A Really Bad Marathon Story

I ran a really shitty marathon this weekend. I’m not even sure I was running at the end. It was so bad I didn’t even think I had races that bad anymore — at least not in the last two years, not since this whole getting fast thing.

It was good for a bit over half. Then things got ugly and rough and I started to slip off pace. And, the thing was, I just didn’t have any fight. People talk about races being all about ‘learning to suffer,’ but to me they’re really about learning to fight for every goddamn step. And when it was time to fight and focus on Sunday, I didn’t. Then, I tried to hang in there for a bit until I wasn’t even really hanging on at all anymore, and I basically quit. I only finished because that was the fastest way back to the car, though at some point when you’re shuffling and throwing up does that even count?





I’ve been wallowing and off the internet most of the last few days, which hasn’t been hard since I’m basically just laying on the couch, sleeping, and crying randomly. I started sobbing today while trainering and watching (again) the pilot for Sports Night. Then, that lasted for three episodes, all of which I had seen before.

The thing that’s been eating at me is what if I’ve just been faking it for two years, what if this kind of return to being a basket case was inevitable, what if I’m not as good as I thought I was becoming, what if all the things I’ve been saying and doing were just bullshit and I’m full of shit. What if I suck.

Hillary says I don’t suck. Steve says I don’t suck. I don’t know that I really think I suck. I just haven’t been sure where the fire is. Maybe if I sleep long enough, it’ll come back.

And then my pro license came in my email yesterday. So. Well. We’re doing this, either way. It’d probably be better, then, if I didn’t descend into a spiral of self-doubt and pity. It’d be better if I get back to fighting for it.

5 thoughts on “A Really Bad Marathon Story

  1. You totally, totally don’t suck, Kelly, but I get where you’re coming from. I have an ultra this weekend that’s totally going to suck because I’m struggling with my writing, which does totally suck right now, and I’m doubting myself in both areas and basically feel like a fraud. (I’m binge watching “Orange is the New Black” between bouts of self-despair.) So hang in there. You are fast, and talented and damn, I’d give anything to have your leg muscles (and your speed.).

  2. Go on girl… its a ‘blip’, have a good rest, treat your body well, nourish it and look after yourself… You will get back to where you wanna be, perhaps a long deep breath… some quiet time…
    xxx FAB thing about the running community… your true running friends ‘get’ you 🙂 and being brave enough to share the ‘ups’ AND ‘downs’, not just the ‘ups’ is half the battle won!

  3. Dear Kelly,
    I’m sorry you had a lousy marathon. (So much worse than a lousy shorter-distance race, both psychologically and physically.) Hang tough. You don’t suck; you know that; all sorts of variables conspire to bring us low, and the current climate in this country (and internationally) cannot be selectively set aside, as much as we, as athletes, tell ourselves we need to be able to focus only on the task at hand.
    Thank you for your recaps and reflections (such as the “My Rules” post) — if you lose followers, it’s their loss. We need your honesty — on the athletic front and on the broader human front. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

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