Now that it's been a few days (and yes, I am still wearing that PR glow!), here are some after-thoughts...
- The Toronto Marathon Disaster of October 2010 shook me hard. While I moved on and realized that everyone has bad days, that experience continued to haunt me, making me question my training and abilities. Having that race go so horribly wrong was a lot of the reason I decided to incorporate a "training run" marathon before my next 'A' race. I needed to get my confidence back and shake off some demons in a serious way. Now it's nothing more than a blip on the radar - and how appropriate that I crushed the original goal that I had set for myself back in October. That's what I call redemption.
- Something that helped me get through the disappointment and defeat last year was a quote from The Running Laminator that I picked up from Runner's Rambles: "I am just waiting for the perfect race to let my secret out." It stuck with me and I remembered it frequently, anxious for my turn to have that perfect race. I think it's safe to say I've let the secret out! Having a day like this - "the perfect race" - makes all the bad days worth it!
- As I've mentioned, my plan for Martian was to run a comfortable first half and goal MRP for the second half. I've hesitated to put my official goal for May 15th out there in the universe, or even admit it to myself. It seemed like such an over-ambitious giant leap, despite what my training has indicated. Martian gave me the opportunity to validate that training and provided a stepping stone to that ultimate goal. If you've been paying attention, you know exactly what it is.
- I've been feeling remarkably good since the race, and actually went for a short recovery run the next morning, which is a definite first. I took Monday off as I always do, and went for another easy run this morning feeling pretty much "normal." This only confirms that I did not overdo it on Saturday, even though I ran so much faster than anticipated. Hubs and I have a "couples physio" appointment tonight so the muscles will be getting a little extra TLC.
- Some of you have commented on the lack of taper leading to such a successful marathon, and this is definitely something that is on my mind. Early on in this training cycle, I had already decided that I would be tapering differently this time around (for the A race). In the past I believe I have tapered too much and now I am even more sure of this realization.
- There's no question that approaching the race as a training run and keeping it low-key helped a great deal with race day nerves. It was refreshing to fall asleep easily the night before, wake up feeling calm rested, line up at the start line without my heart pounding out of my chest. Of course, there is no question that I am going to have a big goal for my A race, and I'm going to be nervous. I will just have to do my best to channel this experience and remain focused and (relatively) calm. Starting slowly was a significant factor as well, and I will be taking this under serious consideration.
- I still can't believe I ran a 3:46 marathon!!!!
Thanks again for all your support - and for still being my friends even though I was a big fat secret-keeper!