Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

excuses, excuses...lessons, lessons

Note: this post will make more sense if you read the preceding post first.

Okay, I'm not one to make excuses...usually, but now that I'm home, I've had a few moments to reflect on my race, 'er lack of race, today. One of the factors I was taking into account when I decided to drop out was how hard I seemed to be working for the pace I thought (key word) I was running. I just figured out I ran the first 6 miles way too fast! In fact, 9 of my 11 miles today were significantly under pace!

Here's how that happened:
In my younger, faster, superstar (joking!!) days of running, I qualified for Boston by running with a "pace group." So, I figured I'd use the same strategy this time around. The pacers are sponsored by Clif Bar, a sports nutrition company. They assure you of running the pace you want to run without having to think and worry so much! They carry balloons throughout the race so we runners can keep our pacer in sight. There are pace runners for a wide variety of paces, starting at perhaps 2:30, 2:35, 2:40...all the way up to over 5 hours in five minute increments. There were probably over 100 of us following Rachel, the 3:50 pacer.

To run a 3:50, we needed to average 8:47 per mile for the entire 26.2 miles. When I ran with a pace group previously, I remember feeling like we were running too fast in the early miles, so I didn't panic when I felt that way again today. I am a slow-to-warm-up runner, and I always feel better later in races than I do at the beginning. Nevertheless, I was struggling to keep up. I tried to check my watch a couple times, but the rain made it impossible to read. I figured the cold and rain were making everything feel more difficult, and they likely were, but...

I just reviewed my miles on my GPS running watch. Rather than around 8:47 per mile, we ran 8:20, 8:27, 8:25, 8:26, 8:24, 8:29, 8:39, 8:52 (no wonder I caught up to her during mile 8!), 8:43, 8:35, and 8:37, at which point I was too frozen, soaked, and tired to continue. We ran way too fast! And running too fast early in a marathon has probably dashed more marathoner's hopes than all the other excuses combined! UGH!

I don't begrudge Rachel at all. I don't blame her at all. She, like the rest of us, was miserable! I did not envy her chore. I hope she got as many of our group to the finish as possible. There were many, many women attempting to qualify in the group.

I do wish I had trusted my own instincts more and worked harder to view my own damn watch. In the long list of lessons today, this was another lesson learned. In my next race, I will run my pace, pay attention to the messages my body is screaming at me, and use the pace group, if at all, as a guide, not God. Lesson number 3,867,211...or there about...I've lost track.


Jennifer said...

Sorry to hear about the weather and the pace -- but it sounds like you did the right thing and have the right perspective.

Running Hoosier said...

Wow, that is amazing. You keep a tally on all the lessons you have learned. Neat. : )


beartwinsmom said...

Good lesson on using the pace group. We could use that analogy for a lot of things. I'm glad you didn't push yourself to the point of getting sick, though.

BTW, I tagged you at my blog. :-)