Have you ever gone into a race thinking it’s “just for fun” but then come out with a feeling of disappointment because the time on the clock wasn’t what you wanted? Even though you told yourself over and over again, it didn’t matter?
I haven’t run a half marathon in over 2 years. The last one I did was the Leaf Peepers Half as part of Rise.Run.Retreat in Vermont. Ironically, I ran that race with zero expectations but walked away feeling a little disappointed too.
That being said, there were two reasons why I signed up for the Seacoast Half. One of my BRF’s, Kyle, had been talking about running her first half so I said I’d train and run the whole thing with her. No goal expectations – just have fun! That was my plan but my ego obviously had other ideas.
The other was because of the this years Rise.Run.Retreat race weekend meet up. If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you know that the retreat weekends hold many of my favorite running memories. Last year, it was a blast having bloggy friends hanging out on my home turf for the first time. I couldn’t run the race last year but I jumped in for all the other fun events.
This year was a little different. Rather than a time to get together with my bloggy friends that I rarely see, it was more of a girls night out with my local BRF’s. Lindsey from the “I’ll Have Another” podcast did a live show Friday night. It was fun to hang out and listen to the stories from a panel of badass lady runners (including my friend Jess). And I may have said “I’ll have another” one too many times to the wine. I missed talking to 95% of the people I wanted to talk to. Whoops. 🙂
Photo credit: Raya on Assignment
Btw – Did you see who one of the guest speakers for the 2019 Rise.Run.Retreat is? Sally McRae aka Yellow Runner. I love Sally. She’s so inspiring and just a kick ass trail runner. Sally are I practically BFF’s because she follows me on Instagram and has commented on my pics. So you know she’s cool if she takes the time to do stuff like that! I can’t make it to the whole retreat but I’m wondering if I can bop over to Woodstock just to give Sally a hug? 😉
Anyway, back to the race.
I’ve said it many, many times.
The Seacoast Half is one of my favorite local road races. It was my first EVER race and first half marathon back in 2008. I think I’ve done it 5 or 6 times. It’s mostly flat with some rolling hills, follows along the beautiful New Hampshire seacoast and is full of spectators throughout the course. Plus, part of the proceeds goes to a different local charity every year. Love when running can make a difference in my community!
And this year you got one free photo! (see up above)
Downhill to the finish line in 2008.
Race morning saw temps in the upper 30s with full sunshine. Perfect except for the wind. There was a gale wind warning until 10 a.m. It’s usually a headwind when running along the seacoast anyway so this was going to be extra blustery. I kept going back and forth on what to wear but ultimately decided on capris, a tank and a long sleeve (that’s a lot more mesh like than I knew when I ordered it). That worked for the most part up until the last 3 miles when I was absolutely freezing.
Since this was Kyle’s first half, I was following her lead. I’d run with her as much as possible. If I started to fade and she was feeling good, she would leave me. But if it was the other way, I would stay with her. I told her not to have a goal time but in her mind she had a couple. She definitely wanted a sub 2:00 but she thought maybe she could pull out at least a 1:50 because of the time she ran Mount Washington in June. Allegedly, the time it takes to run a half marathon is what your time should be up the mountain. I don’t know who came up with that philosophy but Kyle thought it could happen.
Pre-race gathering staying warm as long as possible in the cafeteria before lining up.
After a super quick warm up we lined up slightly behind the 8:30 pacer (who just so happened to be my friend Sharon). That was the last we saw of her and that group.
For the first 5 miles we cruised. I warned Kyle that we should back off just a tad after the first 2 miles were sub 8. We then fell into a comfortable pace around 8:10. The sun was shining, there wasn’t much of a wind because we were more inland. I started to feel really hot. I was wishing I had worn shorts.
And then we made it to the ocean and the wind picked up. There were a couple of gusts that blew me into Kyle or other runners. Miles 6-7 felt really long and our pace slowed until we had a mental pick up from cheering spectators from miles 8-10 where we got back on track. There was a marching band complete with two older women twirling batons. FYI – If I’m not running in 30 years, I’ll be out there twirling my baton at local races. Lol!
And then the headwinds hit us full on. I started to struggle. I was so cold. My teeth were chattering. At first Kyle wasn’t too far ahead of me. I tried to will myself to pick up the pace, even for one minute at a time, but I was done. My last two miles were a full 1:30 seconds slower than the previous miles. Of course, the last two miles are soul crushing because it’s practically all uphill. It’s not a huge elevation change but it’s enough that you notice it after running 11 miles. I was shuffling and just wanted to be done.
As I made the sharp left hand turn up the last hill before the downhill to the finish line, a woman passed me on the left and on the right. The woman on the right, physically pushed me with her elbow and cut right in front of me to allow her friend to get ahead of me. Wtf was that?!?! I had to pull back so I didn’t trip over her. I couldn’t get any words out because I was completely shocked by it. If you want to beat me, run faster, it’s not freakin’ roller derby lady!
I crossed the finish line pissed off. I think that incidence put me into a negative mood.
I know every race can’t be a PR. I know that I can’t compare myself to where I was fitness-wise 2 years ago, 4 years ago, etc. A lot has changed over the years. Half marathons are no longer my jam. I’m rusting on racing. I’m much happier on a single track trail or spending the entirety of a race climbing for vert up a mountain. But I still thought I could eek out a sub 1:50 time.
It’s hard to let go where you were before and where you are now.
After shaking my pity party and getting out my annoyances over roller derby lady, my perspective changed.
2018 (with Mariette, Kailey and Kyle) vs 2013 (Mariette, Karen and Kailey)
I felt happiness again. Happy to have been able to run this race with so many talented runners that I call friends. Happy that I was able to train with a friend and help her achieve a goal (and beyond!). Happy that I was able to run a race that started the running love bug for me all those years ago.
This was a good reminder that it’s not always about the time on the clock.