Race Recap: Empire Half Marathon {Fail}

Because Hillary Clinton and I are so much alike, I’ve composed my version of “What Happened.” Her failed bid at the presidency and my failed attempt at a half-marathon PR are basically the same level of loss.

Date/Time of Race:

October 8th, 2017 at 8am.

Weather:

The weather gave me major concern in the days leading up to the race, but it the race started at 74 degrees with 15 mph winds. There was a slight drizzle of rain around mile 5 that lasted for about 10 minutes.

Course Description:

Out and back course along Onondonga Lake. A couple of miles on the road and then dominantly in the lake’s park.

Pace Objective:

I’ve been training for a 9:15 mile, but knew I could pull several miles under that. In my heart, my big goal was an elusive (to me) sub 2, but I would have been happy and content if I finished somewhere between 2:00-2:05.

Official Chip Time:

2:12. Wanted to punch someone. Still do.

Background Story:

In June, I hired a coach to help me get better, stronger and more confident as a runner. I wanted some type of structure to my running instead of “Oh, I’ll just run xx miles today!” with random paces and routes. I have never run competitively against myself. It has always been “if I do well, I do well. If I don’t do well then just tell yourself you’ll get serious next time.” I spent the summer trying to hit paces that I certainly never thought I could. I ended up with a PR at the Shoreline Half Marathon, a PR in my 15k in September and a PR in my 5k time. But still…I really wanted to truly rock a half marathon and feel like I genuinely earned it.

Pre-Race

Ryan and the kids graciously came with me to Syracuse to stay in the hotel overnight so I wouldn’t have to drive at 4am. The evening beforehand, I ate a bowl of pasta and some bread, stayed on top of my hydration and did everything I usually do the night before a race. I slept fine, got up on time, ate my protein pancakes with some coffee and water and waited around in the minor league baseball stadium that was the site of both the start and finish. Maybe I got there too early because and had too much time on my hands because by 7:40am, I was feeling worried. I was worried about the weather, my outfit, my stomach…everything.

Race

Well, let’s be honest here: I started out too fast. My coach told me to take it easy the first few miles because of the temperature + humidity, but I’m a dumbass. I was like “bitches, I feel great! I’m going to win this shit!” I cruised between a 8:54-9:36 mile for the first six miles. But then I realized that we weren’t at the turnaround yet and I was getting tired already. I ate my applesauce pouch, grabbed some Gatorade and the feeling didn’t go away. Every step felt like a step backwards, if that makes sense. When we reached the turnaround, I grabbed my phone and dramatically texted Ryan and Jen to tell them not to come to the finish line because I wasn’t going to do well (spoiler alert: they still came). At that point, the humidity had peaked and I felt like I wasn’t pulling in enough air. In a race that was going well, I probably would have pushed through it or wouldn’t have even noticed it, but I became hyper aware of my tired legs, asthmatic chest and the feeling of a rock in my shoe (spoiler alert: NOT a rock. Just a giant blister that formed and burst for the last 5 miles. Such a win!). Everything was bothering me. I could feel tears coming around mile 8 and that’s when I ripped off my pace bracelet I had made, knowing full-well that a PR was out of the question. I didn’t need a reminder on my wrist of my failure for the next 50 or so minutes.

Once I reached the 10 mile mark, I tried to switch my mindset to “it’s just a 5k. Don’t stop running.” Even though it was slow for me (10:30-11:00), I just wanted to finish with maximum effort. No walk breaks- just bust it out and get it over with. Running slow is still running.

I turned on my hispanic music and “cruised” to a 2:12 finish time.

Conclusion:

I’m unhappy and upset. I’m aware that it’s “just a race” and that “I still finished” and all that other kind-hearted, well-intentioned stuff, but I really, REALLY hate not reaching a goal. Especially one that I put my heart into. Furthermore, I didn’t fail because I didn’t put in the work. I failed because I didn’t believe I could do it. Total case of self-sabotage and self-doubt.

I’m upset that this is how my “season” ends– feeling bitter and defeated. I will have to wait months and months to redeem myself.

But moving forward, I hope to train hard again and hit my goal in the spring. But for now? Wine, pity and cookies.

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