As runners, we set our sights on certain goal races each year. Trying to achieve a personal record (PR) in a race is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. If you have trained hard and done all the work necessary to make the PR happen, good for you. But, unfortunately there are things you can't control on race day. I observed many runners on Sunday have both great races and disappointing ones. But missing that PR does not mean that you had a bad race. On the contrary, sometimes our best fought battles in adverse conditions will make the next PR attempt happen with ease. The conditions for racing on Sunday included warmer temps than normal and 90% humidity. Some runners thrive in these conditions and others wilt. Personally I find heat and humidity stifling when I run, so cold weather races are my favorites.
How you handle a missed PR or goal time after a race can be the most challenging thing a runner has to do. No one has a perfect racing year so there is bound to be a race or two that you would like to have as a "do over". My do over race from last year is the Marine Corps Marathon. I still look back on that race with some disappointment, but more due to my lack of pre race knowledge than my actual performance. Making a tactical error where I lined up to race was a mistake. However, this was a great learning experience and I will now always research every aspect of a race so this hopefully will never happen again.
Most runners need a few weeks to get over a performance that did not meet their expectations. The first few days you will deal with many highs, lows and a sore body which is not very helpful after a long training cycle for a half or full marathon. But here's the thing. You probably need to spend this time resting your body and figuring out what race you want to run next as redemption. Just last year, we saw a blogging friend Jen have a miserable day at the NYC Marathon and then crush her local marathon two weeks later. I am not suggesting that is the right course of action for every runner, but she had trained really well for NYC and handled the nearly back to back marathons with ease. Her redemption race turned into a huge PR race and happiness all around!
One of the greatest things about running is that there is always another race and another chance. Each race teaches us so many things and future goals can be met from those experiences. Let's try to celebrate those less than perfect races for what they are, a way to learn from our mistakes.
Did you ever have a bad race? Did you run another for redemption?