I just applied to be a Race Ambassador for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. When I searched the race results, I realized that the first time I ran the race was in 2008 which means the 2018 CUCB will be the 10th anniversary of my first time running the race. Wow! When I think about all the miles I've logged, injuries I've endured, and fun I've had training and racing over the past ten years it's hard for me to remember my life before becoming a runner (sort of like recalling life before having children!).
I'm regretful that I don't have a CUCB streak and it's not because I didn't get in the lottery. When I ran the best race of any distance in my entire life at the 2012 CUCB I made a conscious decision to not return in 2013, 2014, or 2015. I knew I would never run a race as fast or as satisfying on that course again and I wanted to end on a high note. It seems sad and silly now that I denied myself the opportunity to enjoy one of the best races in the country just because I was afraid I'd feel like a loser for being slower than my 2012 performance. Finally in 2016 I gained some perspective and decided to return to my favorite race in DC. Yes, my finishing time was 7 minutes slower, but I was even happier than when I ran a PR because I appreciated my experience running the race. Each mile is a gift and I don't want to let low self-esteem, fear, or doubts keep me from running or racing again.
I'm determined to document my training for this race on this blog regardless of whether I am chosen as a Race Ambassador because I have lots of tips, stories, and insight to share! I've been volunteering for the Charlottesville Track Club for almost as long as I've been running and I've gained a lot of experience from managing our local ten miler training program to directing a marathon that I created. I'm excited to motivate others to find the joy in running (and racing!).
Leah Connor / TWINS RUN in our Family
The Accidental Marathoner
From Dancing to Running
Eggers: running log more or less
Sweat Equity Running
Lori's Marathon Training
Keep it Light, And
In Search of My Running Tribe
SoCal Runner Gal
The Josie Girl
Toronto Running Chiro
Are you happy?
A friend texted me the day after the Chicago Marathon asking if I was happy with my race.
I know that my time of 4:17:23 is my worst performance on this course by ten minutes (and is one of my ten slowest marathons overall), but I enjoyed my experience so much more this year than in the past and I’m grateful for having a relatively pain-free long run in a beautiful city with amazing crowd support.
Before the race I told everyone that this would be my 30th and final marathon ever. After two very disappointing races in the past year and a painful injury in April that sidelined me for 7 weeks, I had lost my love and motivation to train for the marathon. Five years have passed since my PR and the last time I achieved a time goal was when I qualified for Boston for the 4th time at the 2015 Chicago Marathon. The 2017 Boston Marathon would have been one of the most miserable races of my life if I didn’t have my twin sister by my side for the entire 26.2 miles. I don’t think I would have made it to that finish line without her.
Luckily I had already signed up for Chicago before that race or I probably would have ended my marathon career in Boston. If I did “retire” from the marathon, I could honestly say I had a good run (pun intended!). I achieved my goal of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon, not just once, but four times. My first marathon was 5:17:03 and I eventually took over and hour and 40 minutes off that time to run a PR of 3:36:35. Not too bad! I had a lot of disappointments and painful races, but I kept trying … running at least 1 and up to 5 marathons a year since 2007.
When I finished my first Chicago Marathon in 2011, I was hysterically crying in the hospitality tent after the race. My training had gone so well, I ran a few PRs leading up to that race, yet I finished well off my BQ goal. The following year when I ran my PR of 3:36:35 I barely enjoyed it because I was so disappointed that I hadn’t hit my goal of sub 3:35. Little did I know then that it would be my best time by far and only the second time I’d ever run under 3:40. I wish I would have appreciated that achievement and let myself experience the pure joy of running a great race without letting my perfectionist self find the flaws in my performance.
My training this year was not ideal. After taking 7 weeks off with no running, I slowly came back beginning in June. Even though I ran two 20 mile runs this cycle, I almost never ran anything under 10-11 minute pace unless it was a race and I only ran a few of those. So I’m pretty happy I ran the first half of the race in 2:02 because that’s the longest distance I’ve run anywhere near a 9:20 minute pace since April and it felt comfortable. The last 8-10 miles I slowed down quite a bit, but I made the decision to just keep running at a manageable pace without pushing myself and accepted that I’d have a huge positive split (I’ve only ever run two negative split marathons.).
I don’t know if I’ll ever qualify for Boston again, but I’m fine with that now. I used to think what’s the point of continuing to run marathons if I can’t hit my competitive goals. I felt so embarrassed, sad, and frustrated (and, to be honest, like a huge LOSER!) and I just wanted to end on a high note. I didn’t have a sub 4 hour marathon or a BQ this year, but I finished the race excited about training again and that’s a victory!
Highlights of the race:
Worst parts of the race: