Thoughts from my Runninghood Facebook post this morning:
"Post Napa Valley Marathon. Beautiful evening for wine and reflection. Thankful that life continues to give us lessons in the most unexpected of ways. The marathon is perhaps one of the greatest teachers in my life. Somewhere out there on that 26.2 mile course are lessons meant for us whether we are ready for them or not. As my friend Heather says, every marathon is different in that it so often parallels our life at the time. Always something to take. Always something to give up. And in the end, we are wiser and stronger for it. Life is beautiful like that. And so is the sport of running."
- It's great to be in Napa. Thankful for the opportunity I have to run marathons, travel with friends, and grow in the process. What a gift.
- I will say briefly and more later that I would still recommend this race to others. The expo, swag bags, organization, and environment were all wonderful. And this year was focused on Honoring Women in Marathoning. Ah, that in itself was so so inspirational. But that will be for the next post. Met lots of famous runners and walked away inspired beyond what I expected.
- Things don't always go as expected. That's life. That's how we learn. It's how we choose to deal with the things that happen that matter.
- This race was far from what I expected or remembered from doing it before.
- SLEEP. I have a lot to say about this topic. I'm a person that needs sleep to function on a mental and physical level. We all need it. Some more than others. I just know how I feel after not getting sleep and then just trying to be a mom the next day. Let alone run 26.2 miles. I've had a bit of trouble sleeping well lately. I think it has to do with all that is going on in my life right now with moving to NC, planning for places to live and where my kids will go to school, tapering for a marathon (makes sleep tricky for me just in the lower exercise), etc. etc. I know people say that the night before a race doesn't matter so much in regards to how you perform but rather it is the night before the night before. I agree that that night is more important but I disagree that the night before doesn't matter. It sure as heck matters when one doesn't get more than 30 minutes of sleep. I was in bed a bit before 9.p.m and without exaggeration, I didn't get more than maybe 30 minutes of sleep the entire night. I wasn't stressed or worried. I wasn't even thinking of the race. My brain just wouldn't shut off to sleep mode. I think the marathon is extremely mental. Without sleep my mental game is so so so bad. Not making a ton of excuses but I do know in my heart of hearts that without a doubt no sleep the night before the race affected me GREATLY. Frustrating.
- My mental game was the worst it has ever been. I'm ashamed of the thoughts that went through my head during that race. So not a champion mentality. I struggled more than I've ever struggled in a race.
- Wow, "fast course"....this term is so relative. I didn't realize how deceptive elevation maps can be. I know I'm not alone in saying that there were way more hills than I ever remembered. I wouldn't describe this course as "fast" or "easy" course. I suppose on another day I might but not this time.
- Road Camber. HOLY Slanted roads. My hip is screaming a bit today. Hard to get away from it. There was no running tangents AND avoiding the camber. You needed to choose one or the other or both.
- I'm amazed how deathly slow one can feel and be at the end of a marathon and still end up with a decent time despite it being one of the worst races ever. Starting strong definitely helps with this but ending poorly really messes with the head. And heart.
- Funny to think that I would have qualified for Boston if the standards were what they were 2 years ago. Not that that was my goal at all. I had much much bigger goals than that. And I don't mean that to disrespect or offend anyone that is striving for that. This is personal. We are all at different places with our goals and efforts in marathons. But at mile 22 I did have a conversation with myself about the whole thing. I said "Well Amanda, if you run 8 min mile pace from here to the finish, you can at least run a 3:35 and qualify for the next Boston even if you have no intention of running it." Hmm, that conversation didn't last very long before I decided that I just didn't have the mental game to do anything but finish.
- I hate disappointing people. Probably one of my biggest fears. Fear of letting others down. This was tough for me when I fell apart yesterday.
- Every mile after 13 was a mental battle for me. Almost all 13 miles of that second half was filled with ugly self defeating thoughts. Where the hell did those come from? Definitely disappointed in myself. Some self-defining moments in there.
- As much as I felt defeated, I also felt like I allowed myself to let go. I guess this might be how this parallels my life right now. I went easy on myself. And that's okay too. At one point in the race I said "Okay Amanda. This is killing you. No sleep has left you exhausted and weak. You promised yourself you'd have fun. Look around. Soak up this beautiful country and reevaluate your goals. Just finish. Use this as a run. It's okay."
- Then back to the self defeating talk. So ugly. So not proud of that. But a lesson in there somewhere.
- Finishing was all I had yesterday.
- Lots of tears afterwards. Lots of processing yet to be done. But that's one of the best things about marathons...they teach us about life. About us. About perspective.....
- And in the grand scheme of life, gosh, we have it good. We CAN RUN. Just being able to be at a race like this and spend the money on a weekend away to indulge in a race through the Napa Valley. Um, not much to complain about.
- But definitely MUCH going on within this head and heart of mine.
- Where am I at with running and goals? Hmmm, not sure. Not sure I want to race for a long while. But that might change. Boston is still on my radar for fun. But we'll see. That's up for discussion. Just don't know what I want to put into that right now with all that is going on in life. There's a lot on my plate and I might just need to let things go a bit. Running is best when I can have it as fun right now. Boston is a perfect place to do that. Just to see my friends, enjoy a beer or two the night before, get a good night of SLEEP, and soak up the long 26.2 journey from Hopkinton to Boston and then home to my new home of Asheville, NC. So much ahead of us. Excited to see what life has to offer.
- And glad to have a day here in Napa of quiet reflection where it is okay to sit with my hurt feelings and wrap myself up a bit. What is silly and small to others can be HUGE for the person who put so much thought and hopes into something. And that was this race for me. I had some big goals and some big confidence in myself in regards to them. I started this race in the best place I've EVER been mentally and I ended it feeling defeated. And that's okay. Our feelings are ours to feel. They are ours to process and chew on as we need to. And then we move on and pick ourselves back up. And almost always we are better off for having failed. Besides as a friend sent me last night: "failing is not falling down...failing is staying down." I'm not a person to stay down for long. Not at all.
More to come about the Napa Valley Marathon....
Thank you friends. Much Love,