One Year Ago…

in All Posts

I ran my second – and fastest – marathon.  Never say never, but I anticipate it will be my second, fastest, and last marathon. 

I didn’t think I had a sub 4:30 marathon in me (my first was 4:54) but I crossed the finish line in 4:22:38, what I considered a ridiculous improvement.    My time improved so much because for three loooong months, I was extremely dedicated to training.  Everything I did was about the marathon.  I ran, ate, yogaed, and slept for one goal.  It was awesome but – dude – it was a lot of work.  I don’t know if I’ll ever summon the willpower or desire to re-dedicate myself to training like that again.  I am very much in awe of people who regularly run 26.2 miles. 


One year later, I’m still running.  I’ll always love to run.  And whether I go 26.2 miles or 3 miles, the joy is still the same. 


And – hey.  This year, I could pull myself out of bed without a post-marathon limp.  So it’s all good.


Happy Halloween!


Breakfast was pureed pumpkin and sunflower butter on toast.  New favorite combo.


So good.  So easy.


Did you ever run a race that made you think, “Hey, I think I could be satisfied with that performance forever!”? 



  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 31, 2011, 10:10 am

    I thought the same thing about my first half last year and somehow I’m signed up for my second in 3 weeks! But, as far as full marathons go, I don’t think I’ll ever have the desire to race that distance (or, more so train for it.)

  • Michelle October 31, 2011, 10:14 am

    I am always looking to improve my race performances. I’m happy with my various times but I know I am capable of so much more.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 31, 2011, 10:15 am

    Yep – I ran my first marathon in 3:17.41 and figured that was pretty darn good!! It qualified me for Boston, but I didn’t end up running Boston (I know, you probably think I’m absolutely crazy) because I felt like maybe I just didn’t need to – I’d had one absolutely fantastic performance and although it would have been a great atmosphere and something that not a whole lot of people can say they’ve done in their lives, part of me just wasn’t in it. I still waffle back and forth as to whether or not it was the right decision.. and who knows.. maybe I will run another one some day!

  • kalli October 31, 2011, 10:15 am

    i love that photo of you from your marathon! you did put it all out there and you should be proud forever 😉 i ran a 23 minute 5K a few weeks ago and i am proud but scard that i won’t be able to do it again this coming sunday……happy halloween!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 31, 2011, 10:20 am

    Whoah–I lost track of your blog for a bit and missed the facelift. It looks amazing!! Anyhoo, good for you for realizing that loving to run and loving marathons are not one in the same. Sometimes I feel like the blogosphere gets in this mindset that you’re not a real runner if you aren’t pulling crazy long distances. Great post!

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:14 am

      Thanks! I’m glad you like the new look!

  • Jason October 31, 2011, 10:21 am

    I felt this way a couple of weeks ago after my first marathon at a 3:16:58. The prior year I partially tore my achilles training for the same race the year prior.
    Now, however, I’m looking for my next marathon to run in the spring. So it only lasted a short time.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas October 31, 2011, 10:21 am

    I have yet to run a marathon, but after runnin my first two half Mary’s this month, I kind of want to prove to myself that I can do it. Just one? Eh I kind of have the feeling that I would like to run a second to try and beat my time. But I think I’d be okay stopping at 2.

  • Lindsey October 31, 2011, 10:29 am

    Sure have! My first full marathon! I finished in 3:51 where my goal was 4 hours so I was more than happy and right now have no need or feeling to run another 🙂

  • Cat @Breakfast to Bed October 31, 2011, 10:30 am

    yup!! ran INGNYC in 4:11 and was like, you know? I don’t really need to do that again. 13.1 is plenty.

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life October 31, 2011, 10:37 am

    I cant believe a year has passed since that marathon! I remember reading your recap like it was yesterday!!!!

  • Theodora October 31, 2011, 10:38 am

    My big half-marathon goal for the year was sub-2:00. I hit that goal in August with a 1:58 half, and then I unexpectedly beat that a few weeks ago with a 1:55 half. I know I’ll run more halfs, but that 1:55 was such a surprise that I would have been happy stopping there–that will be a tough time for me to beat!

  • Jen at luck & funny October 31, 2011, 10:41 am

    I can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog for a year! I hate to run, I run very infrequently (just enough to prove I’m human and can do it) but I sure enjoy it vicariously through your stories. Your attitude is right on — what do you have to prove, anyway? Thanks for the reminder that sometimes, enough is enough.

