After Saturday's marathon, I laid down and closed my eyes for a few minutes while my friend showered and packed. My end of the conversations sounded a lot like this:
"I'm really disappointed with the race. Why can't I do a 5-hour marathon? I tried soooo hard and worked on it all summer and I can't do it!!! It's so frustrating and disappointing."
Later in the car, I was still bummed.
"It's like ballet all over again. It's like marching band part 2. I studied ballet for years and years and got into the best class in the best school in southeast Michigan, but I was, like, the worst person in the class. Band was the same thing. It was so much work! Yeah, I was part of a state winning group, but I had to do so much work to be one of the worst people. It was never natural. Why do I keep choosing activities that are so hard for me?"
It's a good question. I seem to keep picking hobbies for which I don't have a natural talent. I can get to the highest level through hard work, but I'm never good and it's sooooo frustrating. Why am I not picking activities for which I have a natural affinity?
Immediately after the race I was pretty accepting that a 4:33 or a PR just wasn't many to be this year, but I was still bummed. On Sunday I was even more bummed and complained a little to my friend via email.
"Just remember, with ALL that was thrown at you, ALL that shit, you STILL made it through. You still slayed the "I'm quitting" demon and pushed and pushed through it. I'm very proud - and envious - of you!"
"I think I would feel defeated as well. But I still feel you did a great job and you did something I could not have done - ESPECIALLY in the sleet and rain. come on mother nature - seriously? seriously?"
Even Hal Higdon agrees with my friend. He says your friends don't care how you placed, they don't care if you set a personal record. They just care that you finished.
For a few days I slept with the medal right next to my bed, the only time I've slept with a medal. It represented the hardest run I've ever done, but it also represented that maybe I can't do everything I want to. What a horrible realization.
I saw something online that I'm trying to internalize:
Dead last is greater than did not finish, which trumps did not start.
I'm not dead last though, I finished ahead of 100+ runners in Indianapolis, even with how awful I felt. Why can't that be good enough?