Chicago Marathon 2014- The Race

Originally, I had intended on writing about my experience as an elite first; the VIP treatment, the wonderful weekend, the after race excitement, but I just feel like I should cover the race itself first, as after all, that was what this was all about. While it is fresh in my mind, and I am brave enough to let my emotions out, I am going to share. Apologies for the long post, I need to get this out.

Official Time: 2:45:51 (6:20 pace) PR

Garmin Time: 2:45:46 (6:15 pace for 26.58 miles)- Elites are timed only using gun time, it took a few seconds to cross the start line!

It has been over 24 hours since the race, and I am still not sure how I feel. Other than to Steve, I have only spoken about the race once, to my parents, about an hour before writing this recap. I burst into tears.

I have been through so much this training segment; moving to two different states, visa issues, trying to discover where I want my career to take me, going from working full time AND a masters degree full time to nothing but running, and not going home this summer. None of which my control-freak, over analyzing, self took very well. I am not sure if my opinion will change, but at 3pm on Monday, this is how I feel.

Looking back, all the evidence was there.

I was not ready for my breakthrough race.

I think even the tone of my posts during my training cycle have hinted at this, but I refused to believe it. Over and over I visualized crossing the line, tears of joy from seeing that 2:3? on that clock. Over and over Steve told me to drop the time expectations, especially one that aggressive, but I couldn’t quite do it. I wrote the post about how I was not setting a time goal, and as much as I wanted to believe it, I couldn’t surpress that hope that I would blow everything out of the water, and come round the corner in the 2:3?s.

I ran a very respectable 2:45:51, and I know most people reading this would absolutely kill to run that kind of time, but a 16 minute 5k, 33 minute 10k and a 1:14 half marathon does not match up with a 2:45 marathon. I know I am capable of more, but it is just not my time…..yet. I am only 26 years old, and this was only my second marathon…..but really only my first fully “raced” marathon, due to the muscle strain I suffered in Philadelphia. Furthermore, though I run a decent weekly mileage, I am far behind the 110+ of the girls I am comparing myself to. In short, I am inexperienced, both physically and mentally in the marathon.

It was amazing getting to start right near the front, but we were packed like sardines, and I felt relieved once the gun went that we could finally spread out a little.

Start line photo, from the Chicago Marathon Facebook page

Chicago, being a flat and fast course, is actually a very dangerous course for runners as the crowds and lack of hills mean that people tend to get carried away those first few miles, and pay for it later. I was determined NOT to be one of those people, wanting to finish faster than I started, so I held back, but I really did not feel good from the start. The first 10 miles it felt like the entire field was passing me. Usually I enjoy this part, laughing to myself as I know I will get them back when it matters, but for some reason, this time it really bothered me. I felt flustered, and started to psyche myself out. Rather than focusing on my race, my mind wandered; becoming very irritated by a man holding an iPod, by commentary of a pack who came by and told me to run with them. Immediately after I did, I felt like I was working much harder than I should have been to maintain the pace. Turns out I was right. Looking back at my splits, the three miles I was with them I went from a consistent 6:11 rhythm, down to a 5:55, and then back up it a 6:15. No wonder I felt bad, those moves are WAY too aggressive for a marathon, especially at that point in the race.


At the 15 mile mark, I I could not help but notice my discomfort; you are told to consider the 20 mile mark as the halfway point. At 18 miles I could not believe I still had 8 miles left. I was okay, but I could feel that my body was starting to strain itself to maintain pace. By 20 miles I was hurting, and severely panicking.

My dreams of spending the last 6 miles under 6 minute pace were quickly being replaced by a thought of needing to just finish, or if I am being honest, to not embarrass myself. Over the next 6 miles I kept fighting it, kept pushing, even though everything in me was screaming to stop. I felt like I was barely moving. As we moved into the final 2 miles, men started to fly by me, many of them yelling at me (in a nice way) to run with them, they would help me along, but by that point all I could think was “don’t walk, don’t you DARE walk”. I actually was running around 6:30 pace, so it was not as bad as I thought in my mind, but each minute felt like an hour. It is true when they say that nothing can describe the pain of the last few miles of a marathon after the wheels fall off. It is the true test of the strength of the mind, body and spirit.

As we turned to go up the hill with around 600 to go, my pace slowed even further. Now I know I was barely moving, and my hands were completely numb, and it was traveling up my arms, fast. I could tell I was very close to passing out. As we turned the final corner, I tried to focus my eyes on the clock, see just how bad it was, but it was even worse than I expected. As I crossed the line, disappointed and embarrassed. I could barely speak, and two volunteers tried to walk me up to the medical tent, asking me questions (which I kept responding “I don’t know”). I just wanted to lie down.

I could not believe after all I have put into this training segment, that 2:45 was what I had to show for it. Mostly, I felt ashamed. Chicago Marathon had given me the opportunity to race as an elite based on my other PRs, ignoring Philadelphia Marathon, and giving me a chance, one that very few were lucky enough to have. I felt I had wasted it, and they would never give me the chance again. What angered me the most was that I did not go off too fast.  Yet I still couldn’t even hold my pace, let alone run negative.  Worse is that I really did not enjoy the race. The one thing I said I wanted more than anything was to cross the finish line smiling, knowing that I enjoyed it, and I did not even do that.

