First of all, thank you all for your kind and encouraging words this weekend through pretty much every social media channel. It really means so much to me. You guys are the best.
This isn’t the recap I’d hoped to write. I hoped I’d be telling you about a new sub 2-hour PR, but I’m not. Maybe I over-hydrated, maybe I went out too fast, maybe I put too much pressure on myself, maybe I just wasn’t ready, or maybe I’ll never know. There are a lot of things that probably contributed to it, but the fact of the matter is, it just didn’t happen. It wasn’t exactly the race I wanted, but it was the race I got, and that’s okay too.
I woke up at 4am ready to go. I felt like I was ready to take on the world. Patrick obviously didn’t share my excitement at such a ridiculous hour.
We met Meghan down near the finish line at 6am. This is a point to point race with the start and finish a couple of miles apart. We parked Patrick’s truck near the finish so we’d have a way back to Meghan’s car at the start line after the race.
We made a plan to meet Beka and her boyfriend Mike at Fergs, the sports bar across the street from the start line. When we got to Ferg’s there was a man with a flashlight and a sign waiving people into the parking lot, the sign said “Free Parking”. You can’t beat that kind of parking karma.
We waited inside Fergs for about 45 minutes before heading over to the start line. I was a ball of energy and super excited to run the race. I was a little nervous about my goal but Beka and Megan were so encouraging. They helped calm any bit of nerves I had. They had both agreed to pace me ahead of time and I was so grateful for them.
We started in Corral 3 and ran into our friend Caitlyn. It was awesome to see so many familiar faces at this race.
The weather was perfect. I had planned to not look at my Garmin and just follow the girls. Meghan had memorized the entire 2-hour pace band so I knew she knew exactly what we needed to do to get there.
- Mile1: 9:06
The first mile felt fast but manageable. I knew if I could find my rhythm I would be fine.
- Mile 2: 9:09
- Mile 3: 8:54
Miles 2 and 3 were more of the same. When my watch vibrated for mile 2 I got a little nervous when I looked down. We were running at an 8:45 pace. That had been my pace for my tempo runs. I didn’t think I could keep it up the whole time. But, I felt pretty good and I decided to just go with it. Admittedly, a HUGE mistake on my part.
- Mile 4: 8:55
- Mile 5: 8:58
Miles 4 and 5 were tough. My breathing felt okay but my feet were starting to hurt, bad. I was pretty sure I’d worn through my shoes. I had hot spots on the balls of both feet. I was also thirsty, like really thirsty. I wanted to stop and drink all of the water at the water stops. I rarely ever stop at them before mile 4 or 5 during a half marathon. I’d hydrated well the few day before. I drank enough (but not too much) water that morning. Why was I so thirsty?
- Mile 6: 9:19
By the time we reached mile 6 I needed to pee, bad. In the last 10 half marathons I’ve run I haven’t had to stop. Why did this have to happen today? I found a port-a-potty and I’m pretty sure I was in and out in about 15 seconds.
I was hoping that would help, but it didn’t. The 9:00mpm pace felt impossible for me to keep. We reached the 10k mark more than 3 minutes slower than last weekend’s 10k and I can assure you, I felt nothing like this last weekend. Last weekend I felt strong. This weekend I felt like I was falling apart.
- Mile 7: 9:36
Somewhere around mile 7 is when I told the girls to go on ahead. I told them that I just didn’t think it was going to happen for me today and I was sure they had a lot more in them. I didn’t want to hold them back. They told me they weren’t leaving me and that I was still well on pace to at least PR. So we kept moving.
- Mile 8: 10:55
- Mile 9: 10:19
During mile 8 I started to take 20 second walk breaks. Something else that hasn’t happened in a long time, walk breaks during a half marathon. Not even during any of my long training runs did I need to stop and walk. But, I definitely needed to now.
My breath started to feel labored. Everything was starting to hurt and my mind was checking out. Oh, hello Wall, I’d hoped we’d never meet again.
That’s the only way I can explain what happened, I hit a wall. My body wasn’t cooperating and at that point, neither was my mind.
- Mile 10: 10:28
- Mile 11: 10:13
Meghan and Beka tried their best to get me through the next couple of miles. They told me stories, they tried to sing, dance, smile, laugh, just about anything. I know they could have run a much better race but I was so grateful they stayed with me. The disappointment of the next few miles didn’t sting as bad with friends there to distract me. Once I let go of my time goal I just decided to enjoy the next few miles the best I could. It’s hard not to enjoy your time with the two of them.
- Mile 12: 11:08
For the next mile and a half we ran 2 minutes and walked 1 minute. We did this until mile 12.5 or so when I decided to just try and finish it. To give anything I had left in me and get to that finish line, and I did.
- Mile 13: 10:43
We finished the race with an official time of 2:10:28, a 9:58 pace. I really can’t complain about that. It wasn’t a sub-2, it wasn’t a PR, but I’d finished.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I trained as hard as I could for this goal and this race definitely fell WAY short of my expectations. But, that’s part of running. You learn from it and you move on, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
At the end of the day, I ran a half marathon on a great course, on a beautiful day in St. Petersburg, with some incredible friends. And that is something to celebrate.
This training taught me a lot. It made me a faster runner, it made me stronger, and it got me to new 5K and 10K PRs multiple times over. So, if Sunday wasn’t my day, that’s okay. I’m not giving up. I know I have a sub-2 in me. This experience will just make it a whole lot sweeter when I get there.
I have to give a huge thank you to Meghan and Beka. I told them pretty much everything I have to say out there on the course but I hope they both know that I am sincerely grateful for all they did for me before, during, and after the race.
Also, thank you all who have followed my training. Your support over the last 10-weeks has been so encouraging to me. I can assure you this isn’t the end of this journey, it’s more like a to be continued.
**Image Credit for this post: Meghan and Benjamin