Two years ago, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon with my wife, as she attempted to qualify for Boston. It was very memorable. I even did a long, very detailed Race Recap (see archives). I remember a ton from that race, even the most intricate details. It was a very special and fun experience.
This year, I ran the same race; however, this time, I had a PR in mind. The good news: I got my PR; however, the bad news: I don’t remember much from this race.
Yes, I remember some fragmented sensory details:
Sounds: A bad song – What Does the Fox Say? A good song: Welcome to the Jungle. The occasional “Go Jared, Go Gerald” cheers from awesome spectators (great crowd support this year).
Sights: A race sign: “Tired? Honey Badger Don’t Care.” Also, I got to see my wife and some friends on the out-and-back portion of Kelly Drive; however, I don’t remember what I said to them.
Smells: The amazing aroma of food in Manayunk, and the beer emanating from the Drexel students on 34th Street.
That’s about it. Other than the above, I remember the “pre-race” stuff and the “post-race” stuff. The “during-race” stuff: Not so much.
I have tried hard over the last three days to think of specific moments or memories in the race, and I can only come up with two:
1) Mile 1: Accidentally bumping into a runner, who replied rudely “JESUS CHRIST!” – Thank you rude runner. You are partially responsible for getting me fired up from that point onward.
2) Mile 9ish (near zoo):
Me: (Burp) “Oh that felt so good.”
Fellow Runner: (Burp) “That was awesome.”
So, aside from a negative interaction and burping, nothing else. No other memories (Oh wait, two Gu fell out of my pocket on Delaware Avenue, so I had to turn around and pick them up - I just remembered that). Perhaps I’m in a temporary state of Runner’s Amnesia and maybe additional memories will come back to me (just like the Gu story).
For sixteen weeks, I was laser focused on a PR. Mission Accomplished. Yes, there is some satisfaction to it, but at what expense? First of all, I don’t remember much from the race. Second, I’m sure I was a grump, especially in the final weeks leading up to the race. Third, I might not be physically burned out from training, but I’m mentally burned out from Spring-Fall-Spring-Fall marathons over the last two years.
Major Lesson Learned: A PR does not equate to more fun or wonderful memories
In five weeks, I start another marathon training cycle, and I plan on enjoying every moment of this down time. Also, I’ve decided there will not be a PR attempt in this race. In fact, I might run it with my wife. It’s time to have fun again (although, this might not be fun for her)!!
(Photos help us remember)