3rd one done.

My goal going into today’s marathon was an 8:30 pace with a finish time of 3:45. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I rocked that for the first half, led by a speedy pacer, and then dropped back to run ALONE ( it was a super small race) for the rest. It’s weird that I’m not more disappointed. Maybe tomorrow that guy wretching disappointment will set in. But right now I’m proud that I tried my hardest through the whole thing. I was running alone for mile after mile and was still able to finish in 4:00. My Nike App says 3:56 for the 26.2 and that I ran 26.5 in 4:00. So I’m saying I finally broke 4.

The Believe Journal training log I use speaks about the importance of setting different levels of goals. And I usually do but this is the only time I did it well. I had my crazy goal of 3:45. But I also wanted to fuel right. And not have to use a porta potty mid race. And to finish strong. After NYC this fall- those goals were SUPER important to me. Just as important as a time goal. NYC was SO painful for those last 6 miles and I wanted to avoid that. And I freakin did. I fueled early and often. I carried my own gaterade since the race didn’t offer it and hid an extra bottle behind a tree. I ate 2 gels and 1 cliff bar and 3 rungums. Sounds like a lot – which it is! But I’m six feet tall and that’s what my body needs. So I’m very happy that I learned from NYC and put those lessons in action.

My third goal was to break 4 hours. This was my goal for NYC and I blew that due to fueling and potty issues. Today my chip time was 4:00:19. So yeah, I’m counting that. I was giving it my all in that last stretch.

The odd thing is, for having such a time goal, I did not keep track of my pace. I just ran as fast as I could. I kept just trying my best. I didn’t want to check because I didn’t want to become negative. I just adjusted my goals mid race and kept pushing. That’s an awesome thing for me. Staying positive and not giving up. Proud. I’m not disappointed in myself because I know deep down I did the best I could.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do things different if I could go back. I would pace myself instead of going with the pacer whose pace was 15 seconds too fast. I would set a goal pace of 8:40 instead of 8:30. But hell! Only two things?!? I’m proud. #growth

The biggest ephiany of the day was that meeting my goal times and eventually qualifying for a race like Boston are NOT why I race.

Every time I look in the mirror lately, I think “damn! Nice legs!” I so freakin proud and excited about what training does to my body. I LOVE my 6 foot 180 lb body. Love it!  Love the muscles and curves. I didn’t always so this is amazing. And so much more important than finishing times.

Every time I wake up early and run miles and miles before work, I feel so proud, so badass. Every time I leave an after school meeting to go run a speed workout on the track, I am in awe that I am someone who runs speed workouts on a track. Me!! The best part of running marathons? I have become confident that I am an athlete. Let me say that again: I AM AN ATHLETE! Me!! Love that. So much. I love 50 mile weeks. I love that kick ass feeling that I can do anything. I love seeing the progress  from when I first started running. I love knowing that the pain means I’m getting better. I love knowing that when it sucks, I can keep going.

This doesn’t mean that I didn’t cry when I crossed the finish line and throw myself Shalane Flanagan style into Katie’s arms. I AM disappointed ( and SO FREAKIN MOTIVATED TO DO BETTER NEXT TIME!!) but the feeling of pride that it sucked and I kept going is much bigger than that disappointment.

And the best part?!? Since it was a super small race, we both placed third in our age groups!!!! Yes!!! We were hugging each other in pain and disappointment when we heard them in the background saying we both placed third in our age groups. A once in a life time chance to place in a marathon!! That made it all even more worth it. I’ll never forget that moment.

And one more lesson learned: after getting a ton of unsolicited advice from everyone before running NYC, Katie and I made a pact to not tell anyone we were training for another marathon. All winter long, we kept it a secret from our coworkers and friends. We posted things on Instagram, where we are not friends with anyone in our physical lives but that was it. It  was awesome. Like a sectet superpower or something. It got hard last week when people started asking us point blank when out next race was . “Uh, ask me again next week!” was my reply. And today we did share our happiness on Twitter so the secret is out but it was pretty awesome and I definitely plan to be an undercover marathon trainer again. My goal for tomorrow is to not allow people to question my race and tell me how I should have done it differently. This is my journey. I know they mean well, but the smirks and comments “you went out to fast!” ( no duh!) really aren’t needed. “Your goal was so unrealistic!” ( no way, really?! Thanks for letting me know!).  I’m proud of my journey and growth and don’t want the negativity that gets cloaked in “kindness.” It also makes me super aware of how I respond to other runner’s experiences. No need to instill doubt and disappointment. Let’s share positive congrats instead.

It all seems so surreal looking back. I actually did that today?!? Wow. My body is doing that “we are shutting you down now so you can heal” thing, so I’ve got to stop typing but thanks for reading. My biggest message today is that it is worth it. It’s worth the disappointments, the early mornings, the sore body, the odd looks from coworkers, the expensive sneakers, the doubts, the pain…it’s worth it because it makes you better. It makes you badass. And damn do I love being badass.

Meaghan

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