I have come to believe that a post-race report is as important as (if not more important than) a race report. Your mindset immediately after the race is not unlike your mindset during the race. By that, I mean that all the tricks your mind plays on you during the race - in that last 10k of a marathon, for example - all those demons continue to dance around behind your eyes for a good 24-72 hours post-completion. (In my case, those demons are always: You're too slow. You're too weak. Everyone else is better than you. You can't make it. You're not a runner - you're a phony.) Once those little bastards are effectively terminated and Race Crank has gone away, you gain the p-word.

Perspective, that is.

It happens when those demons - which are emotions - dissipate (as they always do), and logic takes their place.

My dad had this saying when I was growing up: "There are no victims, only volunteers." This is a relatively logical statement from a very logical guy. The older I get, the more relevant this is to my life, and my racing life in particular. But it didn't click until after the race and the Race Crank was over. Of course, no one forced me to run a marathon. Of course, no one forced me to get sick several times over my training cycle. Of course, no one forced me to walk off and on for the last 8 miles. Of course, no one forced me to wear a skirt that day. Of course, no one forced me to party like a college kid several times over the course of the few months preceding the marathon. No one's forcing me to go to school while I work. And no one's forcing me to practice better nutrition strategies, either.

Now that I'm effectively "on the other side," I can clearly see my Philadelphia experience for what it was and I realize that my expectations were WAY too high.

1. I knew from the beginning that I was doing this marathon "just to finish."

Because of or directly related to this:
2. I tacked it onto a long season of training that had already included 12 races - 4 completed triathlons and 4 completed road races - including a 5k PR and a half marathon on one of the sickest days of my life.
3. I did not alter my daily lifestyle or nutrition - other than the day before the race - to prepare.
4. Beforehand, I was aware that I may or may not complete the race, especially since this has been a particularly difficult season for my mental and physical health.

In conclusion . . .
The result I received was in direct proportion to, if not BETTER than, the planning and effort dedicated to the task. Logically . . . I was lucky just to finish. And I *did* finish. Against some pretty incredible odds.

I've never been the fastest runner in the pack. I'll never be the fastest runner in the pack. I've known this. Which is why I'm not racing anyone else . . . just myself.

Which, in my book, means I won.


We always knew I was a weiner.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

I am the Big Bad Wolf said...

Exactly. You have lots of room for improvement in the marathon. The thing is, to improve you have to train specifically for the event. You can't just "run it" for fun with a time goal in mind. You're going to be an IRONMAN!