I know I am hard on myself, and I know I should be very proud, but my capabilities, and all that I put into this, is not shown in my results. A 1:14 half marathon is definitely more than a 2:45, especially as I was conservative that first half, and I fueled correctly.

However, it is time to stop the pity party, take my two weeks off (read why you Should Take a Break After Racing), take my Enduropacks to speed my physical recovery (want to give it a try? Use discount code “tinamuir” to get 15% off), and emotionally move on. I know I will get the result I deserve in the marathon, and it will feel that much better when I do because of all this. I still ran a 3 minute and 40 second PR! Here are some quotes I have found to be particularly relevant to me right now:

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneres

“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” – Eloise Ristad

I was in fear of failure, and I felt as though I did not deserve my spot on the elite list. That is a big part of why I could not relax into my own race, this quote displays it well

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

I earned my place as an elite, and only when I can start believing that, will I be able to find out what I am really capable of. Only then will my visualization of crossing that line smiling come true. All those visualizations were not for nothing, they will be even more powerful when they do come true, that moment will happen. As soon as I truly, wholeheartedly believe I am good enough to achieve it.

Thank you to everyone who wished me luck or congratulated me, and thank you to everyone who has supported me during my running journey so far. I will rebuild, and I will come back stronger. Steve and I talked a lot about the race on our drive home, and here are the conclusions

What went well/what we know worked

  • Fueling
    • Consumed enough carbs in the days leading up to the race, and the morning of
      Diagram they had out for us explaining where our bottles would be located- mine was 124
    • Gen UCAN was a great fuel source, and I successfully picked up, and took in enough of it at each of the 7 elite aid stations
    • No stomach upsets
    • Hydrated well in the days leading up
  • Never gave up
    • Even when my body was shutting down, my arms were tingling, and my mind was blurry, I did not stop fighting. Steve says this is what he is most proud of me for
  • Remained conservative
    • In a race where it is almost impossible not to get caught up in the energy of the crowds, I was able to stay within my pace, and run smart
  • Other than the few miles I ran with the group of men, I was pretty consistent with my pacing; 15 of my miles were between 6:08 and 6:15.
  • I ran a marathon!
    • No matter what way you look at this, it is an achievement, and one that should be celebrated. Almost nothing in training can come close to the feeling of those last few miles, and each time, your body gets a little more used to it.
  • Saucony
    • Nothing chafed
    • My Kinvaras did not rub AT ALL, and they were light enough to race in

What we need to work on/change for the future

  • Efficiency
    • I am wasting a lot of energy with some inefficiencies in my form. We are looking into a performance center where someone can really analyze my running form to become more efficient; the marathon magnifies your weaknesses
  • In the words of Elsa from Frozen, “Let it go”
    • I need to stop worrying about when others are making stupid mistakes, in my life in general, but especially in running.
  • Long runs need to get longer?
    • I did 22 mile runs, but maybe this was not long enough (time on my feet)
  • Slight mileage increase, with a decrease in single run volume
    • If I am to increase my mileage slightly, most recovery runs will need to move back to a 9 (rather than 10), and instead double a few times per week
    • Easy runs must be run slower, considering removing my garmin from all recovery runs, instead running for time
  • Accepting that I have hit a plateau in my training, and with all that happened over the last few months, that is expected. This was a bad segment, and both Steve and I knew this deep down before the race even started.
  • There is nothing wrong with relaxing!
    • If I am going to take my running to where I want to go, I need to let go of my obsession with being productive. I need to learn how to relax, and sleep more without seeing it as time wasted
  • Race more
    • In college I used to race about 25 times per year. This past year I think I have raced under 10 total. Even if it is part of a workout, I need to jump in more road races to get used to it. Part of the restriction this time round was the moving from Philly to Michigan, and Michigan to Kentucky, but I need to stop with the excuses for this

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me. Your faith and belief in me makes me know I need to persevere at this. One day I will get the result I deserve, and it will be worth it. But for now, I am going to rest, bake some more of my delicious whole wheat bread (have you seen my recipe?), fully enjoy my two weeks of doing nothing, and pig out on whatever the heck I want…..probably lots of sugar 🙂

Joining Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday

How did you bounce back from a goal you fell short of? What do you like to do in your time off?


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  • Chicago is one of my all time favorite races! I love love the energy!

    You will crush your goal Tina. I have no doubt that you (and your coach) will figure out what you need to do and you will give it your all. Your time will come my friend and all of your hard work will be worth it!

    When I don’t reach a goal I give my self a short pity party and then I move on stronger and with more determination. A never give up attitude!

  • I’m at loss of your words. This is probably the most thorough, pure and honest race recaps I’ve ever read. I found my heart breaking for you at times, but also found myself smiling during others. I know it’s not the time you wanted, and without being an elite runner myself, Ill never fully understand your true feelings. I can say though, that I’m proud of you Tina. You are such a hardworking & dedicated individual that I know deep down inside that you will achieve all your expectations you set for yourself. Did it happen in Chicago, no. Will it happen next race? Yes, No, Maybe? However, one day it will & it’ll be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced. Keep up the good work, sweetie!!

