Has it really been two weeks since I last wrote? Well, I guess training, work, and moving really occupies a lot of time.
This is a topic I thought about two Saturdays ago when I was running in downtown Milwaukee with some friends.
If you know me, or have just been keeping up with this blog, you know that I love my home city. I think Milwaukee is one of the best and most underrated cities in the country. That’s a big reason why I’m thrilled about the excitement over the Marathon every year.
However, the city of Milwaukee has never been kind to me when it comes to road races.
The first road race I ran in Milwaukee was the Brewers Mini Marathon, and I was primed for a PR. It seemed like the perfect day for a PR. Training was going well, it was beautiful weather, and the course even followed a lot of the Milwaukee Marathon which I was running about 6 weeks later.
That was all derailed fairly quickly by a bad hamstring and IT Band, which resulted in a rather uncomfortable quad as well. Basically, my right leg was battered and beaten. Naturally I finished the race, but far from a PR.
Like any competitive runner, I didn’t rest as I should have and trained on and off to be ready for Milwaukee. Like I said, the race covered a lot of the same road, so I knew I could easily visualize the second half of the marathon.
I didn’t get to the second half of the marathon, though. With my leg still injured, my race ended at the intersection of 28th and Wisconsin Ave. Mile 10.
Any and every time I drive down Wisconsin Ave, I notice that corner. I consider it my biggest racing failure and that feeling, and that spot, has been seared into my brain.
Fast forward to the next summer. Healed, and two marathons into 2016, I was ready to check another Milwaukee bucket list race off my personal list. The Rock N Sole Half in mid June.
As you could probably guess, it was hot for this race, and I paid the price of going out too fast. The last nine miles were a death march, resulting in my worst half.
Land that brings me back to my training run a couple weekends ago. Our route encompassed a lot of the places in which I struggled badly in Rock N Sole. From the exposed and open boardwalk and Summerfest peninsula to the hill rising you into a local park. I remembered it all, and made mention of those places to all of my running partners that day.
Those mentions included my comments on the final mile of the Milwaukee Turkey Trot (which we also ran that Saturday) in which you can see the finish line all the way from the turnaround.
Thats the mental side of running. We remember the pain and painful moments much more than the great moments. And do we remember the great moments? Of course. Running the final stretch of the Twin Cities Marathon. Emerging out of the woods to a sprint finish at UW Parkside. Passing the leader with two miles to go in a trail race.
We seem to hold onto those bad moments just a little more. And many times, they define how our future races go as well. You hit those spots and you remember how terrible it was, how tired you were. And suddenly your legs get a little bit more heavy in that moment. Those painful memories take hold a little more. That’s when it’s up to you to use those as motivation. That won’t happen again.
I look forward to steamrolling my way through the Milwaukee Marathon this October. And you better believe I’ll know exactly when I’m coming up to 28th and Wisconsin Ave, so I can make sure I power through that part of the race.