It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
That pretty much sums up my 2013 Seacoast Half Marathon experience.
I had high expectations for the race. Maybe too high of expectations since I am battling a pesky injury. That injury (and then some) reared it’s ugly head almost immediately.
Let’s back up to the beginning.
I woke up Sunday morning to the pitter patter of rain on the roof. And it wasn’t a gentle rain. I looked at my phone for the weather forecast to see that the temp was only 37 but the rain was supposed to stop around 8. Perfect! The race started at 8:30. The last thing I wanted was a cold, wet race. My running buddy, Mariette, picked me up and we met Kailey (hey girls!) at a parking lot just down the street from the race start. We got a little bit of a warm up walk to the high school where we soon met up with my coworker/friend, Karen.
The thing about doing a “hometown” race is you run into everyone you know. It was great to catch up and talk about running. The four of us headed out for a warm up that got cut short when we realized there was only 5 minutes till the start. We hustled to the start line where the National Anthem was already being played. Mariette and I had similar goals so we planned to line up between the 7:30 and 8:00 pacers. Kailey and Karen hung back a bit.
Before we knew it, we were running. I hung with the 7:30 pacer for about 1.5 miles before I started to fall back. I wasn’t feeling it. My stomach was making sloshing noises (weird since I hadn’t had anything to drink in 1 1/2 hours). Oh oh. What’s going on with my tummy? Internally I started to have a mini panic attack that began the snowball effect of self doubt.
Ron and the kids were cheering near the 2+ mile mark. I barely saw them before cruising on. I could feel myself slowing down as my foot/ankle started to hurt a bit. Oddly, my IT Band started to complain too. Of course, it’s all on my right side. The thoughts in my head turn to how I can maybe exchange my right leg for a new one. The best ideas come during long runs, no?
Mile 1: 7:25, Mile 2: 7:31, Mile 3: 7:49, Mile 4: 8:02, Mile 5: 8:02
By mile 6 my foot isn’t talking to me anymore. It’s gone numb. But my IT Band has started to scream.
Between mile 7-8 there are two huge cheering sections that give me a little more oomph even though the 8:00 pacer passes me by. My downward spiral continues even more as I want to start to cry. There’s no crying in running! My legs don’t care. They feel like lead and don’t want to move.
Mile 6: 8:14, Mile 7: 8:20, Mile 8: 7:59, Mile 9: 8:23
I knew Ron and the kids would be spectating at a point somewhere around mile 11. Thoughts of quitting start to enter my head. I can just stop when I see them and call it. Mentally, I’ve already quit. I see them, hoping my spirits and legs will be revived. I got nothing.
Mile 10: 8:32, Mile 11: 8:43, Mile 12: 9:08
The last mile entails a steady climb up essentially, the only big hill of the whole race. I’m steps away from the climb but I stop to stretch my leg. Really, all I wanted to do was lay down on the grass and ask someone to pull on my leg. In my head, that’s all I needed to make it feel better. I paused maybe for 10 seconds and started up the beast. I don’t remember a dang thing about the last half mile of the race. I just knew I needed to get to the turn, climb a little hill and then it would be all down hill.
Mile 13: 9:02, Mile 0.1: 7:15
Finish time: 1:48:54
Repost from Instagram. Thanks Amy( Running Escapades)! You made me look good!
As soon as I crossed the finish line, I headed to the massage tent to have someone (PLEASE!!) pull on my right leg. The girl that worked on me was exactly what I needed. Where was she on the race course??? My ankle/foot were still hurting but at least my IT Band felt a little bit better.
I didn’t hit any of my goals for the race, not even the finishing happy part. I did, however, get a PR for that course. Last year I finished in 1:49:52. An almost 1 minute course PR! I’ll take it.
The big message that I received from running this race (other than that I really need to work on negative thoughts) is that I truly need to listen to my PT and take 4-6 weeks off from running. My body needs the rest. I keep asking it to push, push, push but it’s not happy. It seems like I’ve fallen into this cycle of having great training cycles and horrible races where the wheels fall off. Am I setting my expectations too high? Crumbling under the pressure to perform? I don’t know. I’ve got quite a few things to work on, mentally and physically, in the upcoming months. If I want 2014 to be a successful year in running, my brain and body need to get to a happy place again.