2013 Philadelphia Marathon – Lesson in Not Quitting

First, I just want to give a HUGE congrats to Hallie, my “cadet” from the Saucony 26 strong team who is a marathoner!! Congratulations, Hallie!! =)

This isn’t the post I had planned on writing. I ran a 3:23:02 yesterday – almost 90 seconds slower than my PR was not how the day was supposed to unfold.

I know some runners would be more than happy with this time and I am not trying to minimize the time or sound like a spoiled child who isn’t satisfied – I know it’s a good time and that it qualifies me for Boston. But, I wasn’t trained for a 3:23. I was trained for a significantly faster time. I spent the last 3 months getting up at 4am to do tempo, interval workouts or long runs so that I could smash my PR yesterday.

The last few weeks, my mind played out the marathon with a wide range of outcomes: hitting my goal time, hitting my “dream big” time, and PR’ing were all there. 3:23 was not an outcome I anticipated.  Every long training run was at a faster pace than I finished yesterday, including a 24.4 miler (over 10 seconds faster per mile and it felt comfortable). So I was expecting to PR even on an “off” day.

Despite being exhausted last night, I couldn’t sleep. I was up til midnight just lying in bed with a sick feeling in my stomach. I’m devastated.  I know the last few months weren’t wasted but right now it definitely feels that way. It’s a huge disappointment to invest yourself completely in a goal and come up so short. It’s now 4:30am and I’m up again, unable to sleep, so I decided to get a few words down in hopes of beginning to make peace with the day.

I will do a full recap as soon as I can, but just to summarize how the day went: I started off the way I wanted through the first 30k. My pace was consistently hovering around 7:15-7:20 for almost all 18 miles (there were 3 miles that were a bit slower b/c of hills -> they were closer to 7:30-7:40).  I hit the 30k in 2:17:24 which was just where I wanted to be.

Mile 12 - So happy and feeling great!

Mile 12 – So happy and feeling great!

And then cramping began in my legs- calves and thighs – and hips around mile 21.  By mile 23, the cramping was in my stomach.  It was similar cramping to what I experienced at the NJ Marathon, the Half Ironman and the Ironman so I am beginning to think that the cramping could be a result of salt loss (I sweat a ton and am always caked in salt -> I was covered in salt by mile 17 yesterday).  I had come to the same conclusion after the Ironman but didn’t think I would need it for the marathon. But every race I’ve done this year over 13.1 miles has resulted in some sort of cramping so I will likely start experimenting with some salt tablets.

Since I do try to always take some positive from the negative, I will say this: I am really proud of myself for not quitting. Truth be told, I quit yesterday – for a few minutes. When the cramping started at mile 21, my whole world fell apart. I managed to continue to run for another mile and then I just quit. I stopped running and sat down on the sidewalk. If there had been a medical tent close by, I would have walked into it and called it a day. I sat down for a few minutes and just cried. A few spectators came over to see if I was okay and I was {this} close to asking to borrow their phone to call my husband. And I was already trying to figure out how I would get back to my husband – would I have to wait for the race to be over? Could he somehow get our car to me?

That was my low point. I cursed myself. I swore off marathons. And worst of all, I questioned myself – my determination and willpower. I hated myself more than I ever have during those few minutes because I quit. Not because I wasn’t going to hit my goal time. But because I just quit. Again. I quit the NJ Marathon in May. I quit the SI Half in October. And I had just thrown in the towel for this race.

I was tired of it. Of making excuses. I’m not a quitter. I may not be the fastest runner. Or the best racer.  But I’d like to think that I don’t quit at the first sign of things getting tough.

I thought about my little guys. My oldest son loves puzzles. He wants to do them all by himself but sometimes gets stuck and can’t seem to figure out where to put a puzzle piece. The words I often tell him kept repeating in my head “Keep trying”, “You can do it” and “Don’t give up.” I try to teach them to not give up – so why am I am so quick to? How can I tell them to not quit when I do?

