If you're ready for me to stop talking about Gansett and move on to other topics, you'll have to wait just a wee bit longer.
After the post-race glow subsides a little, and you're able to walk up and down stairs without wincing, it's a little easier to process how things went, and figure out how you really feel about it.
And truth be told, despite what a great experience it was, I do feel a little disappointed.
I worked really, really hard these past 4 months, and until the very end, all my workouts were going so well. I was sure I'd be able to pull off a 3:38. I truly felt I was in good enough shape to do it.
There were some times of doubt, but not as much as I had going into Hartford. I was really, really nervous about Hartford. Since it was only my second marathon, and I was aiming for a nearly 30-minute PR, I had a lot to be nervous about.
But this time I really felt like my 'A' goal was going to happen. I felt pretty confident that I'd cross that finish line in less than 3 hours and 40 minutes. But, of course, I didn't.
Yes, I know I still got a really nice PR, and I displayed some serious mental toughness during those last 8 miles, and I am very proud of that.
But when you pour your heart and soul into something for 4 months, and you only have a few hours to put it to the test and make it happen, and you know full well that it's going to be a long time (in my case, another year) before you make another attempt at it, missing that goal is a little tougher to take.
As much of a toll as this training cycle took on me, and as burned out as I was, and as vehemently as I vowed to everyone I talked to that I would never again run two marathons 6 months apart, I found myself thinking yesterday that maybe I should take another crack at it this October.
But I won't. Not because I don't want to - I want that 3:38, and I don't want to wait a whole year for it - but because I know that I don't have it in me to go through that type of training again right now, and my heart wouldn't be in it 100%. And because I promised Scott (and myself) that I would not be spending this summer training for a marathon. I want to enjoy my summer and enjoy running without putting too much pressure on myself.
I still find myself trying to figure out exactly what happened Saturday; why I fell apart so badly at mile 18. I still think it was a combination of factors, and given the fact that my face was crusted with salt when I finished, I suspect that in addition to not drinking enough water, I also probably needed more electrolytes.
And I know it sounds ridiculous to complain about the fact that it was in the 60s by the time I finished, since that seems arctic compared to the temps in Boston Monday, but it was definitely warmer than what I had been used to running in, and after 18 miles, those effects are felt so much more dramatically.
I'm not offering these things up as excuses - it's just helpful for me to try to sort it all out, so that I can fix any potential problems before I do this again.
But for now, I'm going to try to not dwell on what went wrong, and focus on what went right. It was an incredible race (I don't know if any other finish line will quite compare to that one), and although I had some pretty dark moments, my overall sentiment was one of overwhelming happiness - because it was such a special race to me, and because I still managed to shave more than 2 minutes off my Hartford time.
So I'll leave the bad stuff behind and move forward. I'm actually already looking forward to running a few easy miles this weekend. No specific pace, no specific distance. Just a run. I can't wait!