What I learnt from NOT making my goal at Marine Corps Marathon

What I learnt from NOT making my goal at Marine Corps Marathon

I had made no secret of my goal for Marine Corps Marathon (marathon #7) and on race day, I fell short. Although I had a wonderful experience at the MCM weekend , I missed my goal and my final time did not reflect the amount of training I had put in. I wrote about my wonderful experience and also about my heartbreak on race day. 

After having time to think back a bit, I’m reflecting on some of the lessons I think I’ve  learnt through the training cycle and on race day. 

Believe in yourself

All the training and hard work come to naught if it is not accompanied by self belief. And backing up the belief should be the coursge to make a push for a bold move.

I may have not made my goal, but the fact that I went in with a plan to give it a good shot speaks volumes about my belief that I could achieve (it hasn’t been easy learning to believe). I think that the belief has played a major part in why I have not completely drowned in sorrow at my results. I believe I can get there and if not this time, then next time. If not next time, then the time after. 

You win some, You lose some

Going into MCM, there was no doubt in my mind of the outcome. It wasn’t even a question of if I’d PR, it was a question by how much. When I read back to my emotions during the race, I still feel the sting of tears and an overwhelming sadness. How in the world did the outcome change so much than what I thought it would be?

I had an unexpectedly awesome race at the Craft Classic Half Marathon. I won that day. This time, I lost at Marine Corps Marathon.

That’s not to say that there won’t be more. There will be lots more races in my future. I will succeed marvelously in some, and will fall flat heartbreakingly in some. You win some, you lose some, you learn from all.

Always earned, Never given

In my detailed race report, I wrote on receiving my medal from a Marine that day – “Being medaled by a marine was way more than I deserved that day.”

On reading the race report, a friend texted me, “You just ran a marathon, woman. Take pride in that before you look at the failure.”

After my A goal (best race scenario), B goal (safe bet that I can get to), my C goal (no way I’m not making this) all kept vanishing one by one, my new improvised goal was a prayer of “please let me finish under 6hrs, please let me finish under 6hrs, please let me finish under 6hrs”. It would’ve been so comforting to walk the last 7 miles in. Attempting to keep going after the goals had long gone – so in some tiny way, perhaps I did earn it. 

No Regrets

I want to go into a race without regrets on how my training went – I did.

I want to finish a race without regrets at what I could’ve done – I did (even when you discount the finish time).

And that’s how I try to face everything – to go into it without regrets and to come out of it without regrets knowing that I did everything I had in my control. 

(My favorite sportsperson for life was/is Steve Waugh, ex-captain of the Australian Cricket team. He is also a gripping writer and one of his tour diaries is called ‘No Regrets’, chronicling the team’s loss, taking risks and eventual success in the 1999 World Cup.)

Be Thankful, Be Grateful

I think in all my emotional state during the race and even before, I forgot this very basic fact. 

If I had remembered to be thankful that my body is healthy enough and able to do this, if I’d remembered the spirit of the Marine Corps Marathon, if I had remembered to be grateful to my friends, my mentors, my family and my coach who all  played an very important part in my journey to the start line of MCM, perhaps I would not have felt that utter despondency at mile 26.

I hope I will remember these lessons and carry them with me to the next race, for there WILL be another marathon and another attempt to chase down that goal. But what or where or when that next race is, I need to figure that out. 

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