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:13 am

      Thanks for reading, Jen!

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 31, 2011, 10:48 am

    I love working towards fitness goals so I imagine I will always have a niggling to do something new or improve an old. However, after completing my fitness comp 2 years ago, i can safely say I am satisfied with that performance forever and will NEVER do another. haha!

  • Army Amy* October 31, 2011, 10:51 am

    There are a lot of FAST first timers up in here! My first full was amazing but definitely not fast. I do want to run another (in April, hopefully!), but you’re right: it takes major dedication. The time and mental energy isn’t something that I can always give to running. And what’s the point in signing up if you can’t go whole hog?*

  • Wendi @ A Southern Yogi October 31, 2011, 10:53 am

    congrats! That’s awesome. And p.s. the Spinx is a HARD course. I’ve always said I won’t do it simply because I train on it all the time and it is hilly!!

  • Heather @ Better With Veggies October 31, 2011, 10:58 am

    Every time I have that kind of thought, I end up signing up for another. Races are my motivation to keep moving, so I’m not sure there is one I have done that I won’t do again (and that includes Ironman). Everyone is different though and you have to do what inspires you!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb October 31, 2011, 11:10 am

    i qualified for boston at the chicago marathon last year and, to be honest, i really have no desire to run boston. my goal was to qualify…i did it… and i plan on riding the coattails of that achievement for a loooong, long time. is that terrible?! most people who hear i qualify but might (probably) not run it think i’m (a) lazy (b) unmotivated or (c) crazy.

    • Laura October 31, 2011, 11:36 am

      I’m so happy you commented with this because I’m in your exact situation. I qualified last year around this time and I really wasn’t expecting to. I signed up for Boston because I thought OMG how could I not? Now I’m at the beginning of a hip injury and the pressure/fear/anxiety of running this race is already looming over my head and I haven’t even started training. I really don’t know if I want to run another marathon but feel I have to if it’s Boston! Blah… thanks for sharing your story, though.

      • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:12 am

        Ya’ll are pretty awesome in my book for qualifying, period!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats October 31, 2011, 11:22 am

    well I’m just getting into running, so I’m not satisfied yet! I have my first 10 miler in 2 weeks, then a half marathon in the works, and maybe a marathon! Although once I actually run a marathon, we’ll see if I want to do it again…

  • Deva @ Deva by Definition October 31, 2011, 11:35 am

    I have never run a race before, but am signed up for my first ever in 20 days. I am so excited!

  • Susan October 31, 2011, 11:39 am

    I’m still early in my running career – only been doing it for a couple years – so I still have a lot ahead of me. I haven’t done a marathon yet – might be 2012, might be 2013. I’d like to do Boston, but I think it would be as part of a charity (checking out Team in Training for 2013). I would like to get to race with a sub-10 minute mile average (getting close – this weekend was 10:07!)

    Right now the only limit is non-repeating races. There are so many out there, I haven’t found one that I want to repeat. Closest is the DC Cherry Blossom 10 miler – that was a really fun race.

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:12 am

      I’ve heard such great things about thre DC Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!

  • Alett October 31, 2011, 12:03 pm


    re: your question about race satisfaction

    Hmmm…I’m still thinking…

    Well I sort of feel that way about the Devil’s Chase 6.66 miler that hubby & I ran last weekend although I had to DNF about 3.5 miles though so I guess that race doesn’t count in a way since I didn’t “finish.” (Sciatic pain issues). However, the 3.5 miles that I did do was the best part of the course -> downtown Salem!


  • Whitney October 31, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I’m running my first marathon on Saturday and I hope I get some race satisfaction from it! haha 🙂 I just read your two race recaps (again) and it gave me chills!! 🙂

  • Lee October 31, 2011, 12:10 pm

    I did a marathon in 6:30. I ended up walking the last six miles of it. While I am not pleased with my time (this was 4.5 years ago), I don’t really ever see myself running another.

  • kristen @ livinlifeinlouie October 31, 2011, 12:11 pm

    after pretty much ever half marathon I say. that was it. Im not doing that again.
    Well, I just signed up for my 6th one haha
    (ps that is an AMAZING full time!)

