Initial Thoughts on NJ Marathon (Failure)

So, yesterday’s marathon did not go as planned.  I didn’t hit my A, B, or C goals.  Instead, I got my first DNF (did not finish).

Long story short (I’ll go into more detail in my next post).  I got charlie horse-like cramps just past mile 22 (my garmin said 22.5 but it was a bit off).  I felt like I could barely stand, let alone walk, so for me, there was no decision to even make…the race was over.  I don’t run marathons to say I ran “x” # so the idea of hobbling my way another 3.7 miles to the finish line just to say I finished (and potentially injure myself or force an extremely long recovery – neither of which would bode well for the IM in < 3 months) is not who I am.  The question I asked myself was “At what cost?” And in my opinion, the cost was too high.

I will do a full race recap in the coming days because I’m still sorting through everything from the day. It stings too much when I think about it and I feel I need time to process it all.

I cried off and on in the hours following the race and spent much of the rest of the afternoon pretty down.  This race is certainly not going to be one that I can blink my eyes and make the pain and heartache disappear.

Those that have been reading this blog for a while know that the NJ Marathon (and going sub-3:10) was a goal of mine from way back in 2012.  After finding out I was unexpectedly (but happily!) pregnant with baby #2 in February 2012, I deferred the marathon and decided it would become my target race post-baby this spring.

Although I have technically been training for NJ for the past 16-18 weeks, THIS race is what was on my mind on virtually every single run since my son was born.  That’s 7 months of runs.  That’s a lot of mornings of getting up to run despite getting very little sleep.  That’s a lot of Friday night’s being spent at home, resting, hydrating and fueling for my long run on Saturday.  That’s a long time to be SO focused on one race. (Note: I realize that I may be focusing too much on one race – the angst and nervousness I felt leading up to this race was unlike any other race before.)

I WILL get over this.  I WILL recover.  I WILL learn from this experience.  I WILL be a stronger, smarter, better runner because of it.

I know there will be other races.  I know I will have another shot at my goal time.  And as I discussed in a recent guest post on Christine’s blog:

I realized that the time when I cross the finish line doesn’t define me.  It doesn’t mean that I didn’t try my hardest.  It doesn’t mean that I was any less of a runner then if I crossed 90 seconds earlier…
What’s more important, in my opinion, is the journey.  The miles logged.  The hard runs where you want to quit SO badly but keep pushing.  The early mornings you were out on the road when you really wanted to be back in bed.  The desire to be better, to be the best runner you could be.  ALL of the hard work that went into showing up at the start line of a race as ready as you could be.

I will reach that point of acceptance.  But, right now, I am letting myself wallow.  I know will eventually be okay with this experience but it doesn’t take away the sting that I am still feeling. Guys, the race was within my grasp at mile 20.  And man, that burns.  I knew I would be uncomfortable at mile 20 (and I was).  I was ready for it.  I was well ahead of the 3:15 pacer (we estimated about 2 1/2 min based on the out and back loop we did) so I was on track for a sub-3:13. {Photo credit: Jocelyn}

Surprised at how good my form looks (mile ~9/10)

I was a few miles away from smashing my PR. It was there for me to take. And it slipped away.  The drastic change in emotions that I experienced within those 15 minutes is a rollercoaster like I’ve never known.  I was in pain but riding a high at mile 21.  And minutes later I was hysterical crying and SO mad at my body for giving up. This wasn’t a slow realization that I was going to miss my goal because each mile was getting slower.  I was still running 7:20-7:35 miles up to that point.  Yes, I was in pain.  We were running into the wind (more on this tomorrow) but I knew that even if I ran 8 min miles for the last 4-5 miles, I would still go sub-3:15.  I think that is what hurts more than anything right now.  I was {this} close to reaching my goal. 

I’ve been dealing with the Why me?  How did this happen? Was there anything I could have done to prevent this? Was I not ready? and a whole slew of other questions running through my head.  Maybe I will get answers; maybe not.  I do know that I will take away what I can from this experience when my heart heals.

Having said all that, I am keeping this race in perspective.  I’m allowing myself a few days to wallow and be mad/angry/pissed/sad but I’m trying my absolute hardest to be as happy as I can with all (3) of my boys.  As I’ve said in previous posts, running adds meaning to my life, but my boys ARE my life.  And I try as hard as I can to not let disappointment in that area of my life bleed over into the other aspects of my life.

My next post will go into a more detailed recap of all this – how the 22.5 miles went and my thoughts on what I think may have caused it.  

Yesterday may not have ended the way I had ever imagined, but there were some amazing moments leading up to the race and I am beyond grateful to so many people and for a whole slew of things.

