Wow, I’m really stupid

The good news: I set a personal record in the 5K (24 minutes) and the 10K (49 minutes) this morning.  The bad news: those are not the races I was running today.  All I had to do was run a 9-minute pace for 13.1 miles and I would reach my goal of beating 2 hours in the half marathon. Instead, I started running with the 1:45 pace runner (8-minute pace) just to see what it felt like.

Even though I had trained for a 9-minute pace, I was feeling pretty good at 8 minutes per mile and I stayed with him for nearly 6 miles.  Yeah I feel great.  Yeah baby… I’m superman! I can do this all day.  Who can guess what happened next?

After mile 7 I thought I would back off a little, but it was too late. I slowed to 8:30, then 9:00, then 9:30.  At about mile 10, I had a meltdown.  Even though I had hydrated and fueled and stretched and visualized… my legs felt like lead.  I walked through the next water station, cursing myself for going out too fast. I splashed a soggy Dixie cup of water right into my face and yelled at myself “Come on!!”  (Well, apparently this only works in the movies.)

To make a short story shorter, I finished at 2:04:49.  I got my knees iced up in the medical tent after the race, and I sat there on the curb thinking “Wow, I’m really stupid.”  Worst of all, I did the EXACT same thing last year in the exact same race.  I believed my own hype. I went after something I wasn’t really prepared to do.

So what have we learned?  Slower and steadier wins the race?  You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a different result?  There is definitely something to be said for playing within your ability and making slow incremental improvements. I knew this and I ignored it.  

I could just kick myself for overdoing it… if my leg wasn’t so tired.

Explore posts in the same categories: Motivation

14 Comments on “Wow, I’m really stupid”

  1. Timothy Bednarz Says:

    Dave….I did slow and steady today on an injured foot and I still was not able to keep myself at slow and steady. I ended up coming in 2o miutes after you and I shoulda probably come in 45 minutes after you based on how I feel….But this is what we do and will always do on every race we run because every race is a different experience and we feel differently on every race. Just keep icing and be proud that you finished and finished at a pace that you feel you were not prepared for yet still did anywho! ROCK ON!

  2. Annette Williams Says:

    Congratulations on running 13.1 miles… that you can feel good about. I know too many runners who concentrate way too much on their times… I prefer instead to concentrate on HAVING a good time not running a good time. Keep at it 🙂

  3. First of all, David, stop kicking yourself. Anything other than the time you quoted is nothing more than a story. Roger Bannister probably had many days he did not make the time before he eventually set a new standard in the mile. Although I do not picture you and a machine for regret, I urge you to forget it. I did not run at all today! Do not get in the habit of characterizing the event until you know the whole story. As a matter of fact I know the whole story which is why I say stop kicking yourself. I have seen it before and you win!

  4. Scott Guinn Says:

    David, I’ll run with you on the next one. Sometimes you need a pace setter just to help you resist that early temptation to fly ‘because you feel great!’. Besides, it’ll get me motivated to start running more often. We’ll get it done.

  5. Jenell Says:

    David! You are my hero for many reasons, for the simple reason you started me running, also for completing a full marathon, a half marathon and many more in between, the fact you are now on a road bike and I know in the back of my mind you will do that triathlon my friend! You are my hero for what you did today as well, because now I know you are human! We all do things on race day that we would not ordinarily do! I ran a 5K and tried to keep up with my 7 minute a mile friend and ended up doing the first mile at 9;07 minutes then I hit a wall and ended up with the last mile being 10:30! I kept saying why why why? I think on race day we just want to do our very best and we lose a few marbles! Im so glad you are human and you are still my superhero my friend! Congrats on your time today!

  6. Jan Sysmans Says:


    There is a saying in Dutch; “a donkey does not kick itself twice on the same rock”. So clearly you’re not a donkey.

    I’m registered for the SF 1/2 marathon in 4 weeks. I may not make, you can have my bib if you want.


  7. Alicia Says:

    I tried to ‘bank’ miles on many a race. It never works. Never! Only so much in the tank, and if you ‘gun’ your engine, you use up all of the gas and run out of it.

    Be pleased that you ran a great 5K and 10K for that matter. The rest was a cool down.

    And hopefully, next time you will tell your mind ‘You crazy dude’ – and not listen to him.

    You are reslileint. You will try again . And remember.


  8. Pete Says:

    Dave you rock. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not how many times you get knocked down. It’s how many times you get back up.

  9. Jeff G Says:

    Oh little grasshopper! “When you can snatch this 2 hr pebble from my hand, you will be ready”. Next time, you will be ready. In my younger days I did something similar in my 3rd or 4th Chicago marathon. I hooked up with a small group from the east coast between mile 1 nd 2, running a smooth 7:00 min pace. I basically just slid into their slipstream and the miles clicked off and we came through the half mark at 1:30! I was so psyched at the prospect of a near 3:00 hr race. Then nature took over, reality set in, and I slowed down, way down, almost 2 min per mile down. Final result, 3:29 missing my Boston qualifying time of 3:25. Uggg! What was I thinking? Adrenaline creates these micro fantasies!
    Hence, my words to you my beloved grasshopper. “Stick to the plan you so diligently trained for and programmed your body to perform.”
    Then you will snatch the 2 hr pebble from my hand 🙂

  10. Chris Says:

    I know nothing about running David ( and never will)… but the lesson of your story inspired me..:)

    hugs …

  11. Khoder Baydoun Says:

    It is better to have run and lost than not to have run at all. These runs that you are doing are hard earned experiences in your pocket. It is okay to feel this way because it tells me how dedicated and motivated you are to doing this. Do not feel bad. Feel good that you did this. Next time, you are going to be better, stronger, wiser, and leaner. I admire your drive and energy to do more. I run too and I enjoy every minute of it. It is fun to run and I look forward to getting to the point in the race where my legs warm up and move on their own. Then, I am on cruise control. This story is motivating me to run more. I can’t wait for this day to end so I can go home, put on my shoes and start running. I would like to run with you someday. Let me know when and where and I will be there. I admire you. YOu make us better with every word you write and every efforts you have.

  12. Mike T Says:

    Pretty much every runner has done this once if not multiple times. Sometimes we need the lesson of “Stupid Stupid, never again” before we truly internalize something and it’s clear you’re mindful of what occurred. Maybe write yourself a note or email that you can find before your next scheduled race that reminds/notifies you that you will not make the same mistake a 3rd time.

    *Never attempt to do something that difficult you didn’t train for.
    *If you think you can go that fast, train for it!
    *In long distance running, it’s better to go slower than your average pace the 1st half, than faster.

    Of course I say this all in hindsight. When I did my first full marathon, I felt amazing and started out way above my Half PR pace. At the 13.1 mile marker, I had beat my PR for Half-Marathons…sadly the race was not a Half Marathon. It was a Full and I ended up not doing as well as I had hoped.

  13. Becky Says:

    Seems like we keep making the SAME mistakes over and over and over again!! LOL: I however applaud you for what you did accomplish and also for what [its seems —-yet another step in a lesson learned] Who knows? maybe you will change next year. But I sure HOPE NOT. i LIKE your chutzpah!!! I say CONGRATS David!!

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