It was at this point that I told myself to suck it up and forget about the finish line clock. I’ve talked about how the time on the clock shouldn’t define me. And while it’s easy to write about in the comfort of my home, it’s another thing to own it when things take a turn on race day. Just because my goal was no longer within reach doesn’t mean I should give up.  As my mom has always taught me – Actions speak louder than words.  So, I got up, changed the screen on my Garmin so I was no longer able to see my pace (I knew seeing a slower pace than I wanted would psych me out) and began a run/walk to the finish.

Certainly not the way I envisioned my goal race this fall and not even remotely close to the time I was going after. But I know that although I may not succeeded, I didn’t fail. And I didn’t quit. And for that I am grateful and proud.

philly

Smiling because it’s over

Thank you for your support along the way. I’d like to say that I am ready for some rest for the remainder of the year until triathlon training starts in January, but that would be a lie. I know I have a better time in me and may give the marathon another shot sooner rather than later. Will keep you guys posted =)

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I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    71 thoughts on “2013 Philadelphia Marathon – Lesson in Not Quitting

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    4. You are inspiring!! You are a great running, racer, mother, wife! Everyone has a time when things don’t happen the way you want. But hey, now you know more about yourself and what you may need on race day or days leading up to race day. I’ve never been in this situation before, because I haven’t ran a marathon. But I am sure I will soon find out when I start training soon for a marathon in spring or early summer! I look forward to reading more about the tips you have!
      Tara@PNWRunner recently posted..Hustle like RussellMy Profile

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    6. Oh Michele. I think that everyone before me has said it well but you continue to inspire me. I can imagine how hard it was not to quit and how disappointed you are in coming short of your goal. But I think that you gutting it out shows an incredible strength of character, one that I know that you kids will take so much from. xoxo

    7. Congrats to you! I had just a similar situation this past weekend at the Richmond marathon. I had something I have never had happen to me before in training happen during the race: hamstring lock down. Like you I was up at 4am doing long runs, tempos, etc getting ready and putting in the time and effort for a much better time than I ended up racing. I told myself I did not come there to take a DNF or give up and I scaled back and endured the longest second 14 miles of my life while I cursed why did this happen etc. In the end, I am working on chalking it up to the “runner’s woes” aka stuff happens and it sucks it happened that day right? You’ll get back into Boston :)

    8. I can relate to this on so many levels. I’m not as fast as you (3:30marathonPR) but I can relate to wanting to quit when you’re not on pace or where you thought you should be. I’m super competitive (and I’m guessing you are as well) and you should be proud for picking yourself up and continuing! Meb would be proud:-)
      BTW – I came here from RunToTheFinish
      Allie recently posted..Allie’s Arms – The TrifectaMy Profile

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    10. You are amazing!!!!! I know EXACTLY what you are going through. In every single way I undertstand how you are feeling! You are incredible for not giving up, and I know now just how much willpower it takes to run through that, especially when you have such high goals!!!!

      Please, as everyone keeps telling me, do not beat yourself up! I realized it yesterday when people who are not runners said to me “you ran a marathon? Congratulations!” At first I was confused…..I haven’t even told you my time, but then I realized that it is an accomplishment to even run one, and especially to push through when you feel THAT BAD! And the same goes to you. You should be more proud of yourself than ever! It is downs like this where we really learn how strong we are, and on Sunday you proved that you are an incredibly strong woman!!!! Be proud!
      Tina Muir recently posted..The Marathon Part IMy Profile

    11. Oh my friend, I feel your disappointment… although I didn’t even make it to race day, and I’m sure that was even more frustrating to be there and not have it go the way you planned. I hope you get a second chance at the marathon! I’m still considering it as well- not sure if it’s going to workout but it is SO hard to put all this time into training and not have it work out. So glad you did finish, and you were able to see some positives.. and I hope you can make peace with this! Thinking of you!!
      Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Celebrating the marathon that wasn’tMy Profile

    12. Michele,
      The thing I love about running is that we can learn so many lessons from it and apply those to our lives! It is so great to read your blog and see that you are honest about all of your struggles- when you quit races in the past, when you didn’t meet a goal time you trained for, when you had to sacrifice time to train for a huge event like IronMan. Being vulnerable and honest about all parts of our lives with one another is what connects us. And, I’m so grateful I can see that in your life even though I’ve never met you! So keep being you and doing what you do. It is more than an inspiration…its an encouragement to all women out there.
      Danielle recently posted..Expression of OpinionMy Profile

    13. Congrats on finishing the race! Each life experience that we have teaches us something. This race,as disappointing as it was for you, taught you that when the going gets tough…you are tougher. Don’t let this get you down. You are still so much faster with leg cramps than I could dream of being on my best day. Pat yourself on the back!