  • I’m glad that you went with the full, almost confessional, recap. It shows all sides of you, all sides of your race. I know you have more in you as well. This was just a race to get the ish out of your system so that next time, nothing with stand in you way.
    And besides, how bad ass is it that you have a Chicago Marathon bib with “Muir” on it???!!!
    Still so proud of you for getting there. Next step, more to learn, always forward progress.

  • you are awesome!!!! have I told you that lately? Awesome job with the PR. You should def. be proud of that! I love how you continued to push yourself at the end and really gave it your all! Just remember this is one little hump in your life. You’ll kill the next one! (:

  • I don’t want to play armchair psychologist but I think you should look up “Impostor syndrome”.

    I suffer from this (in my line of work, not running, I’m just a slow amateur), and it often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It stops you from performing before you even get started. I fight it every day and getting better at it.

    Good luck, I’m pulling for you !

    • Yeah, I think you are right…..that definitely played a part in my struggle. It is great to hear you are getting better now you are aware! Keep going, and thanks so much!

  • Wow, your awareness and take aways are tremendous and impressive. I like the positive take aways and that you have laid out a good foundation for moving forward. I didn’t realize this was only your second marathon. I bounce back by keeping my forward momentum going. I give myself some time to be disappointed but don’t lose sight of the overall vision. I like to REST with my time off.

  • Ugh, I get it. I mean, I don’t get it because I am no elite but I get how you feel even though you ran a great time, it wasn’t what you wanted. I get that. Thankfully though, you were okay and didn’t pass out and go numb everywhere where you ended up on the street needing assistance and making a scene, right? lol okay in all seriousness, you really did the best you could last weekend and sometimes, that has to be enough. For now. I think. Oh, and I just have to say that running 110+ miles a week sounds all consuming and something that would break me in half. I know my 40-50 miles a week sounds all consuming to some people but doing over double? Can’t even imagine. I say you enjoy your little break and enjoy being a bride-to-be 🙂

  • I think the marathon is a different kind of beast. Honestly I can relate to your struggles during your marathon training cycle. I moved and drove over 4000 miles in the few month lead up. That part in itself is exhausting. You will have your break through race Tina, it’s just a matter of time. Nice job regardless 🙂

  • Thank you for being so candidly honest with us Tina. I always appreciate when elites look back and share their mistakes with us. I’m so sorry you are disappointed with your time. I think you did amazing! That marathon is such a huge undertaking, sometimes it takes a few tries to work through the details. You’ll get there and you’ll appreciate it so much more.

  • You did so well, even though you are disappointed. Don’t be so hard on yourself–the marathon is a BEAST! It’s so unpredictable. Look how long it takes people to learn it–and even if they luck out the first or second try–eventually, they learn. Anyway–I love your blog and the way you connect with the elite and us regulars–so thanks. I know you will learn from this and rock on from here. Do your best and forget the results of your efforts. It’s just back to the drawing board. As a writer of poetry, I have to focus on this way of thinking all the time. The blank page is always what we return to. Yep. The process is it. Look at all you are learning, and you even got a p.r. out of it. Love your list too. I need to do some of those things–esp. no watch for recovery runs. Thanks!

  • I totally understand how you can be upset–we’ve all been there with the marathon, even if at our pedestrian paces! You have sooooo much potential and I absolutely know that your future is bright with this distance. I love that you took the time to really assess things inside and out and know what you need to do to move forward. I have no doubt your next one will be the breakthrough you are after.

    And as always, thank you for being a good example to the rest of us by showing how important rest is! Enjoy the downtime and come back recharged.

  • Oh Tina, I know that you are disappointed that you didn’t achieve the goal you set for yourself. I hope in time you can come to appreciate all that you did achieve that day. Those are some crazy sick times and also a PR for you. I am sure running a full marathon is quite different than your other distance PR’s. I have no doubt you will get there and I can’t wait to watch you. So proud of you!

  • After running many marathons in which I didn’t BQ when I hoped I would, I’m experienced with having to bounce back! As you’ve already done, you learn something every time. Congratulations on completing your second marathon!

  • This is wonderful, Tina. Honestly, you are so brave to just admit that you weren’t happy with what you did, despite in practice, doing everything right.

    After reading this, if I’m going to give you my 100% honest thoughts… I think that since a marathon is so mental, you did everything right. You know what isn’t easy (and I know this from experience)… things going on in your life can effect your mind so much when running. Maybe that is what really effected everything? I know me personally, I blame my last awful race partly on everything that I had going on in my mind.

    I just decided not to run the marathon in Savannah next month, despite going through my entire training cycle (save the last 3 weeks of the plan), because I mentally couldn’t prepare. With all the exciting, good things happening in your life… they are still change and for some reason I feel like that effects racing (and running in general!). I just couldn’t process flying back and forth across the country four times in less than a month, moving across the country and everything else… and still feeling OKAY mentally to run a marathon. No way, I could barely keep it together during a half a month ago and shit has went nuts since then.

    Also, I just thought of something and I am going to e-mail you about it right now. xoxo

  • As difficult as it is, there are just days where things are not meant to be. No matter what you try. On the flip side, there are days, everything comes together and you run the race of your life! I KNOW this day will come for you! You work too hard for that.

  • Even though I will never run as fast as you, I definitely think it’s ok to be disappointed if you feel like you did not achieve your goal. That’s what will get you out there to try again. It sounds like you had a lot of emotions weighing on you through your training, but were still able to PR. You made it through both the training and the race which shows how strong you really are!

