At 3:38 this morning, half an hour or so before my alarm, I got out of bed and sent a defeated email to the race director, scratching myself from the race. I’d been tossing and turning and unable to sleep, and I couldn’t start my first marathon after being up for 24 hours.
So, I’m not a marathoner. Just embarrassed. It was a beautiful day, I had good (not great, but good) training, and I was finally coming to accept that I could actually complete the race. Of all the things to go wrong, all the reasons I might not get to the finish line, I didn’t think it would be something that would prevent me from getting to the starting line.
And people run races sleep-deprived all the time. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but this is different. This isn’t about speed or physical ability, things that are not completely within my control. Mental toughness is completely within my control, and I wimped out. People running Hardrock right now have had less sleep than I would have by the time the race ended.
I made a good decision that I can’t seem to live with. I do think it was the right decision for me: I’ve never run a marathon before, I would have had to drive myself to the race already sleep-deprived, and I wasn’t running with a crew, so if I was unable to continue, I wouldn’t have had a way to get home and would have had to beg for a ride to the finish, or sit at an aid station until my husband finally woke up (he sleeps late on the weekends due to an unusual shift schedule) and could come get me. Not ideal.
I’m still mad at myself. Mostly for not being able to even muster 3 lousy hours of sleep. I’ve run on little sleep before, like at Zumbro. But never on no sleep. And maybe I did really get some sleep and just didn’t realize it, but I doubt it. My fitness tracker shows me restless more than once an hour, and doesn’t show my heart rate dipping down to the level it normally is while I’m sleeping until after I’d sent my email and gone back to bed. And even then, it took me awhile to fall asleep and I still woke up around 9. Race anxiety got the best of me, it seems.
I’m not sure what I could have done differently. I thought about a lot of different things. Take a sleep aid? I went to bed at my normal time, I’m tired at that time almost every night. I didn’t sleep in on Friday, either, probably only got 5-6 total hours of sleep Thursday night (another factor in my decision not to run). I wouldn’t have known I needed a sleep aid until it was too late. They don’t always work, either, they tend to either backfire, or make me sleepy long after they wear off. Plus I always fear when I take them, I’ll sleep through my alarm. Eat something different or eat earlier? I always eat late and had no stomach issues last night. Not drink a pop before bed? Again, I drink a pop with dinner most nights (it’s my one pop of the day and IDGAF if I shouldn’t have it), and I don’t have trouble sleeping. Go to bed earlier? I wasn’t tired earlier, that would have been pointless. Run a few miles to tire me out a little more? Maybe. I considered that and then realized I still had to go check out where I was going to park in the morning, so I didn’t have time to run a couple miles.
The only thing I think I could have done differently was change the logistics of my plan. I worried about parking more than anything else. I was afraid there wouldn’t be a spot to park (it’s pretty limited), but I didn’t want to take the bus from Carlton at 4:45; I’d have to have gotten up earlier and driven in the dark to the finish line. I guess I should have just done that, but I wanted to have my car with me and have a little more freedom. I’m not sure that would have helped, but I did worry about it. So if I do this next year: I’m taking the bus.
I need to turn this setback into something positive. Besides saving money by canceling my post-race massage, I mean.
I still have the Moose Mountain Marathon to complete, and I have work to do. Weight to lose. Diet to improve. Speed to increase. Core muscles to strengthen. All the things I put by the wayside as I rushed to train for this marathon, and started getting a little mentally checked out. I was going through the motions of getting the miles in, but I wasn’t doing much else. So here’s my chance to make it right, and to toe the line in Schroder on September 10th with confidence and strength.