    14. Michele you are still an inspiration to us all, and I am glad that you did not quit and was able to finish.

      I too am a very heavy sweater and I was covered in salt when I had finished the Philly marathon as well.

      The weather was deceiving in the morning since it felt cool out but the humidity was way up there for us so I carried saltstick with me and started to take them after the 10k mark and every 5k after that. It helped me from cramping up which was an issue for me as well in past marathons, def give them a try. I of course had gels and cliff shot blocks with me as well

      I started to use saltstick caps this past summer and it had definitely helped in training and in my last 3 marathons in the past month I know it will help you to, there are a variety of brands that makes salt tablets but after doing a lot of research myself and reading up on blog, forum, etc I went with these.

      I know you will smash your PR sooner than later in the marathon but for now I say rest up, enjoy the holidays and may 2014 bring you much success in obtaining all your goals
      -Love ya, I wanna give you hug too :)
      -John

    15. I just wrote a similar post. It was not our day. I wish I had known. I would have run to the other side of the road to give you a hug. I needed a hug. Sounds like you could have used one too. This is a really hard experience for me to go through and I sense you are going through a similar situation. How are you feeling today? I think I am pushing to set my sights on the next race. It will come, we will win out in the end.
      Stephanie recently posted..When the Run is NOT Fun – Philadelphia Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

    16. I am a MUCH slower runner than you, but I can definitely recommend using Saltstick caps for the win. I started them in the summer (Florida summer is special) and I continue to use them a bit here and there, especially because we never lost summer yet, it’s still in the 80’s.

      I appreciate your honesty. It is one thing to talk about time not being as important as “the journey” or what not, but when we get right down to it…when you train for time, missing the time is miserable. I’m the in the position where I had a great “journey” but never made it to the start line due to various problems.
      Holly recently posted..Sunday…My Profile

    17. OMG I almost thought I actually wrote this myself! I was trained for a much faster time and my legs just gave out on me yesterday. It started at mile 8 for me and I, too, thought about quitting. I agree with you and am proud to have fought through for the finish.

    18. Amazing! You are amazing! I hear you all the way one this one!!!!! Even though the time may be great…if it is not what you trained for, it is disappointing! You didn’t quit though and THAT makes you a winner to me and an example to all of us :)! The marathon is just one killer race and there are so many factors that go into it.
      I totally understand wanting to go at it sooner than later…I did! :). I ran a 3:45 at Kansas City and was pretty much crushed. My PR was 3:36 and in that training I did pretty much no speed or tempo work at all. This time I did speed and tempo runs every week and nailed most of them. I felt like I had trained for at least a 3:25 but more like a 3:15-3:20. 2 weeks later I did Indianapolis in 3:30 and loved every second of it!!!! I pretty much knew a 3:20 wouldn’t happen so soon after a hard marathon but I wanted to go for a PR of 3:30 and was able to do it. I would check your electrolytes too….maybe try carrying a small handheld with an electrolyte drink in it….
      I never usually carry a handheld but for Indianapolis I carried a small Nathan because I was afraid I wasn’t fully rehydrated and it didn’t bother me at all. I had decided ahead of time if it bothered me I would just toss it.
      I am super proud of you…keep your head up! You are an amazing example of perserverance :)
      Jen@milesandblessings recently posted..After a marathon….funny!My Profile

    19. I’ve been having the same cramping problem, not that I’m as speedy as you, I’m just trying to break four hours! But I tired a salt pill at my last marathon at the beginning of Nov. and it definitely seemed to stave off the cramps for an extra few miles. Like you I sweat a TON, the clif shot blocks in margarita flavor seem to help as well, they even say “cramp buster” on the package! Hang in there i’m sure you’ll reach your goals and beyond soon!

