It’s all about perspective. I have to keep reminding myself of that. I finished the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday – but it wasn’t my proudest performance.
I felt great ahead of the marathon, and I started out feeling wonderful and strong. I ran some of my fastest splits for the first 13 miles. But then around mile 14 muscle cramps set in.
Burning, painful charley horses crept up my quads, into my calves and feet as the miles mounted. I was forced to walk, setting me off pace and causing me to question if I would finish.
The last 10 miles were the most difficult I’ve experienced in my running career. But I finished.
I was disappointed with how I had done. But I finished.
Did I let the heat get to me? Did I start off too fast? Did I not drink enough water or Gatorade? Did I not stretch enough? The questions pelted me as I ran, and linger well after the race ended. But I finished.
I finished about 10 minutes later than my goal time; it wasn’t my best time, and it wasn’t my worst. I grimaced as I approached the end. But I finished.
As I lamented my performance after the race, upset with my race strategy and pain (which I had never experienced in any of my other four marathons, nor during training runs), my husband, family, friends and coworkers reminded me about an impressive accomplishment: I finished.
Some days you beat the race, and other days the race beats you. But, again, it’s all about perspective. I wasn’t pleased with how I ran, but I still was able to cross the finish line of a truly inspiring race.
Where do I go from here? You better believe I will be back to run the 43rd Marine Corps Marathon. I may not have had my best race on Sunday, but I still love running and I still adore the Marine Corps Marathon race. I still cherish my time running and value my interactions with so many people in the running community. Between now and then, I’ll be running other races around the country and the D.C. area – let me know if you have any recommendations! Follow me on Twitter to get more information about those adventures.
To all the other Marine Corps Marathon runners, congratulations! You have a lot to be proud of. Let me know how you did and what's next on your race calendar. But for now, relax, indulge, stretch and rest. Mission accomplished!
Miss any of WTOP's coverage? Check out our Marine Corps Marathon page with photos, details about the day and a follow up about how runners spotlighted on WTOP finished.