– My husband.  My rock: I’ve mentioned before how supportive he is of all my running (and other) ambitions.  But he does more than just support me.  He looks out for me in the days leading up to a big race – making sure I’m relaxing as much as I can, drinking enough water, eating the foods I need to eat.  Yesterday, he walked with me to the start, watched me off, then raced back to the hotel to drive to the finish area and then get to mile 11.  The plan was for him to run miles 11-14/15 and then 22-25, but he ended up staying with me from mile 11 on.  He got me water at the water points, tried to block the strong winds, gave me pep talks with just a look in my eyes during parts of the race.  Then, after I cramped, he helped me off the course and ran the 3.5 miles back to the finish area to get the car.  My husband does it all for me.  Always without a complaint.  Always with a smile.  I would not be able to do half of what I do if it weren’t for his unwavering love and support.

Waiting in the corral before the start

Childless time: My husband and I enjoyed our first night away from the two kids!!  Actually, it was first night away, childless, since August 2011. Long time. Granted, we didn’t get to sleep in (hello, 5:15am wakeup) or stay out enjoying a few adult beverages, but it was wonderful to go to bed without the worry of a 7 month old’s twice-a-night feedings or the possibility of our 2 y/o coming into our room in the middle of the night.

 Family: Our two boys were happier when we came home then when we left.  It’s an incredibly liberating feeling knowing that you don’t worry about your children when you leave them.  My mom and youngest sister watched the boys for us (and my oldest sister and her husband stopped in for a few hours as well) as they often do when we have things we need to attend.  HUGE thank you to both of them!

– Hidden Gem: After stopping at the race expo and checking into our hotel, we called a few local Italian restaurants but were told that the wait was upwards of 90 minutes for all of them.  We were both starving so we decided to drive around while we called.  We basically stumbled upon Sofia’s Restaurant.  I didn’t want to even waste our time at first because from the outside it looked rundown and shady.  But my husband convinced me that we should walk in and then make a decision.  We opened the door to this amazing, family owned restaurant.  There was one other couple there when we arrived (and they finished dinner 10 min after we got there). The food was delicious, the service great, and the quiet atmosphere soothing.

Running Community: This was my first marathon since having become active on social media (twitter, IG).  The support I received has blown me away.  From local runners making the trip down from NYC to cheer (Leticia, Jocelyn, Meggie, MichelleAbby, Theodora, Jess), to the good luck messages and comments I received pre-race, to the encouraging and uplifting post-race messages, emails, and tweets.  Seeing my NYC running friends cheering (at miles 5.5 and 9) was unreal. Hearing their yells, smiles, and words of encouragement made my day.  It put the absolute biggest smile on my face.  HUGE thank you to everyone.  {Thanks to Leticia for this picture of me from mile ~9).

Race organizers: The NJ marathon was flawlessly organized and executed in my opinion.  Plenty of race support along the course, great expo, and fun course to run (my only complaint was the # of turns we had to make – but I know some of them were due to Hurricane Sandy).  Local runners should definitely consider the full or half as an alternative to some of the more crowded races in NYC – it was great to walk into the corrals at 740 and be the only person in there (for an 8am start).  And, despite the half being scheduled for 630 (645?), they allowed runners who arrived late (because of traffic) to start with the marathon runners.  Security was extremely tight this year (due to the events in Boston) and I know it caused some spectators/runners angst because of the measures that were taken, but, unfortunately, it was a necessary change – better safe then sorry, right?

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend – share some happy news with me…anyone PR? Any good runs? =)

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    80 thoughts on “Initial Thoughts on NJ Marathon (Failure)

    1. Pingback: NJ Marathon – Take 2

    2. Smart decision to stop racing! Sometimes as a runner it’s inevitable that you’ll have pain or get injured at some point and it’s important to listen to your body. Don’t be discouraged, there are so many other races and PR’s in your future!
      Olivia recently posted..Gear Guide 1.0My Profile

    3. Seriously, deciding not to run is MORE difficult that hobbling miles and adding in more recovery time. I’ve run through cramps that late in the game and that stays with you… it knocks you out for days as you try to work it out. BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE.

      Iron Man is the goal and you know you’ve got that time in your pocket. You were just saving it for later is all… you want bigger and better. Chin up mama. You know better.
      Pavement Runner recently posted..Race-cation Pics: Toronto, Niagara & Niagara-on-the-LakeMy Profile

    4. Michelle,
      I’m so so sorry to hear about your race! I can totally feel your pain after all your hard work! But, I want you to know what an inspiration and source of support you are! I ran my last two races, the diva 1/2 in mrytle beach and the Long Island 10k back to back last week and PR at both thanks to you! Your kindness, knowledge, and all around awesomeness are why I was able to do it! I know you need time about your race, but I know you will be back out there killing it again! You amaze me! Be well and thank you!!!

