So I’m sitting here, post race, cheese burger nommed, just kind of chillin’. If it weren’t for the entire back of my body
being tight and burning like disco inferno from my heels to my lower back, I feel just like I woke up early. I thought I was going to be completely wrecked, but I feel fine. So far. Definitely don’t think I exacerbated my illness at all, I feel better right now than I have in days – so that’s a bit of yay.
Sadly though – what’s missing from the equation is the frantic refreshing of the race day page looking for results. I know I didn’t PR. I was very close – within a minute or two, but I very much doubt I hit it. Even if somehow I did – it wasn’t by the longshot I figured I would.
A week ago, if you would have told me my finish time, I would have been crushed. I would have not believed you. I might have questioned even running the race if my finish was going to be that worthless. “How on EARTH can I not PR?” I would have asked you. “Flying monkeys?” The answer to this, my friends, is the combination of one hell of a week + one hell of a course.
Y’all know what I’ve been dealing with – while I’d like to say I was healthy and happy this morning, I was not. My nose was still sorta stuffy, my throat was still tickly, and I definitely had some of that delicious lung butter going on (you’re welcome). In spite of this fact, I was finishing the damn thing if I had to crawl it. Also, in spite of all the gory details above, and the fact that I didn’t sleep too well or long and I had to be up at five-in-the-buttcrack-of-dawn-fucking-morning, I was actually feeling fairly groovy in comparison to any day but Monday last week. I was worried how I’d feel halfway into the race, but I didn’t feel bad this morning.
We got ready and got to the starting line (well, technically the 4:30 marathon/2:15 half pace marker as that’s where I
determined I’d hang out to start) and waited around for about an hour in the dark. I was thanking my little stars for the weather – it was 45 even at 6am and it just got warmer from there. We were lucky for HIGHS in the 40s this week and again probably next week, but the weather deities decided to smile upon us this day! I was a little cold as I shed my fleece for just long sleeves but once I got walking towards the start line I was a-ok.
It took just about 10 minutes exactly to get to the gate and the sun was just rising. It was gorgeous. As much as I say I get up this early for 2 things – vacations, races, and that’s it – it was a great way to start. The first mile, admittedly, was a little rough on my lungs. I hacked and coughed and checked my garmin a lot. I figured that if that’s how it was going to be, it would suck, but I’d get through it. Mile two got a bit better, mile three a bit better than that, and then before I knew it, I was cruising almost at my intended race pace and feeling WONDERFUL and half a mile had gone by the time I last looked.
This continued through mile four, five, and six. I had made up a BUNCH of time and was looking in great shape to be
well ahead of PR pace. I hit the halfway point of the race, and then mile 7, and all I had to do was stick around 10 minute miles and I’d be in the gate around 2:10, which would be fine with me.
At the beginning of mile 8 things got a little rough. I was feeling great, getting happy because all I had was 5 miles left to go, and then we started to go uphill. A lot. And it just didn’t end. I toughed out about the first 15 minutes of uphill but when I was barely getting respite (beyond a few STEEP and SHORT downhill jaunts), I had to fold. My glutes were screaming to the point where I was getting a little iffy on whether I’d be injured after the race, and my lungs were SCREAMING. So I did something I’ve never done during a race. I took some walk breaks. The first one was up 10+% grade hill. I was hoping that would be my only one.
Then the hills just kept coming. I think I walked a total of 10 minutes of the race, starting in mile 9 and continuing through mile 12. I felt like a righteous wuss, but it wasn’t just me. Lots of people that had been running with me the whole race were doing the same thing. It was liked they picked turn by turn the way back to the finish line with the worst hills with no flat and rare downhill (again, if downhill, plunging downhill) until about mile 12.5. There were FIVE over 10% grade hills (one over 20, and one that said over 90 but I think the garmin screwed up there).
By this time I was done. I just wanted to finish. It’s like when you realize that someone’s cheating, or just beating you so badly that it’s not even fun anyone. Let me reiterate – I have NEVER walked during a race. I think the last time I
walked during a run was last April (and I remember it because it pissed me off). I just kept thinking to myself, “fuck this course”. If I would have realized HOW CLOSE I was to a PR I might have been able to pull out another little ounce of something somewhere. Maybe. Once I realized we were up (hopefully, please dear fluffy lord please please please) the last hill, I banished the pain from my legs and lungs and started to book it around the capital building (which was a nice race end) – and I got through the finish. By that time, I was just happy to be through, and be somewhat close to my last race.
Then, the clusterfuck happened. We cross the finish line and STOP abruptly. Come ON people, I just sprinted to the end I need to WALK. Then we shuffle, shuffle, shuffle for about 5 minutes and get our finishers medals. Then we continue to shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle for like 10 minutes and get our finishers shirts. By that time I was so over it and needing to either walk or sit, I ditched the food line and went to go meet Zliten to go home.
I want to clarify this though – because I do sound like a bit of a negative nancy – I am fucking proud of what I did today. I had about 3-4 pleasant miles in that race and 9-10 uncomfortable ones. The fact that I came even
REMOTELY close to PR ill and with the second half of the course climbing into the sky the entire time is a huge testiment to my training. Sure, it didn’t net me the sub-2 hour half I wanted. But I finished with a respectable time. I pushed through a lot of crappy uncomfortable running to do what I set out to do. I’m not sure if I would have done that well with the circumstances with last year’s training.
Oddly enough I don’t have this raging desire for revenge. There is another half in 2 months, and I have no desire to enter it at all. I trained my heart out, and my training helped me persevere. How can I not be happy about that? I do believe there is probably a little repressed emo as I am now sorta questioning whether I ACTUALLY want to do this marathon in November and thinking how much I like 10k races better than half marathons… but I think that’s just my sore muscles talking.
Average Pace: 10:39**
Percentile of finishers: 47.2% (so that means I beat 52.8% of the peeps there… I’m ok with better than half)**
Max speed: 7.8 mph (hit this on 4 of the miles)
Total Elevation Climbed: 1701 feet
Heart rate: stayed between 80-93% of max the entire time (this one fact here made me realize that I gave it my all – there is no question. I would say the majority of the time it was between 86-90%)
What hurts now: achilies, calves, hammies, and glutes.
Coolest getups: Shirts that said “Run for the Pedicure”, a lady decked out with hearts all over and heart sunglasses, a race shirt that said “Love Hurts”.
Biggest faux pas (es): men with shorty shorts that give peek-sees of their dangly bits, people that stop and turn around in the middle of the road without paying attention to who’s behind them, people that veer out of the way just in time to
ALMOST make me biff right into a big traffic cone, and crowded race finishes (I mean, seriously, if I was feeling as rough as I was after my first, I might not have made it through 15 mins of forced standing…).
Verdict: I will probably not run this half again in the near future. If I do get into and like marathoning I might consider this one YEARS from now (same killer hills early on, but a FAST second half) because it goes almost right by our house. I think I WOULD like to run the 5k next year with Zliten. I also realized that last year, I was sick this very same week. The year before, the week after. Thus – maybe no more distance races in February. There is a nice half marathon at a resort near here in the wilderness in April. Or maybe I’ll skip the early 2011 season in favor of training for a tri. Or doing something completely different.
What’s next? Well, I’ve certainly prattled on enough for one day. I’ll get into that soon enough.
EDIT: Forgive the formatting – I’m tired. 🙂 More tomorrow.
EDIT 2: Race results posted**