Friday, January 13, 2012

The Road to Truth...........................

I know some of you are waiting for my “race report” on Disney Marathon #2.  I just reviewed my blog entry about last year’s race and was pleasantly surprised about the differences. I did not make the same rookie mistakes, and, with the exception of three too many porta-potty breaks, I was able to steer clear of “unforeseen circumstance.”
I did not stand on my feet all day on Saturday at the expo, or anywhere else. I sat by the pool, read a book, took a nap, drank water, and went to sleep at 9:00 p.m.  I showed up to the start feeling good. CHECK.
While I would have liked to start further up, I was not in the last corral with the pacer lady and sweep bus. CHECK.
I was focused on my nutrition, had a well practiced plan and was clear-headed every minute of those 26.2 miles. BIG CHECK.
There were even some unexpected positives! I did not get one blister. My toes nails were not at all affected. My hip was better than it has been in a whole year! (Thank you KT Tape?!) I did not stress over what to wear or what to eat in the days prior and the weather was great.
My goal was to finish 36 minutes faster than last year and with all this going for me you’d think it would have been a no brainer. Well, I was 11 minutes slower than last year.
For the first 13 miles I was on pace. Miles 14-19 were much easier than I had anticipated, but I was slowing down. Nevertheless, it was still possible to finish close to where I had hoped. Mile 20 and 21 are an out and back, so you get to see much more of the people around you. Near the middle of mile 21 I glanced across the cones at the runners in their 20th mile. Guess who I saw? The balloon lady and the bikers who put you on the sweep bus! “Are you kidding me!!?” I get to the mile marker and the woman with the watch says “you’re three minutes ahead of the pacer.”  Three minutes, okay I can do this….I’m ahead a bit and I only have to worry about it for two or three miles to be safe.  At this point I think about all the excuses I have not to finish. “I’ve done a marathon before – I don’t need to prove anything.”  “I had the flu/bronchitis ten days ago.” “Being sick caused me to miss peak training time… highest long run was only 16 miles.” “Maybe I could see June finish if I hop the bus now.”  “I’ll still get a medal.” At this point I am approaching the ramp that takes you off the highway and back into the park. Go left, get on the bus. Go right; run 3-4 more miles to the finish. I start to move left. A little voice in my head says “REALLY? Last year was a nightmare from mile 14 on and you finished. It’s a little hard at mile 22 and you’re going to hop the bus?!” Exit right. Cramping, chest hurting, and without much enthusiasm, I finish.
“Great! You did it! You rock!” All the other comments start flowing; “DLF is better than DNF is better than DNS (Dead Last Finish is better than Did Not Finish and totally trumps Did Not Start.)”  “At least you were out there.” “Time doesn’t matter, you finished!” “You are ahead of the millions at home on their couches watching TV.”  “The Courage to Start.” “I don’t even like to drive 26.2 miles!” And the list goes on.  For about 48 hours I’m pleased and bought into all the above. But after that…..”Blah, blah, blah, bullshit!” (This is where I start feeling sorry for myself.)
There were 14,300+ people that finished the marathon. Some of them did the half-marathon the day before! There were 70 people with slower times than mine! SEVENTY out of 14,300!  In the race video there are only 10 people behind me!  W.T.F.?  It’s a year later and I am much more fit. I’ve done three half-marathons, a 70.3 and dozens of shorter races. I have put in a hundred+ more hours of training in the last 12 months than I did last year. I have all the above things in my corner and what do I do – go slower!  And this year I have a whole Tri community watching, not just my family and a few close friends. They are no doubt thinking and saying “She can’t finish an Ironman in 17 hours! What was she thinking?” Now I am nothing but embarrassed and defeated and think “I can’t finish an Ironman in 17 hrs! What was I thinking?”  I have to tell my coach that I can’t do it. Surely, she must be thinking the same!
In a good luck note that was given to me before I went to Disney there was a quote. “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth……….not going all the way and not starting.”  (Buddha) As I think back now, I understand what happened when I came to that ramp with the bus on the left. It was about truth. This is ALL about truth…..truth about who you are, truth about what you are made of, truth about your character, your values, your ability to conquer, possibilities, truth about LIFE. I could have gotten on that bus and told the world how I just couldn’t go on. But I would have known it wasn’t that bad – that’s truth. When someone asks, or when I ask myself “why do you this?” now I have an answer….I am in search of truth. I didn’t find truth out there on the course, but I’m one step closer.  As the Rascal Flatts song goes “every time you get up and get back in the race, one more small piece of you starts to fall into place.”  
You don’t find truth outside, you find it inside. My truth is about me, not about other people. I had overlooked the one thing that was of the most significance about this marathon – I did it alone. I depended on what was inside. If you read my blog about last year’s marathon you’ll know that I had five people that pushed and supported me the whole way. I was incredibly grateful to them. I would not have finished if it weren’t for all five of them. But, having others believe in you is one thing, this time I had to believe on my own. I almost let the outside take over – the balloon lady caused me to abandon my plan, think negatively, and want to quit. What others were going to think about my time took away from all the things I felt good about on Sunday but didn’t care about on Tuesday.
This is about truth. LIFE is about truth. I’ve started but “there are two mistakes one can make.” I have to stay on the road in order to go all the way. Back to IM training!