    20. I’m the slower 1/2 of @TwinsRun and I can relate to your post. I trained to BQ (3:45) and gave it my all in Chicago. I was on target until mile 16 – and then I got sick, started to walk and wanted to quit. I kept moving – slowly – through the exhaustion and the disappointment. I summoned up the strength to run the final 3 miles and finished in 4:04:21. I was hoping to redeem myself in Philly with a PR (4:00) or maybe even a BQ. But, I started off too fast and then by mile 16 I was just exhausted. This time, I didn’t torment myself with disappointment and I was able to enjoy the process of running the final 10.2 miles. I ran the entire distance but l finished 4:04:40. Ouch. Lessons learned this time – I hope! :-)
      @TwinsRun recently posted..The Lemon RunMy Profile

    21. If it makes you feel any better (and I know it probably won’t), I had a less than stellar performance at Richmond on Saturday. I went into the race with 18 stellar weeks of training and was mentally and physically prepared to run under 3:25. But a variety of circumstances led to me almost missing the start entirely and ending up at the back of the pack. I spent the first 10K bobbing and weaving and trying to get back to where I needed to be. That pretty much ruined me for the end of the race. I still ran a BQ qualifier at 3:31, but I felt so frustrated at not being able to run to my full potential. So, I’m right with you! I’m trying to stay positive and remember that finishing a marathon is a huge accomplishment in itself. And it’s just a race. That’s all. There are far more important things in life. But I know how you feel!
      Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Veni, Vidi, ViciMy Profile

    22. I love THIS: “it’s another thing to own it when things take a turn on race day.” You owned it on race day. I am so proud of you that you set aside the finish time and went for the finish line. Run/Walking the last few miles of a goal race hurts (I did that just a month ago), but quitting hurts more. hugs.
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Beginning Barre: My first barre classMy Profile

    23. I just wanted to let you know that I ran Philly yesterday, too. Reading your post was like I wrote it myself. I also got a time that I trained much better for. All of my training runs (even runs over 22 miles) were to easily run a 3:30, even on a bad day. During the race, I felt like I did everything right… and then I hit the 30k mark too. By mile 21 I completely fell apart (mentally and physically). The last 5 miles were like a death march for me. I was honestly surprised I got myself to the finish line because I was so mad at myself for crumbling. However, around mile 24 I too made the decision to not let the clock define me. Needless to say, although I am disappointed in myself, I’m more upset that I let myself feel that way. I’m trying to just be proud that I didn’t quit. I completely understand how you’re feeling. You will grab that PR next time :)

    24. I just want to hug you after reading this. I would kill for your time, but I get what you’re saying – YOU could have done better. I don’t consider you ungrateful or whiny or anything negative at all. I think you’re an inspiration and I extra appreciate the vulnerability you exposed through writing this post. Thank you for sharing.

      And if you decided to tackle another marathon this year, we’ll all be cheering you on!!! :)
      Heather @ Heather Getting Fit! recently posted..Cautiously OptimisticMy Profile

    25. Everyone has a bad day. I know you know this!

      I am super sweater, and at times, it makes it very, very difficult training in Houston in the summer. To cope, I started taking Thermotabs salt pills on recommendation of my old triathlon coach (super Ironman that he is). I take 2-4 30-60 minutes before running, then try to pop a couple every 60 minutes or so. I think it has helped a TON! Maybe worth a try. You can get them dirt cheap on amazon.
      Crystal@TheFastFitRunner recently posted..My Breastfeeding Manifesto (an F-U to breastfeeding bullies)My Profile

    26. Yes, not quitting is HUGE! I’m sorry things did not go as planned and I do not think you at all sound spoiled for being disappointed/ mad at the whole thing. I’ve been there and know exactly what emotions you are feeling! When I realized (around mi 22 of my marathon 2 weeks ago) that I wouldn’t be able to go sub 3 I was crushed. I had trained for that time. My workouts and other race times indicated I could run that but the marathon is a BEAST and like you said- anything can happen. I was disappointed but I know I will get my time. You WILL come back and have a better race. Maybe try out some new fueling strategies? And I might sound like a broken record on this- and it may be the LAST thing you want to hear or do but have you considered finding another marathon in 5-8 weeks? I know most “normal” runners relish the break but in the off chance you are like me- I do better when I put myself back out there fairly soon. Hours after I crossed the line 2 weeks ago I was planning my epic sub 3 comeback which happens to be in 19 days in Memphis. (5 weeks between marathons.) I am counting my Springfield race as a training run now that it’s over and I survived.

