Well here we are again. Half recap number 3 (seriously how have I run 3 half-marathons already?) This one didn’t go as planned, or even close, but you’ll read more about that later.
Jim and I decided to make a weekend of the Cleveland Marathon. We went to the Expo on Saturday morning. I was pretty excited when we walked out and he goes “I think one day I want to run a marathon.” (This made me SOOO super happy. Just saying). We went to the Indians game with Christy and then went to Great Lakes Brewing Company afterwards for dinner (how I have I never been there before?) We even bought gigantic cupcakes for after the race from Colossal Cupcakes near our hotel. I had an awesome time on Saturday (minus the lack of figuring out the metro haha). We went to bed really early (like 9:30!) and set out our clothes for the next morning.
Sunday I woke up and my stomach was hurting. This isn’t anything unusual and I just hoped it would go away once I started walking to the race. We followed other people to the start line and I met some of the other bloggers I’ve been talking to and we took a picture. Then we made the long walk to gear check and dropped my bag off with my compression socks. I even ran into Christy that morning (seriously, what are the odds of randomly running into her?!) and we wished each other luck and went to our starting places.
I decided to line up with the 9:33 pacer knowing I could hold onto that time for a while. That would also lead me to my goal time of 2:05 if I could keep that pace. Soon after we lined up, the gun went off and we were off. It took about 5 minutes to get to the start line and Jim told me he was going to stay with me for the first mile so he could see how close the clock was to when we started. But after around .8 miles, he sprinted ahead and left me behind. We normally don’t run together, but I was kind of upset he didn’t stick with me like he had said. Oh well! I ran the first mile in around 9 minutes, which felt okay to me and carried on. Mile 2 was around 9:15 and I thought I would be fine to hold onto that pace the whole time.
Well, I was wrong.
Mile 3 came around and I just felt terrible. Like usually I can run at least 6 miles without being fatigued but this was just so sudden and I was already wiped out. Which isn’t good when you have 10 more miles to go. My thoughts immediately turned negative. “Well, there goes 2:05” so I adjusted my goal to 2:15 knowing how bad I was feeling. I had to stop and walk more than I ever had to before, and I was extremely upset. Part of me wanted to just start crying at mile 6. I had clocked over a 12 minute mile at one point. It was terrible.
However, I decided to keep going with a walk/run pattern. Run to the next water stop, walk until I feel like running again. Now, that didn’t always happen but I tried really hard. It just felt like everything was hurting, my head, my stomach, my legs, my feet. I just felt horrible. I wasn’t in the mood to run nor did I feel like I should have been embarking on 13 miles. My goal increased to under 2:20 and then finally at mile 12 I realized I wouldn’t be hitting that either. At the last water stop, I knew I had to run the rest of it or I’d be even more disappointed. I ended with a faster pace around 8:30 min/mile and at least finished strong at 2:22:47.
I felt like I failed myself. I had such a good race last month that I was expecting great things from this one. After all, this was my goal race! It was supposed to go well! After the race, I received my medal, grabbed some water and chocolate milk and hoped that I would find Jim in the crowd. We stupidly didn’t set up a meeting spot and neither of us had our phones so I was amazed when I saw him a few seconds later. I basically wanted to cry in his arms but I mustered up the fake smile for a picture with him. He told me he finished in 2:05! I was so proud of him for running his first in that time (I mean that’s faster than my best time and he didn’t exactly train that well!). Part of me wished I would’ve stayed with him so I could’ve gotten close to my goal but then the other part of me knew I wouldn’t have been able to keep that pace.
And you know what? That negative attitude killed me. I hate being negative. I hate giving up on myself. But that’s exactly what I did. So instead of dwelling on this race, I’m going to make it a learning experience. I learned how NOT to think during a race. How NOT to give up on myself at mile 3. How NOT to feel bad about taking it a little slower than my goal. Yes, I haven’t run much in the past few weeks, but I had a good reason. I was questioning why I even run by the end. But you know what, I have a marathon in 5 months that I’m going to absolutely dominate. And nothing will stop me.
It sucks that I have to have an awful race to have a wake-up call, but I think this is exactly what I needed. Yes, you have to train your butt off to get better and I didn’t do that in the past month. I have so much time to improve and 2 big races this year to hit my goals in. I have a whole summer to dedicate to running and I’m really going to work on improving my diet and cross training until my training plan for the MCM starts in June.
I do have to say though that the crowd was awesome. I loved all the signs I saw and really liked when the little kids give you high fives. The crowd at the end was fantastic and I was so happy to finish strong with everyone watching. I’m kind of sad that I didn’t get to see more of my blogger friends, but I was glad to walk back to the hotel to get a shower and pack up for my work trip. Did I get the time I wanted? Heck no, but I learned a lot from this race. I finished despite me giving up, and that is something to be proud of.
1. Never, ever, ever give up.
2. Don’t be negative. There’s no point.
3. You’re not going to PR every race you run.
4. There’s always room to improve.
5. Everyone has bad races. One bad race isn’t going to kill you (I mean, I’ve been running for only a little over a year!)
I think I learned some valuable lessons from this experience and here’s to hoping my next race goes a bit more as planned