    Happy Halloween!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife October 31, 2011, 12:12 pm

    Wahoo!! I did a sub-4 hour marathon and loved it. However, I don’t know if I ever want to train for it again—I’d still run another one, but I don’t know if I want to dedicate the training for THAT particular race….if ya get what I mean!

    I am going to start training for a half ironman soon though! Wahoo 🙂

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian) October 31, 2011, 12:13 pm

    I need to make it to a 1/2 before I even ever consider to do a full. lol. I am retraining to do a 10k in Feb or March, then go for a 1/2 next spring or summer. But I am proud of my one and only 10k time thus far. 1:07, not too shabby for me. 😀

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:11 am

      That is pretty epic, Sonia!

  • Khushboo October 31, 2011, 12:24 pm

    After training for 5 weeks I ran my first double digit run today (10 miles). I was aiming to finish in 100 minutes but am pleased to say I came in at 97 mins 🙂

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:10 am

      Congrats on your 10 miler!

  • Heather October 31, 2011, 12:38 pm

    I have tons of canned pumpking, the good kind you know. Ill have to try it on toast like this, looks yummy.

  • Erin October 31, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I feel that way about the marathon I ran this year. However, I’m signed up to run another one in December! Not really feeling the love for that one since I’ll be happy with my performance at the Milwaukee Marathon for the rest of my life.

  • Molly@ This Life Is Sparkling October 31, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Yum that breakfast looks good! I think pumpkin makes anything taste better:)

  • Natalcho @ Tomatoes Rock October 31, 2011, 1:12 pm

    Congratulations on the your last marathon – this is a very big improvement! To be honest, I don’t think I will ever run a marathon. I enjoy running as part of my exercise routine but I am not sure I want to dedicate so much time and effort towards this particular goal. And that’s ok – because I love body pump and yoga and Zumba way too much to leave them to the side:)

  • faith October 31, 2011, 1:26 pm

    I could be satisfied with my one and only (slow) marathon performance forever…but I know better than to say it was my last!

  • Jeni @ stepping out October 31, 2011, 1:35 pm

    I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet. I just ran my first marathon on Saturday (it was Spinx!) and scrapped by just under 5 hours (6 hundredths of a second to be exact) but I love distance running so much and there are so many races I want to run I don’t know that I would ever be “satisfied” to take that goal off my list.

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:09 am

      ISn’t Spinx a great local race? love!

  • Kelly October 31, 2011, 1:38 pm

    I completely know how you feel. I have run only one marathon but was thrilled with my time (3:50.02) and then I started training (and I mean REALLY training) for halfs and I ran a 1:31.56 and to be honest I don’t think I will ever beat that time. EVER. And I am 100% okay with that. I had to eat, breathe and live running and while it was super cool to run a time like that I don’t think it is something that appeals to me to do on a regular basis because my life gets in the way. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul October 31, 2011, 1:51 pm

    oOoOo I wouldn’t know b/c I haven’t really ran official races, yet! But I’m sure that opportunity will come someday. 🙂 Wait, but then~I’m the type of person who always needs to “beat herself” in terms of scores and performance, so I’m not so sure now! haha.

  • Moni'sMeals October 31, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Happy Halloween! Your breakfast sounds reallly good and oh so simply, perfect!
    congrats on the last year marathon, that is killer..

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) October 31, 2011, 2:03 pm

    I will always be satisfied with my first marathon! It wasn’t fast, but I have never been more proud of myself. My second one was even slower, but the mere act of running that far still makes me proud 🙂

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 31, 2011, 2:13 pm

    What a great memory! I can’t wait until I can look back on a marathon once I’ve run one. HOPEFULLY I will be in a month!

  • Nicole October 31, 2011, 2:31 pm

    I can’t believe that was a year ago! Where does the time go?

  • Carina October 31, 2011, 2:43 pm

    I have several races I’ve felt that way about. For full marathons, even with a very slow start (think over 5 hours), I knew I someday wanted to be fast enough to qualify for Boston, and then when I did that and heard that Boston was a tough course, I wanted to PR there. But after that, not so much motivation. I think it’s the same for a lot of milestone goal times, for me things like breaking into the 1:30s in a half, breaking 20 in a 5k (which I still haven’t done), that once you hit, you can just say “good enough” and move along. I have enough milestones left that I need to hit, so I’m still pretty motivated, but I know what you’re feeling…

  • katie @ KatieDid October 31, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Yup! My first marathon. That’s probably why I haven’t run more than 2 miles since! Ha

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu October 31, 2011, 3:11 pm

    I feel like 26.2 is something I definitely want to do once in my life, but after that I will probably call it good! I definitely get why you would want to be done after 2 🙂

  • Lisa October 31, 2011, 3:19 pm

    For me that would be Hood to Coast. I am so proud that I did it AND I didn’t have to walk any of it!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] October 31, 2011, 3:31 pm

    That breakfast sammie looks delicious! & the bread appears to be G-free?

