You can lose it without knowing

You wake up and you don’t notice, which way the wind is blowing. Don’t fade on me.

So I am taking the rest of this week to ‘grieve’ my race in Chicago and then I need to get over it. I am not giving up and I know I can qualify. It just, for some reason, was not meant to be in Chicago. My splits were rotten, but I am going to try to look back and assess how I felt during the race.

My good luck sign on the garage

Pre-race I was feeling great. I  was relaxed, I knew I could do this. I was a little nervous about the weather, but I thought that training in Phoenix heat would have prepared me sufficiently.

Me and Ter

expo- me, Ter, Big Mark

Race morning- feeling good!

Didn't quite need the jacket... :)

The gang race morning!

I arrived to the elite development tent on Sunday morning. I was a little disappointed in the fact that none of the girls were talking to each other, it seemed very ‘cliquey’, but I can’t really criticize as I did not put myself out there either. Maybe they were all just as shy and nervous as I was. 🙂

My stomach felt great, no pre-race stomach anxiety. I arrived to the corral at about 7:15 and the gun went off promptly at 7:30. I didn’t warm up too much as the temperature outside was warming up quick.

I was feeling good starting out. I was being conservative clocking the first 3 miles at a 6:20 pace. At around mile 8, I realized I was not settling in and it just felt hard. I  started to reach into my mental bag of tricks and was able to keep the negative feelings at bay for awhile. I was just waiting for my friend Jeff to catch up to me so we could run together. I knew that it would really help me to have him there. I went through the half at 1:22 something. Perfect! My spirits lifted for a bit knowing that I was on pace and was managing.

Right after I crossed the half, I was so happy when I heard a familiar voice say ‘relax your shoulders’. Jeff!! If you have ever run a marathon before, you know how wonderful it is to see ANYONE you know on the course.  I was breathing pretty hard by then. Out of nowhere, my stomach started acting up. I ran to the restroom and timed myself, I only lost about a minute. I was heading for a 2:44, so I figured I could still eek out a 2:46. But…I lost Jeff. So that royally sucked.

I haven’t been able to even look at my splits yet from my Garmin, (can’t face the music yet) but I believe miles 15-20 were pretty bad. I think around 6:25’s. I was losing it mentally. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I stopped twice for a breather. I am pretty dramatic, I know, but it brings me to tears thinking about it. I am stronger than that. I am stronger than having to stop in the middle of a race.

So mile 21 finally comes and I  figured that if I could just keep going and try to hit 6:16’s, I *might* be able to eek out a 2:46 or at least a sub-2:50.

I started to feel a bit better and was trudging on. Mile 22 I hit a metal ring on the road. It stuck to my shoe and when I stepped on it with the other foot, I hit the ground HARD. My head,ear, cheek, shoulder, and knees got pretty roughed up. When I opened my eyes, I was laying in the street and I just knew any chance of salvaging the race was gone. I laid there trying to get up for what I think was 3 minutes. I stood up and the police were ready to call an ambulance but after a good shake out, I decided I was going to finish. With blood running down my face, arm, and knees, I just ran.

I think I at least beat this guy. *hopefully*

I crossed the finish line in 2:51:33. I was crushed. I don’t know what happened to me out there. Not even under 2:50.  As I noted in the previous post, I spent some time in the med-tent after the race. I was a mess.

Chicago = 1, Ariana = 0.

Chicago = 4, Ariana = 0

I think Chicago won.

I have been pretty down about it since. I have been trying to shake it off, but I still feel embarrassed and I feel like a dissappointment. I was supposed to be done with my bad races. I am trying to look at what went wrong, the main thing I feel I need to work on is my mental racing ‘toughness’. Physically, I was in the best shape of my life and I was ready to do this. I knew I could  go under 2:44, and that 2:44 was a safe time for me so that I could just get qualifying done with.It is hard to not even come close to that.

It also stinks that I need to change my winter racing plans as those plans were contingent on me qualifying in Chicago.

As Debbie-downer as this post is, I have to tell you that I am so lucky to have family and friends that not only understand what I am going through, but have been great at lifting my spirits this week. Thank you so much. I also have to tell ya that I am very ready and determined to get back in the saddle. The funny thing is, my cuts from the fall hurt way more than my legs ever did after the race. So, I am hoping my muscles are recovering well.

For now, until further race plans are made, I am taking the rest of the week to be sad and think about the race. I am also taking the week to eat and drink all of the things I don’t let myself have during training- real gluten bread, cheese, root beer floats, and maybe a glass or 2 of wine.

The fam!! Congrats Em on your second marathon! xoxo

In other news, before the race my car broke down. (hmmm..this turned out to be quite a bad week leading up to the race) And some other not-so-happy news came our way on Sunday evening.  RIPGL. 🙁

I did end up getting my first brand new car since my 1997 Rav4 yesterday. A cute cube.

So, thanks for reading my rambling. I appreciate your support and insight. Just have to keep truckin’.


  1. You are amazing! Kudos to you for getting up and continuing after your fall! Unbelievable! Take time to grieve the race but then put it behind you. You’ll get it on the next one!

  2. <3 you girl! And you are correct that the Elite Development Tent was less than fun. I got a whole lot of up & down looks when asked my goal time. It was not a fun way to start an already nerve wracking experience. We should have met up and went in there together. Your new car is so cool! Hang in there, keep that chin up, We know you got this 😉

  3. Hi Ariana, David J S here from DailyMile in Cayman Islands. That was a valiant effort in my book. My friend Derek went to Chicago as well and after a year of great training ended up walking the last 4. But finish he did. These things will come by from time to time to try us and certainly not to be construed as a weakness in faith. In my experience these “prunings” are the beginning of better things. It doesn’t make it pleasant though. 🙂

    I cannot tell you how much you inspire us on DM with your 100% effort workouts. If you ever find your way down to the Cayman Islands, come and coach our track kids for an afternoon. I am looking forward to tracking your training again. All the best. God bless.

  4. I know you were shooting for something so much bigger than a 2:51, but I hope you at least can give yourself 5 seconds or so to acknowledge what an accomplishment 2:51 is. Seriously. Pretty impressive stuff. I live in Houston now so after you qualify if you want to come scope out the course you’ll be running look me up : )

  5. Ariana – It’s been a few days since I read this post for the first time and I wanted to collect my thoughts a bit before commenting in. To come up with something truly profound, supporting and encouraging while all I really wanted to do was congratulate you on such a monster effort – even though I know that you were so disappointed by the way the race went.

    I read your words and really felt like I was with you out on the course.

    The reason I felt that way was because I have been there – Boston 2010. The race was just “hard” – looking back, despite all other indicators leading up to the race day – I just wasn’t able to “run my best” there on that given Monday. It was crushing at the time – but looking back, it was a gift. I gained a renewed energy and a new focus for racing and although I am far from a world-class runner like you, I still compete hard against the only runner that really matters …. me.

    I know you have that OQ in you – just as you know that you do as well. It will be all the more sweeter when it happens for you this winter at your home-town marathon. Site of your first ever. Chicago will have served it’s purpose and that day is going to be a great one for sure.

    Thank you for all that you do – you serve as such a great source of motivation and inspiration to so many of us that only wish we had the talent, courage and perseverance that you do.

    Congratulations Ariana on a truly tremendous effort at Chicago – it’s tough races like these that do more than build character – they truly reveal it.

    Best to you from Austin, J

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