  • Congratulations on a great race! I know it’s hard when you come short of a goal, no matter what it is – they are all relative. It sounds as if you have good perspective and learned some lessons that you will help you next time. I ran also ran Chicago and the 8 weeks prior to the race had a lot of changes for me too, including a move – ugh! You’ll get to your goal, this is just part of the story!

  • Hugs!! It’s hard not to set a goal, especially if one already popped in your head. Once there, it’s hard to forget. You did great, and like you said, you’ll be more prepared next time around. 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing such an honest account of your race experience. I had the priviledge to run Chicago last year, it is truly such a great event. Way to hang on in the end when it was getting tough. You clearly have such talent and potential and I’m sure this will definitely be a learning experience for you.

  • I feel for you, Tina as I have been right there with ya. Feeling disappointed and I hate to say it but embarrassed. You need to relax (and so do I!). All the pre-race stress can honestly take it out of you. It does no good! Also- this is your second marathon, I have NO DOUBHT your 2:3 is within reach very very soon. <3

  • Just when I think I can’t possibly admire you more, you write this. I’m just so proud of you (although that word doesn’t seem to do my feelings justice) for being so smart about the whole race and having such perspective. Yes, you’re upset and breaking into tears, (just as you should after months of working tirelessly toward a goal), but you’re also already thinking in terms of what went right and what can be improved upon. THAT is what makes you an elite athlete! I’m positive Chicago was proud to have you there and will absolutely want you back to race again. Please focus on all the positive things you said like how young you are, how inexperienced you are and how much better you WILL be when you let yourself be deserving of it. You are destined to shine as an elite athlete and are someone I admire for both the person you are, as well as the athlete. You are the complete package Tina, and I look forward to following your journey!

  • Oh girl, we’re so similar is not even funny! I feel like giving you a big, big hug. I feel the same exact way about NYCM. Although my workouts and races tell me the opposite and although my hip flexor is not 100% healed yet, I can’t help but keep hoping that something will happen on race day and I’ll magically get that 3:3x:xx I kept dreaming about for 18 weeks. But in the back of my mind, I know very well that around 3:45 is all I’m capable of on a good day. It sucks girl, it sucks big time, but it is what it is. However, goals aside, whatever you did in these months was NOT a waste of time. All these workouts and races already made you a much better runner and will make your next marathon training cycle somehow easier.

    Now, a few things:
    -Stop telling us 2:45 is a time people would kill for 😉 Believe me, it doesn’t make you ungreatful to say: “this is not what I wanted and I don’t like it.” Everything is relative. Although 2:45 is an unbelievable time for us non-elite runners, we know what you trained for, we know what you wanted, and we understand you’re not happy with it.
    -Do not, by all means, be embarassed. You raced as an elite runner because you ARE an elite runner. You DESERVED that spot. As much as it sucks, all elite runners have bad days and ONE less-than-desirable performance doesn’t make you less of an elite.

    As usual, thank you for being so honest with us. Onward and upward girl! Never look back, never look down – always look ahead of you <3

  • First off, I still think you did great so congrats!! I know how hard we can all be on ourselves, and sometimes we need to just throw that out the window and take the compliments from others. You SHOULD be proud of that pace, even if it wasn’t the goal, so take the time and just be proud. I know you will get your goal. You are capable of it, but you’ve had so much going on lately that this weekend wasn’t the race to make it happen. I’m very happy to hear you are taking some time off though and giving your legs a break! Eat some delicious cookies while you’re at it 😉

  • A boss of mine once said: you learn more from failure than from success.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. You are so amazing. I relate 100%. I just ran the st george marathon 10 days ago and trained my ass off for a sub 3. I fell apart and ran a 3:12. My problem? My mind wasn’t mentally as strong. My body was willing, my mind was not. I think we fail to recognize how much the mental side of it really matters. The mind really is stronger than the body. Like you–I learned so much about myself and what to do for next time. Our goals will be reached –and failing sometimes is critical to that success.

  • Thanks for such an honest recap! I can totally relate to so much of it, even if I’m not quite at your level. I recently got the opportunity to race as an elite at Rock and Roll Philly and ran the worst race of my life. I felt like I didn’t deserve my bib. But elites have bad days too! Chicago knew what they were doing when they invited you, and that was definitely not a mistake. You’re going to get your big breakthrough in the marathon soon. The marathon is a different beast, and it takes a couple tries to get it right. It sounds like you and Steve are doing a great job of analyzing things to change, and next time you will be ready. Enjoy your break! You certainly deserve to treat yourself to so much delicious goodness!

  • Thanks for sharing such an honest reflection of your race, and I must say what an amazing experience it must be to race as an elite! Sorry to hear that it didn’t go exactly as planned, the marathon is one tough b*tch and I’m starting to realize they take practice racing in order to really get a handle on them. It’s always easy to get down about your own set backs but lately I have been finding myself inspired reading about other runner’s comebacks or struggles. It’s comforting to know we all go through highs and lows at some point no matter what pace we run.

  • Love this post, because you shared your real feelings. I know it has to be hard to share disappointment with a time that (as you said) most people would kill for, but it’s you’re goal that’s important. Keep pushing and learning – you’ll get that breakthrough!