      Anyway, you might be ready for a different distance/ goal. Just thought I’d throw that out there! Get some rest and don’t be too hard on yourself. You FINISHED and there are some races where that’s the best we can do. :-)
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..A New 10K PR- Running With My Mini Me…My Profile

    27. I think its pretty awesome that you sat down for a few minutes, did walk/run at the end and were only 90 seconds from you PR?? Thats pretty freakin awesome to me! That should prove just how fast you were going- your training totally paid off! Have you considered just going and having your electrolytes checked? Maybe set it up for after a long run to see how low some have gotten. Potassium is a big contributor to muscle cramps.
      I had an issue with cramping and once we ruled out electrolyte imbalance was told to drink 8oz of tonic water because it has quinine in it and no more cramping! Good luck!

    28. I’m so sorry your race didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped.

      I ran a half marathon last weekend that didn’t go the way I’d trained for either. I had stomach issues that kept me from refueling and hydrating the way I needed, and I ran out if gas for the last 5k. I wanted to stop, but I kept going.

      Like you, I’m trying not to think of my race as a failure (I still PR’d but it was way off from my training paces) but rather a triumph of determination.

      I like what you wrote about the safety of writing your mental approach to a race from home, but being another story applying it on race day. Amen to that.

    29. I had the same problem during my marathon with stomach cramps. During training it happened as well. Anything over 13.1 led to vomiting in the shower after my run (or during) & doubling over in pain dry heaving (gross). I didn’t have this problem during my last marathon so I can’t figure out what is different!

      You rocked it yesterday. I know it’s not what you were wanting but the fact that you did not give up when you were so close to doing so speaks volumes about you. You are so incredibly inspiring!!!!

    30. You are amazingly strong!

      I can understand your frustration and disappointment. I was training all year for sub-4 at Hartford and had a DNF due to cramping. It started at the onset and was unbearable. Cried a lot leaving the course. I ran NYCM as a training run and didn’t think it would take as long to recover as it has…running another marathon 12/8 but really think sub 4 is out of grasp for this year. As I walked off at Hartford all I kept saying to myself was 17 weeks of hard training…and this was what happened. Its tough to swallow but the marathon sure is an unpredictable beast. Anything can happen.
      Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted..NYCM – Nothing ComparesMy Profile

    31. Oh Michele! I feel your sadness. It’s so hard to put in all that time and training and knowing that you feel great right up until race day is so frustrating. Then you have ONE day to hope that it all comes together. When I didn’t finish Steamtown a few weeks ago that was the thing I had the hardest time understanding…4.5 months of solid training to result in nothing. I wanted to quit at mile 20 yesterday too. I ran/walked until I got to that finish because I too decided I was not a quitter. Congratulations to you! You should still be proud even though it doesn’t feel good. I’m working on that too!! xoxoxo
      Kristin recently posted..Philadelphia Marathon GoalsMy Profile

    32. thank you for writing this and sharing your feelings. I truly believe you may not even realize how many people you are helping with it {myself included}, so in a weird way maybe that was your purpose for this race it was bigger than the clock like you said. I know the disappointment will sting for awhile because I’ve been there and I know that you are in fact stronger than this race so I can’t wait to stand up and cheer when it happens!! Love you woman!!!

      I know I tweeted it to you, but I really do swear by SaltStick tablets. I started using them because I sweat a lot too and was getting debilitating calf cramps. I take one before and sometimes one during, but usually just before and as soon as i cross the finish.
      Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Post juice cleanse thoughts: Juice Cleanse GiveawayMy Profile

    33. You pushed through and that is SOO important. Giving up is easy- moving forward when all you want to do is stop–takes courage and strength, very proud that you continued on.

