Wisconsin Marathon Race Recap

I was so hoping to have an amazing recap of the Wisconsin Marathon this past weekend and unfortunately I do not. The trip was amazing and I had so much fun, so absolutely no regrets. I am also not unhappy with the race. The course was beautiful, volunteers were fantastic, I had a great support crew cheering for me, Lane was able to navigate the course and see me in several spots and it was well organized and overall a fun race. For me, it just was one of those days that the stars don’t align for a great race.

At the (very tiny) expo!

At the (very tiny) expo!

Just before the race started - beautiful morning!!

Just before the race started – beautiful morning!!

I felt good the first 3/4 of the race. My pace was right on track to break 4 hours, which was my primary goal. While I would like to qualify for Boston soon, I knew that I needed to have a sub-4 hour race before I was going to see a BQ again. I wanted a sub-4 to feel relatively easy. I wanted my legs to feel good and my stomach to behave and to just feel as good as I have on my training runs.

The last time I saw Lane on the course was at about mile 20. The wheels were starting to fall off at that point. I knew I was still on track to break 4 hours, but I knew it’d be tough. It was starting to get a bit warm out at that point, it was probably in the mid-60s, which I am not used to. And the biggest issue for me, the water/Gatorade stops were only about every two miles. I was well hydrated going into the race, so that wasn’t an issue, but I was taking 3 cups of water at each aid station, walking for a few seconds to drink them, then I started running again. Less than a minute after starting to run again, all I could think about was water. I needed water. Sometimes you have those moments where you have an all-consuming craving for something and you MUST HAVE IT NOW. That’s how I felt about water for the last six miles of the race. My problem was that drinking all the water would have made me feel like a fish bowl and would have likely made me more miserable as well.

Part of the race route

Part of the race route – can’t beat the view!

After mile 20, my pace dropped considerably. I could not get my legs to turn over. I didn’t feel like I was moving so slow (for me) but my pace didn’t indicate that. Between needing water so badly and being frustrated with my leg turnover, the last six miles were a mental battle as well. I am very proud that I didn’t cave to wanting to walk. I told myself that even running slow would get me to the finish (and the water) sooner, so I just needed to keep moving. I was able to have a strong final push at the finish, which I am also really happy with, but I wish I could have felt that kick at any point during the last few miles!

I’m still not entirely sure what my final time was, based on my Garmin (which I forgot to turn off right away), I’m thinking it was around 4:07. Not quite what I wanted, but honestly, its faster than several of my last races have been, so I’m ok with that. I’m also really happy that I was able to push through the fatigue and negative thoughts and keep running. As good as walking would have felt at the time, I’m so happy that I was able to keep running the entire race (except water stops).

Was it the race I wanted? No. But the end goal is always to finish. To cross the line and enjoy the experience and I feel like I was able to do that. I am also really happy that I was able to let go of any frustrations I felt about it and enjoy the rest of the trip. No one wants to hear me complain about what I could have/should have done differently. I am really proud that I can cross off state number 24 and marathon number 35.  I have plenty more opportunities to come and this one race doesn’t define me in any way. Next up – Utah Valley Marathon in six weeks!

Plenty of water in the background!

Plenty of water in the background!

How do you deal with negative thoughts when a race (or anything) isn’t going your way?

Are you able to let go of disappointment and enjoy the moment?

What is your next race?

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  • The last half marathon I ran didn’t go as planned, but I couldn’t even be upset about missing my goal – it was the oddest thing, usually I let it ruin the rest of the day. Hoping to redeem myself July 12! My friend and I are running another half together!

  • Water stations definitely slowed me down at my last race – I have a hard time running and drinking water without spilling it everywhere. I think it’s easier to let go of disappointment when it’s a destination race rather than a local one – there’s so many sights to see and places to try that I can’t let a bad race ruin my day!

  • I agree! I didn’t get the finish I wanted either but I had to enjoy the day. Finishing=Winning. I need that shirt from Another Mother Runner.

  • Well, it sounds like this was a little disappointing for you, Sarah, and I’m sorry to hear that; congrats on getting through to the finish and enjoying the fact that it was still a very strong racing effort! Wondered if you’ve ever considered carrying your own water? Not having water is so foreign to me (I’ve never run a race longer than a 10K without it), but you’re probably used to it; I just never want to need it and not have it and I hate water stops.

    • I don’t mind carrying not water, though I will admit that I don’t love to. Most races have had more water stops than I ever needed so it’s the first time I’ve had this happen!

  • Whoa, your next marathon is in 6 weeks? You’re a machine! And yes, it’s a tough balance trying to get in enough water without feeling super bloated. I actually stay away from water for that reason. If I stick to salty sports drinks, I don’t have as much sloshing going on. Plus I’m a super salty sweater and need the electrolytes or I suffer something fierce. Congrats on your race, and you’ll nail a sub-4 and a BQ before know it.

    • Haha! Yes, then I won’t have another one until the fall, so more of a break then! I try to alternate water and Gatorade, I’m a salty sweater too!

  • I ran a half that day and it was incredibly warm by the end. I too had to push through some tough miles. Great job shutting down the negative thoughts and finishing with a great time! I ran this course (the half) a few years ago and it was beautiful!

    • Pushing through the tough stuff is what makes us stronger! Such a pretty course! Hard to be unhappy with anything when everything round you is so gorgeous!

  • Congrats on the race.. you did great! I can’t believe you’ve done 35 marathons… that is just insane. You go girl!!

    I’m training for my first with the goal of breaking 4 hours. I think even if I don’t reach that goal I’m still going to be happy with finishing. I can understand being harder on yourself when you don’t have that milestone to celebrate, but honestly you should be so proud, every marathon finished is an accomplishment in itself and you’ve got a lot more to look forward to 🙂

    • I’m always excited to just finish. I usually have two time goals and my third goal is to cross the finish line. They are all accomplishments, especially when it’s hard! What race are you doing as your first??

  • I was going through some of your popular blog posts and found this one. First off 35 marathons, amazing! Being able to run in 24 state, awesome! I ran my first “longer distance” race (a 20 km) on July 4th and it was by far my worst run/worst race ever! I was over heated, I was sweating bullets (of salt) and I had goose bumps. I felt like a failure and that I didn’t deserve to be out there with the other runners. I finished ( thank goodness) but I was angry. There was NO runner’s high. I took a week off from training (I was training for my first ultra). But I needed to be realistic about my goals, and I am no where near ultra ready. I’ve taken a step back to just be a runner and get stronger. It was nice to hear that I am not alone. Great runners have bad runs too which make me hopeful. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that!

    • I’ve been interested in doing an ultra, too, and it just isn’t in the cards for me right now. Not enough time to train and I just don’t think I’m prepared mentally for something like that. It takes a really strong person to realize that you aren’t ready to go for it when you are wanting to, you are certainly not alone – I know I for sure have bad days, bad weeks, bad races. It happens to us all! The important part is we are all out there doing what we love!

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