It happens. Even when we are well trained, we sometimes have a bad race. As we notch up finish after finish, our goals eventually change. Somewhere along the way "just finishing" is no longer good enough. We want to better our times. Run stronger races. Typically, it's what motivates us to train and race that distance again. We always know we could do just that little bit better.
In a perfect world, we would PR every time we raced. But, when we push our limits, we knowingly put ourselves at risk. Risk of not PRing. Risk of having a race that goes horribly wrong. Risk of questioning why the heck we are even doing this.
I recently ran in a marathon that I thought I was going to die in. And, as I began to crash, I grew increasingly frustrated. I was well trained, been running what I thought was a smart race, and eating and drinking plenty. Yet, my body was starting to shutdown.
Eventually, I did finish. But, rather than feeling elated that I had just finished a freaking marathon, I was disappointed.
Later, I got to thinking, "was I really all that disappointed?" Sure, it sucked that I didn't have a good race, but I DID finish and I needed to be proud of that. Some people aren't afforded the same things I selfishly take for granted. I have my health, a supportive family and great friends. I've discovered that putting one foot in other a little faster than walking is a hell of a lot of fun.
Bottom line, good or bad race, I'm just grateful to be able to do something I love. I never know when my last stride will be, so I need to live it up!