Thursday, June 7, 2012

The PR inducing-but-that-wasn’t-good-enough-for-me-not-to-be-pissy Half-Marathon Race Recap

Sunburst Race Recap

Ok. It’s time. Ok, it’s really beyond time. So, here goes nothing…

Yes, I PRed in this race. No, I did not meet my goal. So, there it is. Basically what I’m saying is that I have NO reason to whine and be pissy and sad, but I still am. Hey, at least I’m honest.

I know I said in this “oh I love running so much” post that I didn’t have a goal for the Sunburst. Yeah, that was a big, fat lie. I had a goal. I was too chicken shit to say my goal out loud to anyone but the Hubs. I wanted to break 2 hours. Ambitious? Freaking crazy fast? Yes and yes. I thought it was still an attainable goal, though. In the 25K I had a 9:24 pace for 15.5 miles. I thought a 9:09 pace for 13.1 miles would be do-able.

Spoiler alert: NOT SO MUCH AT ALL.

So, Friday late afternoon… ya know… around the time I picked up my packet… I realized “HELLO, MEAGAN. You’re running a half marathon RACE tomorrow. A race you hope to break 2:00 in. HELLO.” Up to this point I honestly hadn’t really given it much thought. I mean, I KNEW I had it this weekend… but, I guess I was just in mega denial about it or something. Either way, Friday afternoon rolled around, I picked up my packet at the “expo” and suddenly, BAM! Panic mode. I have a RACE tomorrow. I took Friday as a rest day… that’s about when my pre-race good life choices end. I had not carb-loaded anything up to this point. I hadn’t slept extra or really tapered all that much. I hadn’t even drunk a single SIP of water the entire day. At all. Awesome. Great move, Meagan.

So, I started panicking. Naturally. What was I supposed to wear? Should I try to chug some water now? What if I go out to fast? I’m going to suck! OMG! Why am I doing this? Maybe I just won’t start? What if I get crazy bored? Do I wear shorts or capris? Where’s my lucky head band? And on. And on. And on. Poor Hubs that night. I feel for the guy for putting up with that amount of all out bat shit crazy all night. I’m a jem, I tell you.

Anyway, I did some light carb loading Friday night. Drank 2 glasses of water before bed and got into bed around 10:30pm. 

And then tossed and turned and pretty much didn’t sleep at all for the next seven and a half hours. Awesome.

Of course this lead to a great mental freak out all morning while I was getting ready. I mean, duh.

Anyway—I had an English muffin with PB for breakfast at about 6:40 and was out the door by 6:45am for the 7:30 start. The race was only like 10 minute away and I got there with no traffic and had no problem finding parking. Spoiler Alert: These were the last good things of the day.

I parked, decided to wear a long sleeve shirt, and left the parking garage (I was on the top level of 6… for future reference). I walked all the way to the start (about 3 blocks away) and FREAKED out that I’d be too hot. So, naturally, I walked ALL THE WAY BACK TO MY CAR to leave my long sleeve shirt. I then went back down the 6 flights of stairs to immediately change my mind again, go back up 6 flights of stairs, grab the LS shirt, walk back down 6 flights of stairs, and go back to the start line. I AM AWESOME AT LIFE CHOICES.

When I go to the race area I was amazed: NO PORTA POTTIES ANYWHERE IN SIGHT.
This is NOT what I saw. This pic is NOT from my race(pic source). This would have looked like HEAVEN to me at this point. I would have given just about anything to have seen this.

I mean it. None. I asked like 14 random people—no one had seen then. WTF, Sunburst? C’mon now. So, that was awesome. By this point it was taking all my mental energy to not have a nervous breakdown in the middle of the street. I sucked up it, told myself I’d go a the first ones I saw mid-race, and got ready to start, seeing as how the gun was gonna go off in less than 3 minutes.

Go time.

Gun went off and off I went.

Mile 1: Stupid Garmin was acting batshit crazy, so I have no idea. I restarted it and actually hit “start” again at exactly the 1 mile marker, so I have no way of knowing what my mile 1 time was… but, based on my Garmin total time and my chip race time, it was around a 8:15. Yeaaaaaah. You know that whole going out too fast thing? Yeah… that’s about right.

Mile 2: 8:51
Though I KNEW I was going too fast, I thought I felt OK. My legs were feeling fine, my left ankle that’s been crazy achey lately was feeling fresh. The weather was gorgeous. The scenary was nice and it was a crowded, but not over crowded course. I told myself to keep with this pace through the 5K marker, to give me some cushion, then back down to a 9:10 pace.

Mile 3: 8:38
Whoops. I mean… WTF was I thinking? There was an UPHILL this mile too. Seriously. I must have thought I was Kara Goucher all the sudden. Idiot, Meagan.

(Source. Thank you, Brightroom!)
Mile 4: 9:04
Mile 5: 9:08
Clearly started to fade a bit… I was happy I was still holding onto sub 9:10s, though retrospectively I should have MADE MYSELF slow down TO 9:10s. I was being an arrogant ass. I thought if I could hang on til the 10K point or the half-point, then I could slow a bit and just coast til the end. This plan seemed to work for the 25K. It didn’t cross my mind that during that 25K, the pace I was “holding onto” was MUCH MORE MANAGLE and at my level. I never claimed to be smart.