  • It was hard to not get emotional after reading your post. I’m so proud of you for not giving up and forcing yourself to keep going even though it got really tough out there. I’m glad you’ve had some time to process things a little more, and I’m so glad that you had an objective person (Steve) to talk to about your race so that you could break it down. I know personally, I feel better accepting a situation when I break things down and systematically accept what went well and what didn’t so that I can learn from my “mistakes” and have something to focus on working with. Having said that, I think you touched on it in your post by acknowledging that more when right than it didn’t. This marathon was just another step in the right direction that will lead you to racing at your full potential. I guess because I like the idea of always progressing, sometimes I feel better knowing that I still have so much more to give. I so much faith in you, and am 100% certain that your dream time is already within reach once you give yourself the credit you deserve. It’s hard because sometimes we expect so much of ourselves, but at the same time, we don’t really believe that we deserve it. Well, you totally do! I’m so grateful that you’ve decided to share your journey with us through this blog because I can’t wait to read that triumphant race recap when you’re ready to write it. Congratulations on your amazing, courageous performance. xoxo

  • I love this so freaking much. The rawness/honestly behind this is amazing. It’s easy to pretend everything went well or to just gloss over the feelings you felt during the race but you didn’t. I appreciate the honestly and you’re going to get that breakthrough soon!

  • I’m one of those people that would kill to run a 2:45 marathon. Heck, I’d even kill to be able to run a marathon… or even a half! You did an amazing thing, Tina, and while I understand the frustration in not necessarily meeting the goals that you set out for yourself, don’t you dare sell yourself short and discount what you DID manage to do — it’s a huge feat! Also, every failure is an opportunity to learn and do better in the future. There’s great things in store for you, girl 🙂

  • It’s not failure, it’s learning. So long as you take your experience and grow with it there is nothing and I mean nothing in the realm of failure about this situation.

  • I love how open and honest you are – not trying to be all rainbows and smiles when you are clearly upset with your performance. You have a whole different level of pressure on you being an Elite, and one thing that makes you an Elite is your determination to be the best you can be. If this isn’t your best, you have a new goal to work toward. You can learn from this race and your next marathon? You’ll crush it! Enjoy your rest weeks and then get back at it with a clean slate :).

  • You are awesome! I ran Chicago (my second marathon) and loved it. I was sick all week with a cold but woke up feeling better Sunday and kicked ass with a PR. It wasn’t the BQ time I wanted (by a minute ughhhh) but a PR is a PR and running a freaking marathon still is amazing. I liked your breakdown of the race and how freaking cool is it that you ran it as an Elite?! Congrats lady and rest up!

  • That must have been so difficult to post…I love how honest you are with yourself and your readers. I’m so sorry Chicago didn’t turn out the way you hoped! You earned your spot and you still did a great job despite not feeling the best. You can learn from this and continue to grow! Keep your positive spirit and you’ll get that 2:3?….I’ve always heard with marathons that even with the best training, sometimes you can just have a bad day. Enjoy your recovery, and be proud of your amazing strength!

  • Tina, I am proud of you and think YOU ROCKED that marathon. Not many people can claim what you can. You are an elite and you DO DESERVE to be there!!!!! You are good enough. Take your rest, analyze your results, figure out a plan to help you reach the goal(s) you set forth and do your thing!! I can’t wait to read about your future victories. #wowlinkup

  • Your honesty is inspiring! I can see how it could have been easy to not write about this because you are speedy and your time was stellar, but it’s good that you decided to. Anyway, I remember seeing you between miles 7 and 8, right when you turned back south to go towards the city. I was cheering right on the corner, front row. I had no idea you had a blog (my husband linked me to this today), but I was there to see Rita Jeptoo and stuck around for a bit just to marvel at the speed and grace of the elite. For what it’s worth, you really inspired me to push harder toward my goals, as did all the other runners I saw that morning. Someday I’ll do that Chicago Marathon- albeit in sliiiiiightly slower 😉

  • I know it didn’t go exactly how you wanted but that’s awesome that you ran a PR and 2:45 is AMAZING!! That 2:43 is so within reach for you!!! Congrats Tina!

  • Great race recap, Tina! I’m so sorry it didn’t go as you had hoped. Although my times are just *slightly* different (ha!), I completely relate to the feeling that my half marathon PR is so, so, so much better than my full marathon. It’s just a different beast, and I think it takes a lot of experience and practice. I acknowledge and honor your feeling of disappointment, but I hope you get to the point where you can realize how amazing you are. This is an incredible feat, and you are an amazing runner – and an inspiration to so many! Congrats!

  • Tina, Thank you so much for sharing this raw, but very educational and inspirational post. You are an incredible athlete and you’ve worked very hard. I look up to you and learn so much from reading your posts. Thank you for sharing! Congratulations on racing in this Marathon as an elite. Enjoy your time off, you deserve it. You’ll have your break through race no doubt.

  • I can totally understand how disappointing that would be. You worked SO hard! I love your list of what went well, what could be improved… that’s a great way to learn from a race and move on. And as you stated, it is still a phenomenal time!! Especially for only your second marathon. You will continue to get stronger and I know you’ll get the 2:3x before long. Congrats, Tina!!

