Monday, February 15, 2010

Unmet Expectations: Myrtle Beach Marathon, 2/13/2010

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you obsessed over it? Have you had a dream you were working toward that was right in your grasp yet due to unforeseen circumstances, slipped through your fingers?
It is funny, sort of ironic…. everyday I set in my chair counseling people on how it is of no use to obsess over things they cannot control. I tell them to change their thought patterns so they can start feeling a different way. I challenge them to rewrite the script in their mind to view their circumstances in a positive manner.
I quote Philippians 4:6-7
"Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Now the teacher becomes the student. My views on life are put to the test and I must now “man up” and practice what I preach.
Now I am not trying to minimize the pain of any person I see. Or am I saying that what I am dealing with even comes close to the pain some of my clients deal with everyday. But pain is relative. We all struggle to make sense of something. We all deal with some sort of loss.
So here is my story:

I think to start off with; a bit of background is needed.
As most of you know, I have been training to qualify for the Boston marathon. The Boston marathon is the Mecca of marathons for the runner. The only marathon, which I am aware of, that you must meet a certain time limit to even be allowed to enter. My time limit happens to be 3:45. That is, I must run another full marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes to even be allowed to sign up for this Boston marathon.
How did I come to obsess…err, I mean want to Boston qualify. Simple. Last year (February 14, 2009) my goal was simply to break a 4-hour time limit in a marathon. I signed up for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, trained and ran. At mile 20, I knew I was going to break 4 hours and was close to being on track for my Boston qualifying time. So I started trying to run a bit faster. However, at mile 23, my calf started cramping and I knew to finish well within my time goal I would need to stop, stretch, then slow down a bit. Boston could wait another year. I did break 4 hours by a good bit. My finishing time ended up being 3:51. That is a mere 6 minutes off what I needed to qualify. So at that point everything I did, running wise, lead to Boston…or so I thought.
In the spring, I decided that to qualify, I needed to add in some speed work. It would take a different approach to shave 6 minutes off of a marathon time. So I signed up for the Run For Your Life Grand Prix series. This was a series of 9 races that I needed to run at close to puke level. My goal was to place 3rd in my age group. Now if you have been reading this blog, you know I ended up doing well in those races. In fact, I did place 3rd in my age group and I am pretty sure I placed #10 in the overall top ten women. Goal met…. and I was faster.
As the races came to a close, I started my new marathon training. This was Hal Higdon’s Advanced I marathon training plan. WOW! Lots of running.
Click here for a brief look at the plan:
This was 18 weeks of running with a purpose. Every run was meant to train me in some specific way. I started this plan so I could race Charlotte marathon as a practice race. I ran every run as Hal prescribed. I feel like I became one of Hal’s close friends. Hal and I understood each other. He was my to speak. He told me what to do, and I was obedient in every way. I studied my numbers, pace, courses, so on and so on. I was focused.
I ran Charlotte….got sick…learned from my mistakes….rethought my nutrition during the race….and started training again. I signed up for Myrtle Beach knowing it was the marathon I would meet my goal on.
After the Charlotte marathon, I had 9 weeks to perfect my marathon running. So I took 1 recovery week then started back on week 11 of Hal’s plan. I did modify week 11 a bit. I ran 16 for my long run instead of 20. However, after that week, I stuck with the training plan. Hal and I were once again together. Everything made sense! I knew what I needed to do.
On week 15 during a track workout, my big toe on my right foot started hurting. It did not hurt while I ran, but afterwards, I could hardly walk. Despite this, I was able to finish the training and started on the taper. I would run every other day and rest, wrap, soak, and baby that toe. By the time I was getting ready to leave for the marathon, I did not think it would prohibit me from qualifying. Like a good runner, I vowed to go see my podiatrist.....well, as soon as I ran Myrtle Beach.
The week of the marathon came. As of Monday, the forecast was calling for a hi of 49 low of 34. Perfect. However, as the week progressed, the forecast became cold, snow, windy. Not good. Friday, February 12th was my birthday. We were all packed up ready to go. Met my parents for a Birthday lunch and my mom asked me what they would do if it snowed and the roads were dangerous for running. I jokingly answered, “I guess they would have to cancel the marathon”. Can anyone say foreshadowing?
We get to Myrtle Beach and pick up my packet, number, a sweet hat, shirt, chip, and water bottle. By this time, they had pushed the marathon starting time back from 0630 to 0700. I felt like this was a good sign that they would just delay the start and not cancel.
After the packet pickup, Matt, the girls, and I went to meet Ricky, Sharon, and the rest of the Va crew for dinner. This was Ricky’s 50th marathon so Sharon had planned a great get together where we all got to tell embarrassing stories about Ricky. It was a blast. It is amazing how running can bring complete strangers together and make them friends.
After the fun, we all headed our separate ways to get ready for bed. By the time we left the restaurant, it was already snowing. Huge, beautiful flakes were falling all around us. Mom had already text me to let me know Charlotte was already under a blanket of snow.
For some reason, I seemed to be in denial. I asked Matt what he thought. He tried to be encouraging, but I feel like he knew this was not a good sign. The organizers of the marathon were wonderful with communicating what was going on. They sent out emails and updates on the news. By the time we got to the place we were staying, things were not looking good. The email I got said the marathon officials want to keep the marathon open, however, the city would make a final decision by 2200.
So we waited, and watched. 2200 came and went and there was no word. However, I knew even if they allowed the marathon to be ran, I would not qualify in these weather conditions. I would try, but would not hurt myself trying. Around 2230 we see the news. The city has decided to cancel the marathon.
What am I feeling? Relief, sadness, anger, sick to my stomach, or oh, I get to sleep in tomorrow. Sleep in? What am I thinking?
I text Ricky and Sharon. They say they are planning to run tomorrow anyway. Ricky tells me to get some sleep and we will assess the conditions tomorrow morning.
The morning comes. Ricky texts and asks if I am up. I have been up almost all night. Laying there in disbelief. Not really sure of how to feel. Almost numb but feeling guilty for making such a big deal out of nothing. There will be other marathons. I know that there is a purpose in this. But right now I am like a child who did not get her way and I want to throw a temper tantrum.
Oh wait, what does the rest of Ricky’s text say? They plan to run at 0900. I think a run will do me good. Matt is not so sure. He is apprehensive on the safety of running. However, he agrees to get out and assess the situation. So we get ready and go. He drops me off with all the Va group and Ricky promises they will take good care of me. Matt tells me to be careful and takes the girls to get some breakfast.

