see how fast I could do it. So with her in my ear I took off.
I put on my running tunes and found a good pace. I didn't have a garmin so I had no idea where I was. Half way through the race I was under an hour and felt great.
As I came into mile 11 I heard my friend Randi behind me so I ran with her for a tiny bit, but then she told me to go. So I took off again. I was excited to be so close to the end but decided to save my sprint until I could see the finish line. Then I saw my other running friend Jessica who had already finished running towards me and she gave me some encouragement so I kicked it into gear again.
The finish line wasn't where it had been the year before so I couldn't see it, but then I heard my name and looked up and saw the finish line with the giant numbers displaying 2:03:42.
UGHHHHH! I was so disappointed. I couldn't find my family in the crowd. My friends were either on the trail or had left. I was all alone at the finish line. I begrudgingly grabbed my medal and drank some water as I walked it off.
I walked around feeling so annoyed. It was such a different feeling from the year before. I felt like I had blown it. I was too tired to cry about it, instead I was mad.
After a while I realized I still had friends out there and I needed to cheer them in. I also had my family that I needed to find.
We took pictures and congratulated each other.
I got home and Aric took care of the kids so that I could have some time to recover. I finally let it all out and let the disappointment take over. I had a pity party all by myself. I was so mad that I had left my friends to run "my own" race just to be disappointed with my time. It wasn't worth it. I wish I had ran with them, especially Melissa. It was her first race and I left her at mile three sick! I felt like a horrible friend.
It didn't take long for me to realize how stupid I was being. I ran a good race. The best part of the race wasn't the race at all. It was training with wonderful friends who love me and inspire me. It was my kids and Aric at the end who were so proud of me. It was realizing once again how blessed I am to have a body that can keep up with all the demands that I put on it.
I had to get over myself. 1:59:00 is just a number. It's not who I am. With the time of 2:03:36 my family was still proud of me.
And my friends still loved me, even though I ditched them.
This whole experience made me realize how I let unnecessary expectations get the best of me. I get so caught up in how I don't measure up, that I can't see what I have accomplished. Not just in running, but in my life.
So here is to a new way of thinking,(at least for today), I am going to get over myself and see the positive instead of the negative. Instead of looking at my house and seeing all the things I didn't get done I will focus on the things that I did do. Like go to the fifth grade celebration planning meeting. Like reinstall the toilet. Like watch my friends kid so she could get some training done for her job. Like work on my book that I never have time to work on.
I hope my little experience/life lesson will help you get over yourself and see past your unrealistic expectations. Maybe then you can focus on all the amazing things you do that you don't give yourself credit for.