    Do you have a post up talking about eating GF? 🙂

  • Morgan October 31, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I ran my first half marathon about a month ago and it made me realize I have no desire to ever run a full marathon. Not exactly the same thing, but I feel satisfied knowing I can run a half, with no nagging feeling that I should give the full a shot.

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:09 am

      Congrats on your half 🙂 Pretty awesome!

  • Joanne October 31, 2011, 4:00 pm

    That WAS a terrific improvement.
    I envy you being able to say you’re done. I just want to keep going and making the next marathon faster than the one before it.

    Don’t you just love Fall photos? Food, the background, it’s all so refreshing and oozing with nature.

  • Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel October 31, 2011, 4:06 pm


  • Carin October 31, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I just ran my third marathon in six months – having started running 18 months ago! I’m NOT fast and I don’t consider myself an athlete by any means – but I think it’s cool just to be able to do it.

    To me, it’s sad that people are put off by thinking that it demands a lot of training and enormous dedication and sad that people say “I don’t think I’ll ever do another one”. Just do it and have fun, enjoy the atmosphere, smile at the spectators, enjoy being outside and appreciate that your body can carry you that far and that your mind is strong enough to make you keep going. Don’t compare your time, in the same way it’s not healthy to compare your weight or bodyshape or looks to anyone else’s. Come away from it feeling positive and empowered, not exhausted and defeated. Do it because you can!

    I won’t be running as many marathons in the future – I prefer doing halves – but will hopefully continue to do one a year. My 4 year old has a T-shirt with “Future Marathon Runner” on the front and I intend to be there with her when she makes good on that promise! Mind you, she’s really only interested in the race bling…!

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:08 am

      Amen to these sentiments. 🙂

  • Mary October 31, 2011, 4:35 pm

    So I just did my first half Ironman this weekend (Beach2Battleship in Wilmington) and I won my age group (and was 7th overall)…ridiculously exceeded all goals/expectations I had going into the race!!!

    But running a marathon is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done 🙂

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:05 am

      I’ve heard such good things about B2B – did you like the course?

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count October 31, 2011, 4:39 pm

    Your sandwich sounds so good! So simple, too!

  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel October 31, 2011, 5:00 pm

    I really admire that you don’t beat yourself up for running less now than you did. It’s super important to remember that the fact that we can run at all is a gift, no matter how far! I wanted to increase my mileage over the last few months, but have hardly been able to run at all due to a few minor running pains. I’m not being too hard on myself though–I’m just glad I can run any distance!

  • kathleen @ fittitudefreedom October 31, 2011, 5:18 pm

    At the age of 46, I have to be happy with the pr’s of the past. I don’t think that a 3:15 marathon or anything faster is in my future, so I guess I’ll have to call it a day and be happy with that. I will however, strive to keep up the pace as I continue to age. I do still have the competitive nature and the never satisfied attitude when I see my times getting slower. It’s all about staying healthy and being able to run at this age. The marathon is a brutal event and your body takes a toll from the miles of pounding.My goal is to qualify for Boston one more time before I turn 50. When will I ever learn?

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:00 am

      How many times have you BQed???

  • Erin October 31, 2011, 6:25 pm

    OH MY!! I LOVE pumpkin and nut butter!!!! I”ve been eating it for years! English muffin toasted with pumpkin, peanut/almond butter then a banana sliced on that. SUPER YUMMY! people at work think i’m odd…but they are just missing out! 🙂

  • Sophie @ threetimesf October 31, 2011, 6:28 pm

    I can only dream of running a marathon, let alone sub 4.30! Such a great achievement! 🙂

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:03 am

      Thanks Sophie 🙂

  • Gracie (How I Complicated My Life Today) October 31, 2011, 7:12 pm

    Before races I’ve told myself, “If I just finish I’ll be satisfied…” but then it became, “If I just go under 4:00…” then “If I just BQ…” and on it goes. I suppose my goals will change as I age and get slower, but I doubt I will ever ACTUALLY be satisfied enough to call it quits!

