When Almost Everything Goes Wrong

I was all set up for this Marine Corps Marathon to be my big BQ. My training was going great, and I felt faster than ever.

Then, the ol’ IT band flared up.

Then, I developed a new injury–piriformis soreness. (Try saying that three times fast.)

In the process of stretching and rehabbing that, I managed to give myself another uncomfortable health problem that may or may not affect my performance this weekend.

Oh–and have you seen the forecast for Sunday?

Today has been one of those comically bad days–take car to get inspection, realize I don’t have updated insurance cards or registration in the vehicle, can’t find said materials at home, go through much stress to obtain them, then discover my car will need $400 worth of work to pass–and I’m thinking, “These Murphy’s Law days don’t come around that often, right? (Knock wood.) Maybe now Sunday won’t be so bad? (Knock wood.)”

But even if everything does go wrong, so what?

I’ve learned, in my limited marathon experience, that sometimes, everything just goes wrong. You can train great for 16 weeks, then get bronchitis. You can go into a race with the intention of having fun, go out too hard for the conditions, and have very little fun for a very long time. You can somehow think running two marathons in two weeks is a good idea.

But I’ve also learned that sometimes, when you’re expecting the least, you see the best results. Both times I ran Big Sur, I went in thinking, “This is a hard course. I’ll just do the best I can,” and both times, I did much better than I thought I could. When I ran my PR, my only pre-race goal was to run smart and not be miserable too early. I succeeded, and ran fast.

If Sunday goes well, great. If I fall apart, it’s happened before, and I’ve gotten through it. There’s always another marathon, and I’ve started to enjoy the training enough not to mind spending another 16 weeks  building up to another day during which everything might go wrong.




About Meghan Loftus

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