    5. Pingback: NJ Marathon Race Recap

    6. Um……. I just love you friend. Seriously. Take as much time as you need to process it all. We’ll be here. LOVE YOU!!!!!! And love your honesty and raw emotions about the race. I’ve never had something like that happen, but man, I bet it hurts. Take care of yourself!!!!!
      STUFT Mama recently posted..Golden Gate Relay Recap- Part OneMy Profile

    7. I’ve been running for several years, and ran my first marathon in January–the week after the Ragnar Florida keys race. Then 6 weeks later and sick, I ran my 2nd marathon. The hacking cough and headwind finally got me between mile 11 and 12I just couldn’t take another step.
      I walked/jogged back to the finish. I crossed the finish line hoping for a Mylar blanket. And then I headed directly to the timing people to invalidate my time. It was humbling. We’ve all been there. My husband always says that race day can’t always be your best day. You’ll come back. And be stronger because of this experience
      Amy recently posted..Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies. Oh Yes. I Went ThereMy Profile

    8. I’m so sorry about your DNF, but you are exactly right — this race does not define you. I think one of the most beautiful things about endurance sports is the power of the try — that one makes a decision to go after something big and difficult — and sometimes we triumph, sometimes we fail. But, in the end, there is so much power and beauty in the try. Thanks for bringing so many readers along with you.
      Kristin recently posted..RUN NIKE WOMEN SERIESMy Profile

    9. I feel like I crawled out from under a hole. You made such a smart decision to stop and not finish. You could have finished, sure, but what at cost. This is a bump in the road and I know you will make it through.
      Hollie recently posted..Hashtag Blogger ProblemsMy Profile

    10. Totally, TOTALLY understand where you are right now. It’s true that the time on the watch does not in any way define you or even the kind of shape you’re in right now. It’s all about what happens on the day and what manages to come together and a bit of luck. I know you will be stronger after this massive disappointment, but that probably doesn’t make much of an impact on you right now. You have to process before you can get past. You can’t dictate when it happens…it just does. Big, Bad A days ahead!!! xoxo

    11. Michele – I read this post yesterday but was unable to comment until now. I am so incredibly sorry that the marathon you’ve been focusing on for the past 7 months ended in a DNF. And I’m sure that still stings, even days later. But please don’t consider yourself a failure. I know Sunday must have been heartbreaking for you, but the fact that you set your goals so high and gave everything you had to achieve them does not equal a failure in my book. The marathon is a beast of a race — it can leave you feeling on top of the world and invincible, but it can also (all to easily) break your heart. Especially when the goal is to race one, vs simply to finish. We have all been there one way or another. Doesn’t make it any easier to go through it…but it WILL make the victory that much sweeter when you finally achieve it.

      As hard as it must have been, you obviously did the right thing. Finishing a marathon just to say you did under those circumstances wouldn’t have helped you with your long term IM goals — you are smart and strong to recognize that. Remember, it takes a lot of strength to admit that it’s not your day and walk away from something that you have had your heart and soul set on for a long time. We all know that wasn’t easy for you. But think about all the miles you logged leading up to the race. You are a strong runner — mentally and physically. And I know you are going to crush your IM BECAUSE of all the work you’ve already put in.

      I know this is long and rambling already, but I figured I would just finish with the Samuel Beckett quote that has been on my mind and heart all year: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
      Don’t let this race bring you down. Keep fighting, and you will come back stronger.

    12. Thank you so much for posting this. I am so sorry your race didn’t go as planned. It takes a lot of guts to make the decision you did. I ran my second marathon (the Flying Pig in Cincinnati) yesterday and my calf muscles cramped up at mile 14. I was so angry at my body. Last year on the same course I cramped at 22. I did finish the race yesterday but much slower than I expected to. I think we need bad races to remind ourselves that we are stronger than we think we are. Just think how much more determined you will be for your next race!
      Allie recently posted..Race day!My Profile

    13. I thought about you this morning when I got up, I have been watching you train and train hard, I know this had to stung bad. I just want you to know, we cannot choose the outcome of any race and no matter what you did a great job. Keep your head up and I know you will come out stronger than ever, you are a fantastic runner. Thank you for inspiring me every day to be a stronger runner!
      Deana Jones recently posted..OC Half MarathonMy Profile

    14. Been thinking about you a lot today. You are so strong and I’m sorry this happened. I totally forgot that you are still breastfeeding until I read Lisa’s comment- wonder if that had something to do with the cramps. Your boys are what matter most and I love how you put this all into words. Your sub 3:10 is going to happen, your fitness is no doubt there, I’m just sad it didn’t work out for you yesterday. More big goals ahead though- Head up and solider on!
      Lindsey Hein recently posted..500 Festival Mini Marathon 2013My Profile

    15. So sorry to hear about your DNF, Michele! As always, so refreshing how honest and open you are about your accomplishments AND challenges. In happy news, I got a 10K PR yesterday, my first sub-50!

