When a PR doesn’t feel so great

I know I should be very happy. It was a very definite PR, not just a small one. So, why doesn’t it feel great?

Just over a week ago I ran my second marathon, and my second Philadelphia Marathon. At the beginning of the year I wasn’t so sure I would do it, but with what appeared to be successful training, I felt ready.

I felt so ready that I was actually looking forward to it. My plan was to go out at an aggressive pace, but one that felt achievable, and a pace I believed I could keep up for at least 18 to 20 miles in the worst case scenario.

The race didn’t pan out that way. I was a little surprised to find that my right calf felt a little stiff very early on, but I shook it off, and the feeling faded.

I passed the 10k in just under 45 minutes, and then the halfway point in 1:36:30, still feeling good. However, just a short while later, around mile 15, I felt a slight twinge in my right calf. Unfortunately I knew what was coming – 2 years previously the same thing had happened but that time around it hadn’t happened until around miles 17/18. That time, my last 4 miles were very tough, and this time, true to history, my last 6 miles were horrendous (although you couldn’t necessarily tell from the picture below taken by a friend at mile 25).

At this point in the race, I was alternating between running, running with poor form to try to ease the calf strain, walking, and just hobbling.

My dramatic drop off still saw me hobbling in at 3:22:45 – a great time especially when I look back at my 5 years of running, but that hope of getting close to 3:15 was gone. Combine that with the knowledge that this will likely be my last competitive marathon for several years (I can’t get away with the level of training around other things in my life – as a friend’s sign said on race day “Still in a relationship? You didn’t train hard enough”), this ended up as a slight disappointment, but ultimately one I can live with.

 

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