The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Post Marathon Blues

One week ago today I couldn’t sleep. It was the eve of my 7th marathon and the anticipation and excitement were a little more than this 129 lb frame could handle. Standing at the start with 9,000 other runners in the torrential rain, the little voice inside me sighed. No matter how hard you work, nature has its own way of adding a special little twist to your race day. And there is nothing you can do to change it. Sheer determination propelled me forward despite the fact I could wring out my clothes before the race had even started.

I set a personal record that race. By 7 minutes! I feat you’d expect to find me jumping for joy and high-fiving every single person around me. Instead I find myself strangely quiet about this accomplishment. It’s a strange discerning feeling I can not quiet verbalize. I’m upset I didn’t make the sub-4 hour goal I had been training all year for. I’m upset that I feel ungrateful for my PR. I should be very grateful for my 7 minute accomplishment, but I can’t shake this blasĂ© feeling and that makes me angry with myself. I know so many people who would be thrilled to have a marathon time of 4:17:17, so why aren’t I? I beat myself up and then get mad at myself for beating myself up. All my running friends reading this are nodding their heads in agreement as they can relate to what I’m saying and all my non-running friends, I suspect, are staring blankly at the screen now knowing that I am certifiably crazy.

Thinking long and hard about this the last week I came to a realization. My potential stays locked inside me. My intense training the last 6 months worked hard at bringing my potential out and although I was ready and willing to unleash it race day morning, it didn’t budge. It lay hidden in the recesses of myself, drowning in the rain the heaven’s poured out. The first 12 miles of that race I searched for it, prodding myself, encouraging myself, trying to coax that potential to the surface. It didn’t come. And it’s crushing.

But I know it’s there. I will find it. And when I do, I will show it to you. At that moment we will cry together. Follow me on this journey as I work hard on my goal to run the Boston Marathon. I promise you raw honesty, which is a scary step for me as I usually keep my goals and hopes locked inside of myself. If I don’t tell anyone, no one will know I didn’t achieve them therefore no one can be disappointed in me right? Isn’t that how it works? Today I stop that thinking.

I’m a wife and mom on a goal to run one of America’s greatest races. I will get there. Some day. And I’d love for you to be there with me.


  1. I agree with you, Cheri. It's disappointing to work so hard and not achieve your goal. But, the good thing is it gives you motivation to keep on training and working hard. We will both get to Boston by taking small steps.

    You did great to PR by 7 minutes -- it shows that the work we have done in ATP really does help. I look forward to continue training together through the Winter and next season.

  2. Beth Holbrook10/17/2010 10:31 AM

    I think we should run the Chicago Marathon!!! It is a great marathon for PRs!!!! As soon as I win the lotto, I will fly us all out there. LOL.

    Back when I started marathons, I only PR'd by 4 minutes. 7 minutes is a great PR time!!!!

    I have learned that race day doesn't always reflect how well our training went!!! And I think we have deserved the right to stomp our feet and scream "it's not fair." LOL.

    Your body is getting stronger and faster with every day of training!!! And a Boston Qualifier will happen for you!!!!

  3. Nice blog! It is so my story in the Chicago heat! Maybe we will all qualify and be in Boston together! Eugene here we come!


  4. "Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

  5. I totally understand Sis! If anyone will get there, you will. I know it in my heart of hearts. Run it for me when you do get there because I know I will not, but my greatest joy will be to see my friends do it.

  6. You do have that sub-4 hour marathon in you Cheri!! It's hard when the weather conditions don't cooperate. You had it in Portland, we had it in Chicago. You never know what you're going to see on race day!!

    I have seen you get so strong this past season. And I know you'll continue to get stronger and stronger. I just hope I can keep up with you!!

    Hope to train with you this winter!

  7. I can so relate to your thoughts about keeping your goals and aspirations locked up inside of you. That is OK-a pitcher in the late innings of throwing a no-hitter never talks about it, and no one will sit by him on the bench for fear of jinxing him. It is the same with us runners. I dont like to say out loud what I am going after in a race, even though I know what it is. I will only admit it out loud when pressed by someone like Todd, asking what I am going for. He is the coach, I need to tell him. I am like you, I want to avoid the circus that can surround self percieved failure in a race. It is NEVER a failure or a defeat crossing the finish line in a marathon. Less than 1/10 of one percent of the total population ever finishes a marathon. Think about that. And we dont go out to just finish, we go out to RACE it!! You will be there soon, thanks for the great season together in ATP, you really made the year fun and looking forward to next year.

  8. Cheri,

    You are an amazing woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, and marathon runner! Your time will come, believe me, it will. You have it in you, and I've seen it. We put our bodies through the physical aspects of training, building up, then tapering. All for that special race day. When that event day comes anything can happen, or sometimes nothing specific. It just wasn't the right time or place. So much of a race, or running for that matter, is mental. I know that I am my own worst enemy. But just remember each finish line crossed is another building block in our character that keeps us challenging our bodies and minds.

    I look forward to some winter training runs and hope that I can be a part of your journey as you were a big part of mine. Even though I really dislike track workouts(a mental thing) it was great taking turns drafting off you Karen, and Joy. I had never been able to keep up with any of the ATP's last year to do that. Your cheerful disposition and positive attitude made those grueling workouts more enjoyable.
    Happy Trails,