I have to tell you that my experience at this year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon was one of the best overall race experiences I have ever day.
The people I trained with, both on the pavement, and ‘virtually’, were the best group I have ever trained with. My own dedication to the goal was stronger than ever, and my support system was solid. Even through the stress of tax season and the drama of moving, I was committed, I was focused.
BMO Vancouver Marathon 2012 was going to be the race where I finally got my marathon time under the 4 hour mark. And I did it. Even if it was only with 25 seconds to space, my marathon time starts with a 3, and that was my goal.
So why do I feel so let down?
After achieving something that I have worked so hard for, after reaching a goal that I set over 2 years ago, you would think I would be over the moon and full of excitement & a sense of accomplishment. But I’m not.
Don’t get me wrong, I was. On race day it was all I could do to not sit there and cry my eyes out every 2 minutes over the sheer relief that it was done.
But it wasn’t long after crossing the finish line and finding out that I Had done it, that the sparkle started to fade.
Within half an hour of finishing, my focus had shifted to everyone else. It shifted to the text messages coming in from Kathryn, who was still out on the course struggling. The focus became supporting her and getting her across that finish line. The focus became Jess and confirming that she crossed the finish line after what happened last year. The focus became Skye and her half marathon results, as well as her awesome road side cheering squad. Within half an hour of reaching a goal I had been working towards for over 2 years, the focus shifted to everyone else.
An hour after I finished, I was with Skye at her roadside cheering station. I left my things with her and, after she lifted me up of my temporary sidewalk cheering post, I started to ‘walk’ down the street towards Kathryn (& her security detail). This girl had worked so hard to get herself to this point, and I wanted with all my heart to be there with her at the finish line. So, I wandered down the street, a little at a time, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I stopped to rest a couple of times on the walk down there. Then I saw her, running towards me, all smiles, having the time of her life. I ‘ran’ along side her, taking over for the security detail, and encouraged her around the last corner by pulling my medal out of my hoodie and saying “come and get it, you want one of this? it’s just around the corner”. It was the ultimate carrot on a stick. Then as we neared the finish line, I pulled all the way left so that she was alone in those all import finish line photos.
After she crossed the finish line, and got a kiss from her man, she informed me that a trip to the medical tent was required. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but if you really want to see what went down, click this. Let’s just say the poor girls feet needed some help!
Next, plans were made to crash Kathryn’s celebratory lupper (lunch/supper) with Run Buddy Matt, who was also a first time marathon finisher. But before we did that, Skye & I present Kathryn with a present to commemorate her big accomplishment. We had picked one up for Jess to, but she had been whisked away to the ferry by her family, so we didn’t get to see her at the finish line! The gift was from Sporty Jewels. We had picked it up at the race expo the night before. It was a collection of 3 pendants to wear on a necklace, a coloured stone, a heart-shaped pendant engraved with the word “Love” and then a 42.2 (26.2 for Jess, since she thinks in miles) pendant. I remember after my first marathon, I had wanted so badly for someone to commemorate it for me with a Sporty Jewels bracelet with similar charms, but no one did. I ended up buying it for myself.
After lupper was done, I headed ‘home’ to my friend’s place for the evening, but not before Jon & I gave Damian a ride to the ferry so he could get home.
The next day, I headed back in to Vancouver, back to the finish line, and there was absolutely no sign of it. All evidence of the thousands of runners who had been there just 24 hours earlier was wiped clean, and it was just a typical Monday in a busy city. The rest of my stay in Vancouver was pretty similar. All evidence of my first ever sub 4hr marathon was gone.
By the time I got home from my extended stay in Vancouver, even more evidence of the marathon was erased. All the aches & pains were gone, and I was feeling back to normal. And then, by the time I went back to work a full week after the marathon, it was as if it never happened. I had worked for two and a half years to achieve something, and it was as if it never happened.
Life slowly returned to routine, and other than the occasional chats with run buddies, the marathon is nothing but a memory.
For half an hour after crossing the finish line I was full of joy & pride. My phone was blowing up with texts & tweets & Facebook messages congratulating me. I even got a few phone calls! (Seriously, people still make phone calls? ) For half an hour, my accomplishment meant something to someone other than myself. But after that it has felt as if it never happened, like it didn’t matter.
I really don’t know what I expected, but this certainly isn’t it.
Maybe I expected a gift from my mom when she picked me up from the ferry on the way home? Maybe I expected someone to send flowers, or take me out to dinner to congratulate me? Maybe I expected it to matter as much to the people in my life as it did to me? Maybe I expected too much?
There are specific things that I could pinpoint that upset me. The absence of congratulations from specific people, the lack of celebration, the lack of acknowledgement. But I think it is just a case of all those things adding up, and then some.
Tonight, as this blog update is posted to the website, I will be entertaining Skye, Jess & Kathryn at my place. I’ve invited them over to celebrate Jess’s first marathon finish and give her the gift we got her, because we didn’t get to see her at the finish line. The thing is, I can’t help thinking “I wish I had friends like me”. I wish I had someone in my life who went out of their way to celebrate me achievement, I wish someone else thought my first sub 4hr marathon was worth commemorating.
I once told myself that if I ran a marathon under 4 hours, I never had to run another marathon again. That is how unreachable I thought this goal was.
So now that I’ve reached it, why doesn’t it feel like I thought it would, and what do I do next?