I wasn’t sure if I was doing this race. The previous week I decided I wasn’t training for a full marathon in June anymore, but a half, and I wasn’t sure if 1) my legs were recovered enough to race a half so quickly and 2) if I had the heart to race.
Thursday, I got out with the stroller and put in a few miles, and while the hills were a little tough on the cardiovascular spectrum, my legs felt great. I knew I was ready to race again after a 5 month hiatus.
Saturday morning I woke up, had a frozen waffle with peanut butter and cup of coffee (my favorite pre-run meal) and headed to the race start. An 8 am start is a little late for a half marathon, but I was excited to see where the day would take me.
It was quite chilly (mid 30s with a real feel of 28 degrees, and some bitter wind) so I knew I needed to keep moving until the race started. I did some walking, strides and then stretching, and I queued up for the race start a few minutes before 8. 8 rolled around, and we didn’t start. We were all pretty cold and I could already start to feel my muscles tighten. We didn’t get a start until 8:09, which wasn’t ideal for my leg.
I tried to stick with the 2:30 pacer but after mile 2 I fell behind for a few reasons, including a dropped glove and a very unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. The racers thinned out by mile 3, and for the most part I was alone until the end of the race. I felt my leg complain at mile 6 or so, and decided I wasn’t going to try for a PR. By the time the 2:45 pacer passed me, I acknowledged I was going to be running one of my slower races. The lack of support and spectators on the course didn’t help me keep up my moral.
Because there were so few people running alongside me, I spoke maybe 2 sentences to anyone racing, and it truly was an awkward, quiet and lonely race. So, I made the most of it. I listened to worship music (and even sang at some points, it was that desolate) and prayed. I thanked God for the opportunity to do things like this, even if they weren’t organized well and I wasn’t “succeeding”. It was one of those moments where I praised God, despite my circumstances not being ideal.
I found a little energy at the end to kick the last .10, and I think that was the only “fun” I really had. The rest of the day, I was pretty much useless, worn out from the mental and physical strain.
I have 7 weeks until the RNR San Diego Half, and I’m going to take this week to taper back into a mid-mileage week, with the goal of rest, recovery and getting back some motivation.
It would be terribly selfish of me to not acknowledge that I couldn’t have done this race at all if it weren’t for God keeping me strong. While I didn’t get the time I wanted on the clock, I got almost 3 hours of communion with Him while moving my legs, so it was not time wasted.
Have you ever had a bad race? What did you do to move on from it?