  • Thank you for sharing this…so much work, emotion, mental thought went into your race, and I know you didn’t perform as well as you wanted too, but it WILL HAPPEN, and do not ever give up! Take some time to nourish your mind and body and then just come back with a positive attitude and go for it. You know you can do it and we are all here to support you. I know this was hard to write, but it showed a lot of courage and passion. XOXO

  • i know every thought here. Well, from the sherpa side. and i am here to vent and feel with you. although i know you and you should be proud! the good and the bad will be there, now it’s time to focus on the good and channel it for more! email me if you need ANYTHING with nutrition, etc. And rest up friend

  • I totally know how you are feeling (granted, I’m not as speedy as you, but I’ve had the sheer disappointment of missing my goals) and trust me, you deserve to be upset, mad, etc. Once you get past that and have some time to reflect, I think you will be giving yourself a huge pat on the back for your performance. Your second marathon? Amazing.

    And, people think I’m nuts, but I do not like the Chicago Marathon (I have never publicly admitted this). It’s a hard marathon, even though it’s flat and it’s supposed to be easy, it’s just not.

    I think you have that 2:3? in you without a doubt!!

  • I know that it is hard when you don’t meet the goal that you have (even if it is a goal you haven’t voiced out loud). But, I hope you do know that you are incredible!!! You are an elite runner and, like you said, you earned that spot!!!
    I know that I’m not even in the same category with you but I hope it makes you feel a little better to know that every year since I competed in college I have gotten stronger and faster (for me:). Your BEST is yet to come!!!

  • First and foremost I appreciate your complete honesty. I still think you’re an amazing athlete with so much awesomeness in your future!

  • I’m sorry you haven’t reached that goal that you’re capable of yet. The marathon can be such a heartbreaker – that’s what scares me about it. I’ve only done two myself as well, and the thought of spending months training for something that could go terribly just makes me mentally put on the breaks. It’s easy to recover from a shorter race that didn’t go the way you wanted because you can get back out there sooner. With marathons, no so 🙁
    However, I’m glad you were able to look at what went right! I think that’s so important, not only in good races, but bad races as well. You have good building blocks for when you’re ready to take on marathon number 3!
    Enjoy your 2 weeks of rest. I took 2 weeks after my last PR race – it was the first time ever after I raced that I took more than 1 week off. After burning myself out over the summer, I decided I need to be more serious about recovery immediately following races.

  • Just when I didn’t think I could love you anymore…I love the honesty. You’re pissed. But I love that you assessed and evaluated and of course quoted Miss Elsa. Enjoy your rest. I know you’ll come back with a fire in your belly to get after it again!

  • I’m sorry you didn’t hit the goal you’d been hoping for – both time wise and crossing the finish line with a smile. It’s so frustrating when the sport you love can break your heart over a bad race. & while a tiny percentage are considered elite, we all experience the frustration and tears over the bad experiences.
    Two thoughts help me when I have a bad race: (1) Failing just means you weren’t ready to succeed yet. It reminds me I haven’t really failed at what I set out intending to do, it just wasn’t my time. It will be your time for that 2:3x soon. and (2) I think it was Josh Cox who said this, but every race is miles in the bank. You made another deposit in the bank, you gained experience from Chicago, and you learned what does and what doesn’t work.
    Enjoy your next 2 weeks off and I know you’ll come back ready to crush it. No more moving anytime soon, right? 😉

  • Just like you said…you’ve earned your place as an elite, Tina! You’re a truly amazing runner. This race maybe wasn’t “perfect” or ideal, but you ran a marathon (and fast I might add ; ) and you learned a lot! Congratulations!!! You should be SO proud of yourself!

  • i don’t mean any disrespect to Tina who is clearly a much more gifted athlete than myself, but I actually feel sorry for her and her experience. Like her, I ran Chicago for the first time but unlike her I took over 4 hours to finish. And yet because of expectations, she had a bad time while I had the time of my life. As much as I would like to be in her league competitively, I’m glad to finish slow but happy.

    • Oh its okay Jacob, you are right on the marker! And I do need to do that, I see my expectations threw my chance of enjoyment. I need to take a page from your book 🙂

  • I continue to be impressed by you! What an amazingly honest recap. You have so much more ahead of you; I can’t wait to see it happen. In answer to your question, I failed completely at ALL of my goals for my last marathon. So what am I doing ? Running another one in 8 weeks. What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment. 🙂

  • Just from reading your words I can tell that you will reach your goal. It will happen. I’m sorry it didn’t happen exactly when you wanted it to, but each race experience just makes you stronger. Thanks for this recap. Your determination is inspiring.

  • Tina you are amazing! I love your recaps and the truth you bring to the page. Not every run is perfect and I can’t image being you and have the pressures of expectations on my shoulders on race day. You are such a gifted athlete and I have NO doubts in my mind you will crush and goal put in your way. I love this post, it makes me want to run. Your passion for your sport and understand of the fine details bleed through in posts like this! Tina you’re my girl and you make all of us proud everyday. Use that anger in your next challenge as fuel to PUSH ON.