Mile 6: 9:00
I saw the hubs this mile, so that was a nice boost. However, immediately after passing him and seeing that I was only half-way-ish, I knew my legs were SHOT and there was no way to sustain this pace. Immediately my mental game was out the window.

This is the sole pic the Hubs got of me while running. The camera battery died while he was taking "test shots" later. Poor guy. He tried so hard!

Mile 7: 9:15
Mile 8: 9:37
Mile 9: 10:00
Mile 10: 10:19
Mile 11: 10:20
Miles 7-11 were the hardest miles I think I’ve ever run. I honestly couldn’t get myself out of bad-self-talk. It was the first time I’ve ever seriously thought about just stopping and not finishing a race. Luckily, I had given the Hubs my car key when I saw him so I knew that wasn’t an option…but, I did spend a solid half-mile thinking of all the factors to see if there was any way I could swing it.

Mile 12: 10:45
Mile 13: 10:54

Miles 12-13 got even worse. I had to WALK up a hill and again 2 time. Ok, they were only for 8-10 seconds each… seriously… but, still. I had to WALK. I was getting some crazy cramps in my legs and I was just OVER it and crabby and HATED RUNNING and wanted to CRY and… ugh. I was beating myself up mentally worse that I probably ever have. I’d repeat some of the things I said to myself, but you’d likely try to get me committed for self-abuse, so let’s just leave it with this: it was bad and my mental game was TERRIBLE.

Mile 13.25 (SERIOUSLY! Why are races never SHORT? Why are they always LONG?) 2:19 
This is NOT me finishing. This is the pic the Hubs took as a "practice" while he was waiting for me to finish. You know, because he got bored because I was over SIX MINUTES LATER THAN I SAID I WOULD BE. But, who's counting?? 

DONE. Finish line crossed.  So, that was the race. First half, great. Second half, TERRIBLE. 
OK.. THIS is me! (Source. Thank you again, Brightroom!)

Official chip time: 2:06:55. 
(Source. Thank you again, Brightroom!)

I should note up to the 6 mile point I had only seen ONE porta potty and it had a HUGE line. I had to go. BAD. But, I’m not a pee in the woods-er. And, if I’m being honest, this wasn’t just a pee-situation. So, I was extremely uncomfortable the whole freaking race. I didn’t see another porta potty the entire course. Stupid. 

I should also note, I took the 1 Gu I brought with me (because the race course SAID there would be Gu’s on the course… yea, about that… ) at mile 6. I kept my eyes out the entire rest of the course for Gu’s and didn’t see them at any rest stop. I took water at most stops and Gatorade at 3 (because they didn’t have water at those!!! Whaaaat?!?!). I wouldn’t have taken so much Gatorade… I think it made my tummy even more upset and was just not settling right. Between not fueling enough, the sugary Gatorade, and not having access to a bathroom I felt NAUSEOUS, just plain GROSS and beyond UNCOMFORTABLE for the race of the race.

Clearly, the whole learning to pace myself and not starting out too fast thing are still things on my to-do list.

I crossed the finish line in almost tears and it took everything in me not to cry. I grabbed my medal, a few cups of water, a mini-bagel (though I did NOT want to eat it… I still felt SO crummy), found the Hubs and got outta there as fast as possible. The Hubs stopped to get me ice on the way home and an excruciating ice bath, hot shower, and a banana later and I was back to normal-ish. Still grumpy. Still disappointed in myself. But, kinda “over it”.

I knew what I did wrong. I knew there was nothing I could do about it. It just WASN’T MY RACE. Happens. I was grumpy about it all weekend… but, whatever. It is what it is. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t hydrate well enough, if it was because I simply went out too fast, if it was because I didn’t fuel well enough during the race, if it was simply not a good running day for me... the “if’s” could go on and on. At the end of the day, I’ll never know. All I know is it wasn’t meant to be. Well, I know one more thing too—there will be more races. The world didn’t end. Life goes on. I still love running. Ok, I hated it for like 45 minutes that day, but I love it again. Dammit, running—I just can’t quit you. And, I’m totally good with that.

This wasn’t my race. That’s OK. I’ll have others.

And, I know what I need to work on the MOST right now. It’s not speed or hills or pace runs or tempo runs or fartleks. It’s my MENTAL GAME. 100%. So, I’m working on. I’m working on POSITIVITY during runs.

Anyone have any fail-safe methods for not being an asshole to yourself mid-craptastic-run? I’ll take all the advice I can get!

So, there it was. The extremely dramatic recap of a PR inducing-but-that-wasn’t-good-enough-for-me-not-to-be-pissy half-marathon race.

I leave you with this quite-fitting quote I got today from Runner’s World:
“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else.” -John Bingham, No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running


  1. ah - mental game and not being as prepared as you would have liked (which also affects your mental game) definitely played a role. but you're right - it happens, not the end of the world, plus you still got a PR. most people cannot say they had such a "crappy" race and got a PR!! (I put crappy in "s for emphasis on how it really wasn't a crappy race at all!!!) you got out there and ran. at the end of the day that's the most important thing. so give yourself credit and move onto the next race! :)

  2. YUP - Kara's right, I agree! And you know what - yes, your mental game might be your #1 to work on right now...but I also have to say that your mental game also got you THROUGH this race to the FINISH LINE, and that's something to be proud of too. Even though your brain was playing games, you still pushed it and made it. I have to say - I'm proud of you darling! And, just for good measure, you'll kick the next ones a**, thanks to this little stumble, no doubt!!