      I’ve been there, had a VERY similar experience a few years ago. I was physically trashed and mentally destroyed– but you know what? It was the race I learned the most from. Not only did I learn the most from it but I always look back and use that race as fuel. I pushed forward and finished, wanted to die… but I did it. Use this- live and learn from it…and let it be a reminder that you are strong and pushed on even when it got really hard.
      Laura @losingrace recently posted..I can see clearly now…My Profile

    34. I’m so sorry that your race didn’t go as planned… But you finished, and that is amazing in itself… Your time is nothing to be ashamed of!!! Great job! I hope that you are able to figure out your salt issues so that you can meet your goal time soon!!! You can do it!!!

    35. My heart breaks for you! I know all too well how you feel. Hearing people say “But you finished a marathon, that’s amazing” doesn’t quite cut it anymore. The finishline isn’t the same when you’ve been there multiple times in the past! But know, that you truly are an inspiration to others and that not meeting you goal time just picked someone else up off the sidewalk to continue their journey that didn’t go as they planned either. You are an amazing runner and an amazing role model. I have no doubts that your goal time is to come! Keep fighting! XOXO

    36. We love you Michele! I am very proud of you–your actions speak volumes about your character. I look to you not just for friendship but training advice. I learn just as much from these posts as I do from when you hit your goals (which always exceed my wildest expectations for myself..). You are a huge insipration to me and I really wish I could give you a hug right now. I am so proud to call you my friend. I am so honored to say I served with you. Thinking of you–

    37. Nothing I can say will make you feel better on your time…but way to keep going on this! You didn’t quit and that is so important…so important to us as females, working moms, and multi-tasking geniuses :o)

      Pat yourself on the back and keep it moving…you finished it, that’s all that matters. When I did Philly, I ran it in 4:30…I can’t imagine in less than 4 hours but you did, so congratulations!!

    38. I am so glad that you didn’t quit and you got through this race, even when you wanted to quit. that truly speaks volumes, and while I know you are really disappointed, I am equally glad that you aren’t tossing aside your accomplishments, because you are an incredible athlete and I can speak for myself and many many other readers here, that you inspire and motivate so many of us, hundreds, thousands. SO SO many. Tomorrow is a new day. XO
      Jolene recently posted..A day of silver linings.My Profile

    39. I think you hit the nail on the head. Salt depletion can be debilitating.
      If only you could carry warm broth with you. =) While I can see how disappointed you are feeling through reading your post I can also see how resilient you are…There’s no doubt your time goal race is coming.=) You are an inspiration to so many….and what a great accomplishment to go from “surrenderer” to “finisher”!!!!
      Sally @ sweat out the small stuff recently posted..A walk to rememberMy Profile

    40. Yesterday, in the FB post, it was so hard to know what to say to your mixed news– the disappointment of not making goal, but the rockin’ refusal to quit.

      You ARE a strong runner. And you are an even stronger WOMAN!

      (Beautifully written blog too– thanks for putting it out there. )

    41. Michele – you truly are an inspiration. As you know, racing (espically the marathon) can be unpredictable. You can train for months and months and then on race day, everything can change. Weather, your body, the race course ect all are factors that are out of your control. The things that you could control, you did. You finished and did not quit. Life is full of uncontrollable factors that can have huge effects on us, but you learn from them and move on.

      I had a very similar experience last December in the Jacksonville FL marathon that I trained for. I trained for a 3:10 and ended up with a 3:35. Total bummer. I still haven’t built up the confidence to train for another marathon and its been almost a year, so good for you for wanting to attack another one soon. You did awesome in your race and I was tracking you the whole way! Stay Strong.
      Marissa recently posted..Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Half MarathonMy Profile

    42. You are amazing Michele and a true inspiration to us all! I thought about you yesterday and was hoping to spot you on the course so I could cheer you on! I ran Philly yesterday as well – just 5 weeks after pr’ing big time at the Steamtown Marathon. I have been dealing with a foot injury for the past two weeks and wasn’t even sure I would run yesterday at all. The humidity was brutal and the crowded course and additional body heat didn’t help. My pace was strong for the first 13 miles but mentally, I just wasn’t feeling it. When I saw the signs for the half marathon turn-off, all I wanted to do was follow them and finish at the half. It took every pounce of willpower to convince myself to keep going. My foot started hurting at mile 15 so I just decided to forget about my pace and just focus on finishing. I didn’t PR, but I’m proud of myself for not quitting and I’m proud of you for not giving up either!