  • Mary October 31, 2011, 8:32 pm

    I ran my first half marathon with my sister last month and finished in 2:11! Great for me because I just started running in January, and I was only 10 minutes behind my sister who has been running for years (including 3 previous full marathons!). I don’t know if I ever want to do a full but I am going to do a half Ironman next year. I really prefer triathlons myself, and 13.1 miles is a good distance.

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 11:00 am

      I love triathlons too 🙂

  • Jen October 31, 2011, 10:26 pm

    What kind of toast is that? Looks delish.

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 1:06 pm

      It’s udis!

  • Sarah October 31, 2011, 10:43 pm

    This post makes me sad. Maybe it is because I am younger but I find such JOY in trying to beat myself every season. Obviously I’m not about to PR on things in the off season but I like to make myself a little bit stronger with every workout. Because I really don’t see the point otherwise to be honest.

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 10:58 am

      I find joy in RUNNING every season but slowly, over time, I’ve realized that its not possible to beat yourself every year. Things get in the way – life, work, pregnancy, sickness – whatever. I think it’s totally awesome that you’re always trying to better yourself. Just remember that if you’re not beating old records, you’re still having fun!

  • k November 1, 2011, 1:12 am

    i ran a race yesterday where i was completely over the moon with my performance. if i never get better than that, i’m okay with it. i went out of town to run a 20 mile mountain trail race that also had a 50km option. i hadn’t exactly trained for it . . . i’d been doing long trail runs every weekend for the past month or so and doing short, hard runs during the week. i don’t think i had a week that surpassed 30mi. so i was kind of just running this race as a fun thing- no time goals. when i got to the aid station where the 20 milers turn around and the 50k runners keep going, i was feeling really good and kind of thought to myself “what if i just go for it? what have i got to lose? the worst thing that can happen is i’ll DNF. and since i don’t have anything invested in this race, it wouldn’t be a big deal.” so i made the decision on the spot to tackle the 50km. long story short, i was not at all prepared for it. it was BRUTAL. i was by myself the whole time and the only time i saw other people were the volunteers at the aid stations. it was raining, foggy and windy. some parts of the climb were so steep that my HR was through the roof just walking. my mind started going to some pretty weird places when i was up at the top of the mountain, i’d been at it for hours and i felt both unstoppable but at the same time vulnerable. anyways, i had mentally calculated that it would take me 10 hours to finish, at best. imagine my surprise when i came cruising into the finish at 8:55! i had also taken a wrong turn somewhere on the course and added on an extra mile, which brought me to 32 miles and about 7800 feet of elevation gain. and i actually felt pretty good, like i could have kept going. everything else about the race was bang-on too. i actually ran in a brand new pair of trail shoes and they were fine (yeah, talk about not trying anything new on race day!), my hydration was good, i didn’t bonk once or experience any stomach problems. it was pretty much the perfect race. honestly, i don’t think i could have done any better on that course even if i had trained for it. if that ends up being my best time for an ultra with that much elevation, i’m perfectly happy!

    • Caitlin November 1, 2011, 10:57 am

      omg you are awesome. i can’t believe you added an extra mile. insanity!!!!

  • Andrea November 2, 2011, 6:23 am

    This post kind of made me sad. One year ago I accomplished the greatest physical achievement of my life, and now… I feel so *blah* because nothing has come close since. I’ll spare you the gory details of my woes, but if you care to read about it, check out my post here about my reflection back one year ago:

  • miladybowen November 2, 2011, 10:04 am

    I am in the same frame of mind as you, actually! I have gotten a couple good times, and I am happy with my performance. I had been trying to make myself train for another race, but I was into it, so it wasn’t working. You know when you try to make yourself do something you don’t want to do?

    So I gave myself a break from racing and and just running to run. And it is so much more fun!

    Enjoy running for its own sake!

  • McKella November 3, 2011, 11:11 am

    I’ve never run a race, but I have done other things that I feel satisfied with. I used to do theater, and I was really good at it, but I ended up dumping my theater scholarships because I couldn’t keep up with that sort of lifestyle. It was a health and sanity choice. I may return to the stage someday, but for now I’m glad I had that creative experience. Now I have more to give to my true loves-art and writing.

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