  • Not having run a marathon before, I cannot even begin to comprehend the physical pain of going through this. But I’ve been reading your posts on training and preparation and I know you put your heart into it, even as if you say you were not ready. I have to say, that the recap was really good but I really liked reading about your throught process as the miles went one and the reflections on that day. Now that you did this marathon, I think you’ll be able to adjust and make the improvements you need. But girlie, you ran a marathon! That is truly inspiring to me.

  • First and foremost congrats on your second marathon! You are an incredible runner and breaking into the marathon distance at any level is hard. You WILL get the time that you want, and the race is NOT a testament to how hard you worked or what not over the last few months. Just because you are not there yet, doesn’t mean you won’t be. A PR, on a great course is celebration enough. But yes, I understand knowing that you are capable of more and want more. It takes time and one day things WILL click. Your training is there (although, we can ALL always improve training), and the work ethic and drive is there. it’s going to happen!

  • Tina, first of all thank you for being so honest. I’m not an elite but my half marathon experience last year felt exactly what you described. I was ready to run a 1:35, my 5K and 10K times pointed to it and I ran a very disappointing 1;41. It was a struggle to even finish. I can remember feeling so embarassed. But like you said: You’re time will come. And my time did with my breakthrough marathon this spring. I think sometimes we are so eager for that big goal that we push in ways that we aren’t ready for. Even though this feels like a huge disappointment it’s a building block, it will fuel your future training and will prove to be a pivotal experience as you attempt your next big goal. hugs!

  • Tina!! Your honesty is something the blog world doesn’t seem too often so thank you. Whether you know it or not your are an inspiration. However, try not to be too hard on yourself (can you do that? :)) I support your want/need to find time to relax. Who would have thought something so…”simple” as relaxing could be so difficult? Enjoy these next couple of weeks love!

  • You absolutely earned your spot as an elite at this race Tina. I appreciate your honesty in sharing all of this with us and I loved that you assessed what worked and what didn’t work. That’s the first step to move forward, right? You absolutely will run your race and it’s in you.

  • Tina you are so amazing and inspiring! I’m sorry you didn’t have the race you wanted to have but I’m really impressed with the way you are handling it. Have a good rest and I know you’ll achieve all your goals with time!

  • Tina, I think you did amazing and are very inspiring. You definitely earned your place as an elite at Chicago, don’t ever think you did not! You had a bad day at this race; we will all have some bad days and bad runs, and unfortunately, yours was this one. But… it is only Marathon #2 for you (which is hard for me to believe bc you ran it super fast!). I’m nowhere near elite or even fast but the more I race a distance, the more I learn about it, about pacing, fueling, etc. Plus, you’re concerned you didn’t get enough time on your feet with the 22’s, but the more marathons you do, the more time on the feet you will have, within the race. And you already have a plan for the next one, which shows that you’re NOT giving up and that you will do this again and you will meet your goals next time!

    I like how positive you are in this post, too. I do understand that it hurts to go into a race and feel good at first and the wheels fall off- and I like what you said about Mile 20 being the halfway point in a marathon because that is when it starts to get real (well, it did in the one marathon I ran).

  • I’m not sure what I can say that you didn’t already acknowledge above and I’m sure the comments above this one from some very experienced runners has all the advice and kind words you need. In reading this, I saw a lot of my experience with races. You target one and place all your effort and energy and if it isn’t your day, then you feel like there is this void or you let others down. I’ve had this happen a few times too many.

    I agree with racing a bit more. Not marathons but maybe a couple halfs here and there just to get used to racing. It will help you get comfortable with being passed and staying in YOUR world.

    I agree with Steve, you battled. It is in FACT the hardest to run those last 6 when your mind and body has just fallen apart. That you DIDNT walk and DIDNT give up says a lot about your mental strength. Building block. I’ve run plenty of disastrous marathons… we always learn and it makes us stronger.

  • I loved the honesty of this recap. The marathon is a difficult beast. That’s part of the reason we take it on I think. I’ve been right there with you in terms of performance disappointment. I had the same experience this year at Boston. High expectations but that sneaking suspicion that something just wasn’t right. I totally missed my goal time (11 minutes off) and I felt like a failure afterwards but in retrospect, that was just me being hard on myself. I finished the race. I wouldn’t say I muscled through it but I got it done. You pushed through and fought for your finish. It doesn’t get more real than that. And at 26, your best running years have yet to come! I can only imagine what your future will bring!

  • Finally getting to catch up in the blog world this week – so sorry you didn’t have the race that you wanted – I know all too well that feeling (my Chicago was a nightmare GI distress had me walk/running by mile 8 or so and an hour slower than my slowest).
    But you had a lot on your plate the past few months. Enjoy your rest period and you’ll come back stronger. The marathon is a beast, you are an inspiration to me! like you said you are young this was your second, your time is yet to come!

  • I’ve just discovered your blog through the Meatless Monday linkup & so happy I did. This was such an amazing & honest recap. I could feel your anguish of those last six miles in being so much in pain but not letting yourself stop & then being disappointed in your time.I look forward to following your journey & congratulating you when you do reach that marathon goal, because I’m sure you will soon! Also, maybe it’s some comfort to know that this inspires me & probably many other runners. Sometimes I get discouraged when I read of other runners easily reaching their goals & getting PRs when I work hard but don’t always see the results, at least not as quickly as l’d like. It is good to know that all runners have our ups & downs in our own unique journeys. Thanks for sharing what must have been difficult to write.

