Written Monday, 28 August 2017.
I went into this race aiming for a sub-2 half marathon. I didn’t get it.
Pros: The course itself was gorgeous. I was grateful to be able to drive up with Brad and his friends Kaden and BreeAnn, and BreeAnn and I actually ran the first 9 miles together, which was a pleasant surprise (a lot of people have different paces and such, so it was a tender mercy to have her, someone I had just met, to run with). There were times when I’d look up and just be amazed that I was running in this lush forest. It was gorgeous. And it was all downhill, which helped me keep my pace up and felt fun and fast.
Cons: The downhill killed my legs. I noticed this probably while I stopped to walk an aid station around mile 4 or 6. My legs were jello even then. People had told me this, but I had trained some downhill, and my last half was downhill as well down American Fork Canyon, but not THIS kind of downhill.
Haley taped my shoulder the night before the race (thank you KT Tape and Haley!) and I stretched it in the morning and right before the race. It hurt from probably miles 2-4 though, until BreeAnne helped me stretch it at I think the mile 4 aid station. Because of my shoulder, I feel like I was very self-aware the whole race, noticing my posture, re-adjusting slightly here and there when I felt an ache or imbalance anywhere (That was a pro I guess!). About halfway through the race, around miles 6 or 8, I reached up to wipe sweat from my forehead… and there was none. And that was a red flag for me because I always sweat A TON. So I knew something was up. At each aid station after that I tried to drink a bit more water but I never started sweating, or at least not noticeably.
At about mile 11, there was one of those mister things set up for runners to run through and cool off. I thought, this will be great! I’m out of the canyon now and there’s a lot of sun. This will feel good. I ran through, it was very chilly water, and I had goosebumps for the last two miles. My body just couldn’t deal.
After mile 10, like during my last (and first) half marathon, I struggled a lot. I had to keep walking here and there, and the last 1.5 miles were the worst. Mentally I was like, I only have 1.5 left, that’s nothing, I should just be able to push through it. But I couldn’t. I had a short wave of nausea and had to pause briefly yet again with only .2 miles left and a guy I know ran up beside me and I think just thought I was ridiculous. (And I felt a lot of shame about that moment later in the day, during my post-race emotional crash).
Pro: I finished the race and saw Haley, Deon, and Masson at the finish line, cheering me on, taking photos and videos, then sitting with me, getting me extra water, and loving me even though I was wiped out. Then I drank chocolate milk (SO GOOD), and we went out to breakfast at Denny’s.
Con: I didn’t get my goal time. If we go by official race results, I did PR by about 3 minutes, but that’s because during the first race, my running buddy stopped to use the restroom and I paused my Garmin.
If we go by my Garmin, I missed my goal time by 1 minute. I’m pretty disappointed. My official finish time (official race results + Garmin) for this race was two hours and 1 minute.
Also, the post-race blues, as Sam called them. I emotionally crashed. I had to go to work right afterward and I physically did better than I thought, but emotionally I just crashed. I paused at work to text a couple friends and just get it out. I was also doubting my abilities as a runner, and reconsidering my focus there (as in, maybe I should focus on a different distance or something).
Pro: My chat with Sam on Sunday. I told him what I experienced (not sweating, having chills, having little energy during the last 3 miles, that brief bit of nausea, and being bummed about not getting my sub-2 hour half marathon), and he told me: I was severely dehydrated, likely had heat exhaustion, and Sam —now an amazing ultra runner and placing in/winning 5k’s whenever he runs them— it took him a year to get his sub-2 hour half marathon. And now look where he’s at. (If you don’t know where he’s at, listen to my podcast interview with him because he is AWESOME and has worked so hard to get there). Chatting with Sam made me feel a lot better. (I guess put in the word “severe” and it kind of makes it all more legit?). I really did give it all I had. And I will take a break from running for a few days, practice better hydration during long runs, and see where I am at then.
Side note on hydration: It really did surprise me that I was dehydrated. I had been drinking a lot and eating well the day before, started my morning with water and half a Nuun tablet, and drunk a bit before the race and at every aid station. And TMI, my pee looked fine! Haha! (Runners are gross). But Sam noted that if my body didn’t have the salt to absorb it, something something something science. Ha! I don’t know. I’m not an expert. But it’s stuff I will figure out. Learning and moving forward.
I’m still disappointed about this race. The race t-shirt is so soft and I don’t even want to wear it because I’m bitter. Ha! My legs are tight and sore, more than I remember experiencing, and more than I thought possible.
But, happy things: friends, mountains, and finishing something hard. I’ll work on focusing on that.