2009 CIM: Not a Race Report

I got something like 700 hits to this site on Sunday, which is roughly four times what I get on a big day. So I guess lots of people were curious about how the day went (and I’m sure a fair amount of the traffic was from other participants looking for race reports from the day).

If you’re looking for a race report, I’m about to disappoint you. I don’t want to write one, not so much because I’m upset about the whole thing. Which, of course, I still am. No, a race report invites analysis and scrutiny from everyone reading it. I’m not going to attempt to analyze what happened in terms of the actual race. So I really don’t want to read others’ attempts to do so either.

The race itself was not the problem, meaning nothing “classic” in the marathoning sense went wrong. I didn’t go out too fast, or get injured, have stomach issues, etc. The race was just a natural outcome of whatever fatal flaw has been undermining my training over the past year. I don’t believe that flaw can be found in the race data.

I do appreciate a lot of the comments. Many were thoughtful, smart and full of new perspectives. I know I’ll revisit them in the coming weeks as I think about the year ahead.

I’m not making any decisions about anything at this point. But I do know that the marathon is for me, right now, like a red hot stove. I’m staying away from it for as long as my hand is still wrapped in gauze. Figuratively speaking.

Finally, just something that popped into my head during those awful two hours in which I struggled, mile by mile, along the second half of the CIM course. A few weeks ago I read the autobiography of Sonia O’Sullivan, one of Ireland’s great distance runners. O’Sullivan is famous for, among other things, having exited the 5000m final in 1996 at Atlanta — not just leaving the track but actually running out of the stadium entirely with a lap and a half to go.

As the great Irish hope that year, she was under enormous pressure to perform well. She didn’t. Her father, who was there to witness his daughter’s disaster as a tsunami of criticism toward her formed, said the best thing when a microphone was shoved in his face: “Nobody died here. It’s only sport.”