    16. So sorry about the race. You were really smart to DNF and not keep pushing. And just remember that the best marathoners in the world–Paula Radcliffe, Haile Gebrselassie, Desiree Davila, and so many more–have DNFs to their names. Bad runs, like bad things, sometimes happen to good runners. It’s good that you’re still looking at the positives things. You’ll come back stronger next time!
      Karla @ recently posted..Running Races To Remember 6 Years And CountingMy Profile

    17. I’m so sorry to hear about your DNF, but I think it’s something most of us have to learn about at some point in our racing careers. It sucks, it is emotional, but it happens. And it’s better than DNS (which is what happened to my IM this year). Racing is an investment and it can be risky sometimes. You just have to know what you’re willing to risk each time and try to make the best decisions you can along the way. You will come back. :)
      Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted..Grilled Cabbage with Honey Mustard Dressing {MMAZ #32}My Profile

    18. Michele- I love reading your blog because of your honesty and love for your family! It is so awesome to read how much love you have for your friends, family, and even silly readers like me! You truly are an amazing woman and one fast runnah…as we like to say here in Boston. Thanks for being encouraging even when things don’t go as planned. Running a 5k this weekend…PR…I think so :) I’ll be thinking of you!


      • Danielle – I’ve meant to respond to your comment here (and on the other post) for a while now. Just wanted to say thank you for your sweet words – it means so much to me. I’m thankful to have connected with you via social media – you are just as much an inspiration to me!! I hope your 5k went well last weekend! xoxo
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Ironman Lake Placid (T &#8211; 11)My Profile

    19. I’m so sorry that this race didn’t pan out as you had hoped. You made a smart, albeit I’m sure difficult, decision in stopping because of further damage that could have been done. Though you may feel disappointed, know that we all look at you as a constant inspiration. I can imagine it’ll take a bit for it not to sting when you think about this race, I would bet that crossing the finish line of IMLP will put enough pride in your heart to help you get over this one. I’m so excited for you Michele. I have no idea how you balance it all!
      meghan recently posted..Thankful {Congratulations Kacey}My Profile

    20. I’m sorry to hear that your race did not turn out as planned. I too was supposed to run the NJ marathon yesterday. It was going to be my fourth time there. I had a new training program and was hitting all my time goals on my runs. I was so excited to smash my pr, until I developed a stress fracture 4 weeks ago. I’ve learned that our bodies don’t always do what our minds want them to do. I’m learning to respect and listen to my body more and I commend you for not pushing through to finish. You made the right choice.

    21. I’m sorry to hear about your DNF. I think that a few days of pity parties is justified. You’ll feel better soon and be out there smashing records before you know it!!

    22. Candis! Holy cow! Thanks so much for your sweet comment – all the way from Afghanistan…so happy to hear that you are going to start training for a half =) I always found that running helped my deployments pass much quicker b/c it gave me something to focus on, you know?
      Stay safe over there…how much longer do you have?
      nycrunningmama recently posted..Initial Thoughts on NJ Marathon (Failure)My Profile

      • 6 more months….whooo hooo!!! And trust me, I’m READY to go! I’m definitely staying safe, being encouraged by wonderful and amazing women like you and staying fit and strong! And you aren’t lying…running towards a goal (a half marathon or anything) always makes things go by faster. The months have already been flying by, which is good.

    23. I remember one race where I was trying to hit a specific goal and missed it. I saw my husband at the finish, told him “I failed” and walked off bc I felt like such a complete failure. he reminded me (once he caught up to me again) that trying for a big goal and not meeting it (yet) doesn’t equate to failure.
      and like you said, time on the clock (good or bad) doesn’t define as a person. and the sting and pain of it will fade with time, but do know that you are motivating and inspiring more people through this than ever! people relate to the tough times and not meeting your goals because we have ALL been there and have experienced that.

    24. I’m sorry to hear things didn’t go as planned… I did see you at one of the turn arounds (you were much further ahead than I)

      But I feel your pain. This was my first marathon and I had high hopes. I wore my 4:15 pacing tattoo and was on track for the first half of the race. After those 13 miles, my hip started to hurt, then my ankle, then my foot. I was an hour past my expected time. My boyfriend kept sending me encouraging texts every time I messaged him how miserable I was. When I crossed the finish line, he was waiting and asked how I felt.. I said i was in so much pain and just wanted to go home. I swore up and down I’d never run a marathon again. I feel gypped of my sense of accomishment I expected when I crossed the finish. Today I woke up, still upset, but thinking.. I may need to work on my training and try again.. But who knows.. I’m in recovery both mentally and physically..