    43. You rock, Michele. I am so proud of you for gutting it out when the going got so tough. And I also understand how disappointed you are. I know you didn’t run the race you wanted, but take the lessons from it–the answer can be found in there somewhere.

      Funny story–I ran Phila. years ago and had a terrible race. I “quit” too and sat down at mile 23. A guy came by and asked if I wanted to finish to which I replied no. Eventually, though, I got up and finished. Something about that last stretch of Phila. I guess!
      misszippy1 recently posted..I took option DNFMy Profile

    44. You are amazingly strong for not quitting when things got tough. Sometimes our children can be our best teachers so it is great that your son gave you the motivation to keep going. You will find the right balance of nutrition to help your body through these longer distances. I too am a “heavy sweater” during races so I have been working on taking in a lot more salt and potassium in the days leading up to the race and have discovered that I really do need to take in gatorade (or whatever they offer) during the race to keep my electrolytes in balance to help stop the cramping.

      Your race experience is inspiring to others and a great learning experience for you and others too. Thank you for sharing your story and try not to be too hard on yourself. Hugs!
      Sandra Laflamme recently posted..#Sponsored Fresh Recipe: Pomegranate Banana Wheatgrass Smoothie with Pines Organic WheatgrassMy Profile

    45. I’m so sorry that the race didn’t turn out the way you wanted to, I think it is especially painful when you train so long and so hard, and are so dedicated. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to feel the disappointment, even if it would be a fast time for other people. Take the time to feel it and acknowledge it, it doesn’t help to deny it and bury it.

      And then take the frustrating and channel it into your next training cycle.
      Victoria recently posted..Fall Racing Lessons LearnedMy Profile

    46. You did amazingly to continue on despite the cramping and should be exceptionally proud of yourself.

      I bailed on a half marathon on Sunday at mile 9 due to hip problems and cramping so know the mental turmoil you went through and am so pleased you carried on anyway.

      I never thought I would bail on a race I have always thought I would crawl to the end if need be but it’s very different at the time. For me reading your recaps on New Jersey and Staten Island races reminded me that no one has a perfect race 100% of the time.

      You inspire so many people and there will be a point in the future when one of your readers will be in the same situation and will think of you and carry on. Although your goals/hopes/dreams/race is personal by sharing it with others you are inspiring them.

      You should be exceptionally proud of yourself for carrying on. You know you can do faster and your time will come when you run a faster race but for now you should celebrate what is still amazingly fast time and you overcame the pain to finish.

    47. I know the race wasn’t what you expected or wanted, but good for you for pushing through. That’s what makes you a smart and amazing runner – pushing through the adversity and coming out on the other side prouder and stronger.
      Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian recently posted..Fun Run WeekendMy Profile

    48. You are so much faster than me so take my advice as worthless but I think a marathon is too short to be impacted by salt tablets taken during the race. I would look to up your potassium and magnesium and possibly sodium in the days before the marathon to prevent cramping. So the days before drink pedialyte or gatorade (not straight water) and really eat vitamin rich foods the week before (apricots, sweet potatoes etc).

      Also maybe take a tablet or two before the race. That’s just my guess because I can’t imagine that it could be metabolized fast enough to impact your performance during a 3 hour race.