The Crew who braved the snow!
We decide to run 7.5 from the hotel and then come back. This run will take place on the marathon course. As we start running I start feeling better…. but then I get mad…no I feel better…mad…better…and on and on. All the guys felt the same. We feel like we have been robbed of something, but there is no one to be mad at. That is frustrating.
Nevertheless, a run with friends does a person good. We talk about work, stress, and future running plans, and nothing at all. The guys pick on each other and we laugh.
We run.
We run because that is what we do. We end up running 16 miles. That is 10.2 less than what I had planned. All around us, there are other runners running, trying to make sense of it all.

Running correlates with life. Every run is a teacher. My year of training did not end up in a Boston qualifying time. However, I learned a lesson. I know it is of no use to obsess over things I cannot control. I will change my thought patterns so I can start feeling a different way. I challenge myself to rewrite the script in my mind to view my circumstances in a positive manner.
Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Now the teacher becomes the student.
I do feel a sense of loss. However, it is a part of me. I choose not to feel guilty when people tell me there will be other marathons. I know they do not understand. I choose to keep running, because that is what I do. I choose to chase my Boston dream and hope that one day it will be a reality.
And at the end of the day I know this has a purpose. God is in control, even in the seemingly small things like running.

Running the grand strand with friends!

The fellas!

Me by the ocean!

Ricky by the ocean!

Need I say more!

Ricky and Sharon!

A grand finish!


triblog carol said...

That is a great blog post. I never knew you were a therapist - wise words about not obsessing over things you cannot control. I will take those words to heart. I like how you began and ended your blog with that. You'll get there next year!

BTW, my birthday is Feb 12th, also. Happy belated birthday :-)

Jessi said...

I wub you. And I know that you will run Boston. And I will be there. Running (and you) made me less of a control freak. I still have the occasional day (today) but I have learned to let go. I loved this blog. I get you.