      Hopefully in time, we’ll both come to terms.. And who knows, maybe we both can try again at next years!

    25. My heart aches for you!! And love the part about your husband….it made my heart smile. I hope you heel quickly (both physically and mentally)…I’m sure you will because you’re one tough cookie!

      Happy news: finished my last 20 miler and now time to taper for the Pocono Run for the Red Marathon!
      Kristin recently posted..20 Miles on a Vacation Day?My Profile

    26. I can’t imagine how it felt to have to walk off just a few miles from the end. Like you said though, you will go on and persevere! The next one will be a totally different experience.
      P.S. You definitely having an amazing husband :) What a good guy making sure you are prepared and then running w/ you!
      Britt @ BrittsRunningStyle recently posted..This is What I Get…My Profile

    27. I am so sorry to read this! I actually saw you at one of the out and backs (possibly around your mile 17?), and you were looking fantastic! I recognized you from your blog, but couldn’t think of your name in time to yell something (plus, you were flying at that point)! I ended up with a huge PR, so thank you for your inspiration! Also this post really shows your strength during obstacles and setbacks, and that is so admirable. Thank you for sharing, and I can’t wait to read about your future accomplishments.
      Heather recently posted..Workouts 4/29/13 – 5/5/13My Profile

    28. I adore YOU.
      I love your perspective.
      You are one if my most fav people.
      You will get your 3:09 & your sub 3. If anyone can…’s you.

    29. Oh my gosh, I got the biggest lump in my throat reading about your husband, his undying support and how stuck with you, even trying to shield you from the wind. How incredible is he?? I LOVE that so much and what you two have together. And while I am sad for you that you had to go through with the DNF, I love your spirit as a runner and KNOW that you will not let this get you down for long, that you will overcome and be even BETTER for it. Big giant hugs. xoxo
      Jess recently posted..From the #foodlovah diariesMy Profile

    30. I read your recap this morning and was not able to comment so I thought about what I would say while I was running on my own this morning. First, I’m sorry you had to DNF. I know no runner wants to do that but if you were experiencing sharp, agonizing pain you need to know you did the right thing and don’t second guess your decision. Secondly, as much as you have a right to be “mad” at your body (I’ve been there myself) try to remind yourself of the amazing things your body has allowed you to do these past several months- including giving birth! You have done SO MUCH and have been an amazing role model for so many, myself included. You ran an awesome half marathon as well as many other challenging workouts and races! There is a point when we have to acknowledge that our body is doing the best it can- for where we are right now. I remember being a few months post baby and reading about all these other moms racing and PR-ing. (Dorothy from Mile Posts was one of them who I loved to follow at the time.) I didn’t understand how they were able to run marathons and PR but my body needed more time. I remember finally running my first HM 9 months post baby #4 and I hit a major wall around mile 8. It was awful. I was not cramping or in serious physical pain so I made myself suffer through to finish but it was no where near what I had planned. Looking back I know my body just needed more time. It was doing the best it could. I knew I was capable of more and I had MANY months of built up racing built up in my mind so I had set the bar really high, not cutting myself any new mommy slack. I don’t mean to ramble on so much but I just want to remind you that you ARE a VERY talented and gifted runner. DO NOT let yesterdays race get into your head. And now I have a very crazy suggestion that is probably out of the question and I only suggest this because if I were in your position I would be thinking of this… Have you considered running another full in 3 weeks? You could almost just count this one as your last long run. I just looked up a 5/26 marathon on and saw the Buffalo Marathon which is near your neck of the woods. The race website says it is fast, great course and usually has great weather. Just a thought. I know you have your IM coming up but I totally know the importance of a redemption race. I have done them myself and always do better the second go-around. Hang in there!! You will get your sub 3:15 and sub 3:10 and I’m sure even lower when the time is right! :-)
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Toad Suck Daze 10K- Race RecapMy Profile

    31. You have every right and then some to wallow, to wonder why, to cry, to scream. You got robbed of this…and I am so sorry this happened. BUT once again, you amaze me with your run-smarts, in that you didn’t finish ‘just’ to finished, you stopped smartly, when you knew it could risk injury. And you are seeing all around you the positive, the perspective, the GOOD in your life, despite a race that went far from planned. Poised as ever, you are, I am so so impressed. XO
      jobo recently posted..On travels…and wow, this is really happening.My Profile