      Great job not quitting!
      Amy recently posted..Harriet Anderson – that’s who motivates me this MondayMy Profile

      • Amy, thank you so much for your comment. I think you may be right. After writing this post this morning, I chatted with another friend and I think in an effort to eat so healthy for the marathon (during taper), I eliminate all the foods that have worked for me during training. I have never had an issue during training when I am eating foods that I want (which usually include a ton of salt!). I ate a ton of carbs (which I’m glad I did) but barely used any salt in the days leading up to the race.
        I think I will do much more salt in the days leading up (like you said) and maybe 1 or 2 before and then just keep a few with me for during the marathon as a “just in case” plan.
        Thank you so much for your feedback – I really appreciate it!
        nycrunningmama recently posted..2013 Philadelphia Marathon – Lesson in Not QuittingMy Profile

    49. Michele:

      Yday was my first marathon. As soon as I hit mile 14 I started looking for you to call out because I knew how bad you wanted this race. I did see you but you had your ear buds in & you looked so strong I didn’t want to distract you.
      What a great lesson in perseverance!
      I was hoping for a sub 4:30 and crossed in 4:31. I ran without stopping until miles 23 when I had to do a run/walk for the next 3 miles because my feet were so sore I could feel blisters popping. Nothing can prepare you for what happens on race day!
      Congrats on finishing.

    50. Sometimes not quitting is the greatest accomplishment you can have. Congrats on sticking it out. Anyone can finish a perfect run but it takes a great person to finish a bad run. You will get that goal time! Enjoy your day of being a princes :)
      Runner girl Eats recently posted..A Perfect Fall WeekendMy Profile

    51. Awww I’m so sorry you didn’t get the time you had hoped for! I know how hard it can be to work for something so hard and then not reach what you wanted! You are awesome that you finished and didn’t quit when it would have been easy! You will get your PR!! I know it!! Keep your head up and know that you are setting an amazing example for your boys by not quitting and keeping a smile on your face!!
      Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..Weekly Recap: 11/11 – 11/17My Profile

    52. You are amazing and you are definitely NOT a quitter. I do believe that in training and races if you don’t even let your brain think about quitting than it know it isn’t an option. You’ll have your dream race. Even if you didn’t get the time you wanted all that training certainly has helped you progress as a runner and will help with Ironman training. Hang in there
      Shannon @ Mon Amour recently posted..The Thrill of the Chase: Why I Like to RaceMy Profile

    53. You inspire so many people through not just your races, but also how you are out there every day working your butt off training. Congrats on finishing despite feeling awful, and I for one can’t wait to see what you do next!

    54. I’m proud of you for finishing and can completely understand. That is a great time and you are right, but when it isn’t the time you are trained for it get’s so frustrating. I know you will get that 3:10 and maybe we can find a marathon to run together late Spring (I am thinking the NJ if I decide for a spring marathon) with a 3:10 goal time. Finishing this marathon was no feat and congrats.
      Hollie recently posted..Training for NothingMy Profile

    55. Wow I can’t imagine all the pain you must have been running through with your stomach and legs to then continue running. That takes a lot of mental and physical strength and you have to be proud of finishing despite it all. Same issues happened to me in my last marathon and I was super upset about how it unfoded. I’m determined to fight the source of why my legs hit the wall before I did so I don’t have to go through it again. Congratulations and be proud of yourself it’s a huge accomplishment!

    56. Michelle – You are an inspiration to the rest of us, never forget that! Problem solving the reasons for the cramping you endure is something you will solve and then move forward. That you picked yourself up off the ground and got back on the course was a good thing and even with all of the problems you encountered along the way, you were within striking distance of your PR say what kind of shape you are really in and who you are.

      You just finished a marathon at a sub 8:00 minute pace inspite of cramping, give your body a little bit to recover before you jump back on the marathon horse, it is more important to run well again next year, than to prove to yourself you can run a 3:10 marathon this year and end up injured and not have a good next year due to the lingering fatigue and/or possible injury that tend to happen to us runners who tend to do too much.

      I know that you can and will meet your goals – patience is the key. This is advice is from someone who doesn’t have any patience and would be thinking the same damn thing as what you are going to do.

      If you do go where I have a feeling you will, listen to your body and if it says no – well try listen. :-)
      Michelle recently posted..Inspiring 10.0 Mile Training Run – RunLog 11-17-13My Profile