The 2012 San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was my worst race ever. This race was far worse than just my worst marathon. I only have a sample size of 3 of those. I mean the 2012 SA marathon was my worst race compared to 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, fun runs and full marathons. It was that bad.
I think what made this race so bad was a multitude of factors. Jenn and I both came in worn down from our last marathon which was only two weeks and one day behind us. On top of that I had been nursing a slightly bruised foot mixed with a touch of plantar fasciitis. Jenn brought a full blown head cold to the race. By the time we finished the race we were desperately hurting.
Not only were the Faulk’s somewhat of walking wounded coming in, several factors on the race course contributed to our downfall. We started in a chorale of marathoners, half marathoners, half marathon relayers and 5k runners. The Rock and Roll group was attempting to put on a race for all 4 groups at the same time. I have heard it said that an organization can only do one thing well. This was true of our race. Rock ‘n’ Roll put on an incredible half marathon. From the moment that we left the starting line to the moment we separated from the pack there was race support, fan support and excitement. Then we hit mile eleven when crowded streets separated and Jenn and I were left to lonely second half of the race. As we passed by mile eleven I remember a woman cheering, “keep it up, your almost there.” Jokingly I looked over at her and asked if I was almost there. She said, “Oh no, not you”. From that point on we fought miles of unshaded streets and water check points that were pretty sparse. That said, we made it. 26.2 came, we crossed the finish line to a race crew that had already celebrated the elite marathoners and hordes of half marathoners. As we crossed the finish line, at a time far below the cut off, we were met by a race crew that was packing up. The headline concert: over, photographers: gone, all the post race goodies: picked through. Rock ‘n’ Roll put on a stellar half marathon. I just wish that the full wasn’t an afterthought to them.
I struggled to complete this race. It was my worst race so far. All of this bemoaning aside, I think this was my greatest accomplishment as well. When I look back at my races, I struggle to remember the easy ones. I don’t remember the ones that I sailed through. The races I remember are the ones I had to dig deep to get through. My greatest accomplishments are the things that take the most out of me.
Was this the worst race of my life? Yes! I was ready to quit at mile 8. Jenn and I both are more proud of pushing through injury, discouragement and a lonely second half to finish in our worst time ever than we are of any other race we have run.
Here is the simple lesson I learned yesterday, if it’s easy, it’s not an accomplishment. An accomplishment is only achieved when it cost you dearly.