    32. I’m so sorry that your race didn’t go the way you planned!!
      The courage you showed by making the decision to stop and not risk further injury is amazing!!!
      I know that it will take time to move past this and hope it can be a positive time for you.
      Reading about your awesome husband brought tears to my eyes (I’m fortunate to have the same type of husband) – I’m so glad that he was with you!!!
      Km recently posted..Big Plans and GoalsMy Profile

    33. Oh friend, I am soooo sorry. I didn’t doubt that you were going to smash that PR, but I absolutely love, love, love that you have the right big picture perspective, even though it stings and hurts still. {hugs}

      My happy news for you: Last year I ran my first half marathon. I finished, but it was sad because my friend lost her baby that same morning, so I headed from finish line to hospital. I ran the same race yesterday, shaved 20 minutes off my time, and she’s due next month with a healthy baby girl. :)
      {more hugs}
      Melissa Running It recently posted..Happy Runniversary to Me!My Profile

    34. It is the mentally tough races and outcomes that builds our strength. I have been in your shoes but haven’t been so smart to listen to my body and walk away knowing I have so many other goals that I can continue reaching for. You are such an inspiration to many and human. Your decision to stop running is something that many of us will learn from. You did not fail, bad days happen Hugs to you lady!!!!!
      Robin recently posted..My Boston Marathon ThoughtsMy Profile

    35. I am so sorry how the race turned out for you – I was on the out to Asbury and saw you probably near Mile 21…so when I read what happened, my heart went out to you! but you definitely made the hardest, but right choice.
      I PR’d…the wind slowed me for sure on the way back, between waiting for that turn around that took FOREVER to come and the winds I was cursing something pretty for a while :)
      But overall..I heard horror stories about NJ and while I think the flatness caused my cramps that slowed me, I really enjoyed it!

    36. Michele, you ran the race that you could, great job! Still a very impressive run, finish or not.

      I have to add, that the part you wrote about your husband being your rock brought tears to my eyes. WOW, you are one lucky girl. I’m so glad you have such a great guy watching out for you.

      One last thing…in reading this post, I felt like I could take your words of disappointment from this race and use them in my post today about my latest injury. I couldn’t talk about it at first. I also can relate to “running adds to my life, my boys ARE my life.” Same here!

      Can’t wait to read your race recap. It’s inspiring reading about your running.
      Jenelle recently posted..This Boot Is Made for Walking…OnlyMy Profile

    37. My best friend PR’d at her 5K yesterday and placed 5th in her age division, I am very proud of her :) She doesn’t do ANY speed work, none. She just shows up at a race and does her thing, it is incredible. It sometimes can bother me because I do do speed work and would like to improve on my pace but realize we are completely different runners and people and comparison is the thief of joy. I am proud of her and you for what you both did this weekend! Good for you for taking the DNF, that cannot be an easy decision and you made the right one. Good for you!
      Dani @ Run Daniella Run recently posted..Good Choices and Bad ChoicesMy Profile

    38. I am so sorry to read that your race didn’t go as planned. It sounds like you are laying the foundation for a healthy outlook and perspective about the event… but it’s good to hear that you are giving yourself a chance to wallow. I think that’s probably a huge part of the mourning/healing process when something you wanted so badly slips through your fingertips. You are an inspiration!

    39. I love your perspective, Michele. And while you’ve always been a running (and mom, strong woman, etc) role model for me — I think you’ve become even more of one with this post. So bummed that you didn’t have the race you wanted, but so proud (again) of the perspective you have on the situation. You’ll be back and stronger than ever at the next one!
      Hyedi recently posted..FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 4/29 – 5/5My Profile

    40. I’m so glad I found your blog! I also started my own blog so that I have accountability when times get tough! 😉 I started the couch to 5K app 5 weeks ago, and will be running my first 5k ever on Saturday! I am super excited, but also nervous that I won’t reach my goals. I can definitely identify with your disappointment, but am so inspired by your determination! I know I’m quite away off from my first marathon, but hope to get there one day! You getting to the starting line was a victory! Congrats and I look forward to reading your blog even more!

    41. You …..are…..amazing. Literally. Your strength and insights have become a part of my world. You are right…you will get over this, you will learn and you will recover.

      Keep being amazing!

    42. Thank you for writing this post, Michele. The marathon is such a monster, such an unpredictable beast. In any race there’s always the possibility that something doesn’t line up correctly but with the marathon it’s particularly devastating. I know that you will recover (physically and emotionally) from this. As for my happy news from this weekend…um…M only woke up twice last night? Sending you all my love xoxo

    43. I’m so sorry to hear about your race. I did the Long Branch Half and after I finished, I was looking forward to hearing how you did. I was sad to hear about your disappointing experience, but I’m glad you made the right choice. Despite your race, it’s still great (and refreshing) to read about the positives. Your hard work, determination, and positive attitude are an inspiration and I’m rooting for you when you do the ironman.