  • Girl, you have SO MUCH time to get faster. I ran the Milwaukee Lakefront the week before and can relate to your experiences. I wanted to finish in 4:10 for my first marathon (I know not nearly as fast as you) and was 7 minutes behind. Just imagine how crazy fast you’ll be when you run your next marathon, and every one after that! I see running as a lifetime thing. Enjoy every second and every PR whether it was your ultimate goal or not. Regardless, you are an amazing runner and I can only dream of ever being that speedy! Keep doing your thing. Your time will come! 🙂

  • I’m sorry you’re disappointed in the results, but you really did amazing!! It sounds like you’ve learned from the experience and I love that you ended this post with the things that went well and the things you want to work on. Enjoy these two weeks off!!

  • Sorry for being late to the commenting party! I am really very sorry that your race didn’t go as you had hoped. But, I know you and Steve are very smart and that you will take the many things you learned from this experience and you will apply them to your next training segment and race. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying your break from racing and using that break to do lots of fun things like wedding planning. 🙂 Sending you many positive thoughts and big virtual hugs!

  • Tina thank you so much for such an honest and heart-felt recap. I am really sorry you did not have the race you’d hoped for, but I also have no doubt that you will come back from this stronger and more focused than ever. You are an amazing runner and I look forward to following along with you as your journey continues!

  • You rocked it, girl! PR! And you’re just a “puppy.” Remember all your notes, but don’t forget also to congratulate yourself.

  • Congrats on the finish even if it wasn’t quite what you expected! I would love to run a HALF in the time you ran the marathon hahaha. And I love the advice from Elsa 🙂 Let it Go is one of my theme songs I have to say because sometimes I just let everything else get in the way instead of just staying in the moment #wowlinkup

  • Tina, I feel your frustration. The marathon is one of those distances that takes a while to nail. Figuring out how to tackle the distance is tough and fluid. I am far from an elite, but I had my biggest breakthroughs with the distance at my fourth and fifth marathons. That’s when I finally felt like I “figured it out” (albeit for my ability, level, etc.) You’ll get that breakthrough race. Go easy on yourself and know that every race brings you one step closer to that breakthrough you want! You’re young and still have a TON of running ahead of you. Look at Meb–still PRing and winning at nearly 40. Big hugs!

  • Tina, you are amazing! Congratulations on your PR and running a smart, steady race even though you didn’t meet your goal. I can relate to your stating that your times for other races don’t add up to a 2:45 marathon. My race times (while not as fast as yours!!) also mean that I should run a faster marathon. There is just something about racing 26.2 miles that is beyond tough. Congrats again on your race and I can’t wait to read what you have to write about all the other aspects of running in Chicago!

  • Thank you for sharing your recap Tina. I have been looking forward to reading your thoughts about your race. I think we all understand the underlying feelings you share, whether we are 2:45 marathoners or 5:45 marathoners. As runners who are always striving to reach our greatest potential, we have a commitment to achieving our very best. When we know we are capable of something and fall short of our personal expectations, it can be devastating because we are always seeking to be the very best version of ourselves. I know you already know this, but what you did out there was amazing. Let’s look at the facts: 1) You ran your fastest marathon time to date, improving a lot from your last race (awesome!). 2) You never gave up. You could have and you didn’t. You found a way to keep moving forward at a very respectable pace even when your body was shutting down. One day you will look back at that and marvel that this was probably one of your strongest, gutsiest marathons for that mere fact alone. 3) You coined the phrase that you have to do what your body gives you on that day. You did. We never know what kind of day the marathon is going to give us. It is so different from the half in that way. Just because you didn’t run your goal time on this day, doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t run it on any other given day. I know you know all of this. You are an amazing runner and you have so many great races ahead of you. One of the sports massage therapists I work with once told me after my third marathon that you don’t really know what you’re doing until you’ve run at least 5 or 6 marathons. I didn’t believe that at the time, but after my 8th marathon in Chicago this month, I realize he was so right. With every race we learn something new about ourselves, our bodies and our will to persevere. Please try to celebrate your amazing accomplishment, and let it fuel the next one that will be what your heart is working so hard for. Thanks for being an amazing athlete, but more importantly, a supportive runner to so many of us for whom 2:45 is a pipe dream. xoxo

  • I’m glad that looking back with a little perspective you are cutting yourself some slack, you did something amazing even if it wasn’t quite as amazing as you wanted and at the end of the day that is what’s important.

  • Calesse Cardosi
    July 24, 2016 8:20 pm

    Thank for sharing, Tina! I’ve been enjoying reading through your blog the past several weeks. I am post-collegiate runner and I enjoy competing in races from 5k to marathon and seeing what I can do. It’s fun to place well in my age group and continue to work towards new PRs at various distances (and triathlon!). I teach elementary school students (hence my extra free time to enjoy your blog currently) and they love hearing about the races I compete in on the weekends, especially Boston. They always ask me, “Did you win?” and it’s a great opportunity for me to explain how there are many ways to “win” other than getting 1st place, such as running a PR, winning my age group, or accomplishing some other goal. I really appreciate your openness and honesty with your struggles. The marathon is no joke and clearly, it’s a formidable distance even for elites. Love the podcast, too. Keep it up!

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