      And since you asked for people to share some happy news- I PR’d yesterday! It was my first sub-2 half marathon and I cried happy tears at the finish line.

    44. You inspire me every day to get out there and start running again. I can only imagine how sad, mad, disappointed you are. Let yourself wallow for a couple days but, please know you are so strong and will get right back up will ROCK the Iron Man. You are a smart runner and listened to your body. I say congratulations!!!

    45. I know that it can be VERY hard to mentally handle a race like this. Although I have never DNF’d (I’m sure it will happen one day, and it has come close a few times), I know what it’s like to feel very embarrassed, let down and beat up. You still ran a solid time for the miles you did get in, and you made the smart decision to stop…You’re going to rock IM LP and this isn’t going to change that. If anything it will make you stronger for it. I am my own worst enemy and always beat myself up for bad runs/races, even though I know it won’t do my any good. Take some time to reflect on the things you did well (there’s a lot of them!) and things you might need to work on. You are an awesome athlete and this race doesn’t define you (no race does.)
      Laura recently posted..Good, Bad & Yummy 5/3-5/5My Profile

    46. Hey Michele,
      I’m very sorry to hear about your unexpected race yesterday. But I know you will come back from this, probably stroner than ever! Just wanted to and to say thank you for all of your running posts. You truly are an inspiration, especially on days where I didn’t feel like getting out of bed to go for a run! So thank you for for being such an awesome running mama :)
      I ran a PR in the full yesterday with a 4:35 finish, ten minutes faster than last for me and I felt great at the finish!
      I know it will take some time to get over what happened yesterday but I think you did the right thing and are still an AMAZING athlete & runner!

    47. Hey Michele, I was really bummed when I read your tweet that your race didn’t go as planned. I know it was really important to you. Take the time you need to process and recalibrate so you’re g2g for IM. You’re still an inspiration and I’m happy that your family and friends surrounded you with love through it all.

    48. Totally understand how you feel but just know that you one amazing and strong woman! You have amazing talent as a runner and you will come back harder and stronger than ever. I know that because that is how you are. Take your time to process your thoughts and then get back to showing us what you are made of! Take Care.

    49. Michele-Thinking of you as I know how hard this emotional roller coaster must be. YOu made a smart decision though and will be stronger at your next marathon because of this. The risk of injuring yourself vs stopping early to preserve your legs was a good choice. Try not to focus too much on the negative but to focus on the learning points and the high points from the race.

    50. Oh Michele, I feel for you!! The marathon is the worst race to not go as planned because it takes SO much training time- and as you said, you’ve had your eye on this race for months. Definitely allow yourself to wallow. I love your perspective that while running adds meaning, your boys are your all… so sweet that your husband was able to run sections with you, too! And all those supporters in person? Just amazing! You’ve worked so hard- you still have that fitness. And you will get your good races… plus you still have the ironman to focus on and kick butt!
      Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Sprint for Life 5k RecapMy Profile

    51. I swear, running is so much more than just the runs for me. Patience, understanding, appreciation, love, kindness, understanding, pain, accountability, perseverance, responsibility, more patience ;)…it’s one of the most amazing sports I’ve learned to love for all of these reasons. You did an amazing job. You worked hard and while it may not have been ideal, you put your heart into it and that IS what counts. Thank you for sharing this. I know it’s hard, but it really is helpful for me (who is still new to running) and others.

      That part about your husband, that gave me chills! My husband is the same way and it’s pretty incredible when you have someone like that by your side! Keep your chin up my friend!
      Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) recently posted..Inspiration Versus Motivation…My Profile

    52. I’m so bummed for you. I totally get how you feel from having been in that same place. You were ready, you were on pace, you had this within reach. I’m so sorry it wasn’t the day for it. Do take the time to wallow and feel down and process it. And then, dust off and look ahead. The pain of this one will make the victory of the next that much sweeter. I completely believe in your ability and drive and that means that nothing will stop you from your goal!
      misszippy1 recently posted..Out of the mouths of babesMy Profile

    53. Congratulations are still in order for your amazing race! Sure, you DNFd and are disappointed (rightfully so), but you have already started the recovery process by showing what/how you are grateful for. That alone is so admirable. You are keeping the most important things in perspective. With that said, you are going to come back stronger than ever! Take care!

    54. I think you made a very difficult but very wise decision. Unpredictable, unplanned things happen during a marathon. Like you said, one minute you’re riding high and the next everything comes crashing down around you. I think that when you stand on that start line next time, that 3:10 will be even more closely within your grasp than it was at mile 20 yesterday, because you have already been there before. Running is such a rollercoaster, isn’t it?! Hugs.
      Alison @ racingtales recently posted..My Boston Marathon: Plan the Run, Run the PlanMy Profile

    55. I commented on your May 3rd post but I will say it again…you are still AWESOME! You still inspire and encourage and you are a hard core runner and great person :). I know you nor I would just be able to shrug it off….but just know you have a lot of running fans out there :).

    56. I can feel through your words how incredibly painful and emotional this decision was. It takes a huge amount of maturity and wisdom to stop running and not risk getting injured.You are still nursing your baby and I remember the unusual amount of charlie horses I would get during that time. The fact that you trained for this event having a very young baby and toddler is more amazing to me than anything. I can’t imagine being consistent and devoted to your training while being woken up every night to nurse and take care your babies. I marvel at your strength and courage, I always have and now I am even more in awe. This race shows me that your not only a badass superstar runner,mother and wife, but is shows me your courage, wisdom and maturity. I adore you and sending you all of my love, prayers and protection.
      Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Nuun Hood to Coast, Cherry Limeade Slush and a giveawayMy Profile

    57. Marathons can be so uplifting and so heartbreaking. I’m so sorry that you cramped up but definitely the right decision. No need to prolong recovery or ruin your Ironman. You looked FANTASTIC when we saw you so I know your next marathon will be “your moment!” Best of luck recovering. :)
      Meggie recently posted..The Lucky OnesMy Profile

    58. Many hugs – these things are never easy to process. I’m not at the level you are with racing marathons, but I did recently go through a problem (foot issue at mile 13) at my first marathon a couple weeks ago. In my case, I needed to finish because it was my first and I didn’t want at DNF on a first marathon – so I finished, 20 min slower than what I thought I would do. But from here on out – I totally understand the reason to DNF. Our bodies need *what is best* more than we need another medal. Rest, pamper yourself a bit, and know you are a big inspiration to all of us Momma Runners :)
      Christina recently posted..Race training plans, birthday party, and more kitty loveMy Profile

    59. You made a hard yet smart decision. you have other events happening this summer and if you pushed it you may have affected the outcome’s of those events as well. It is just as admirable to make the best call for your body!! I am glad you have a supportive, kind, loving husband that helped you significantly yesterday (and while training:)). There is not a doubt in my mind you will crush your goal. One race doesn’t define you–you are a runner for life.

    60. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. -teddy Roosevelt

      When I was competing in college I had this framed next to my bed. I love it. So true. A “glorious triumph” will come your way soon!

    61. Thank you for sharing, lady. I hadn’t tweeted or anything at you yet because I didn’t know what to say, but it sounds like you have good perspective on the race. I know that that sub-3:10 is yours the next time you reach for it, but I know it must also really hurt to DNF. Your husband also sounds super sweet :) Hugs. Xo
      Theodora recently posted..An Uplifting, Ass-Kicking WorkoutMy Profile

    62. I’m so sorry to hear about your disappointing race. I’m sure you are crushed. But I wanted to take a moment to thank you for meeting me and my husband!! Losing my iPod (we did eventually find it) worked out perfectly because I got to meet you in the hotel lobby. It gave me a huge boost of confidence. I did PR in the half with a 1:57 finish! I’m thrilled. Thank you so much for your encouragement and all that I have learned about training and racing from reading your blog.

      • Stephanie – congratulations on an amazing PR yesterday =) Told ya it was going to be easier – silly hills in PA =) That’s an incredible time for it being your 2nd half!!!
        SO SO SO glad that I got to meet you and your husband – honestly, meeting you was the highlight of my Saturday. I couldn’t stop smiling after I left the lobby! And then I got to see your husband again on Sunday morning (after you had started the half – my husband and I were walking to the start line).
        PS. Glad to hear you found your IPOD !!! =)
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Initial Thoughts on NJ Marathon (Failure)My Profile

    63. Big hugs my friend. Yesterday, when I saw your update I was so sad and I was thinking about this post that you wrote. I know how hard you’ve been working towards this. Please don’t feel the need to get over it right away. Take your time to process and for your next race, know that we are all here to cheer you on and to cheer loudly. xoxo
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Run MommyMy Profile

    64. Thanks for sharing this honest recount with us. I LOVE your positive attitude, and I have no doubt you’ll reach your goals in a future race. It’s amazing that you already have such a positive perspective after what was undoubtedly a very tough & emotional day. I especially love how you took time to reflect on all of the good things about the day, like your husband’s support. You are a huge inspiration!
      Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..My Garment-Free Experience at the FriedrichsbadMy Profile