I’m just going to come right out and say it: It was not my day. This doesn’t mean it was my worst day, but it wasn’t my best — and certainly wasn’t my day for a PR. Sigh.
It happens to the best of us, right?
The temps were fairly mild, but it was humid. Some drizzle and cloud cover had lingered longer than expected, so before we — me and two friends — left our covered area to head to the start line, we were surprised to see a good, steady downpour. So surprised, in fact, that we frantically searched around for clean trash bags to use as make-shift ponchos. Once we found some, we headed up the street to wait at the starting line. Luckily, the rain subsided long enough for us to make our way up a few blocks in downtown Richmond, VA, to wait in our wave of the half marathon start.
I immediately found the 2:00 hour pacers. My plan was to tail them until mile 12, then try to get ahead of them for the last mile of the race. This all went according to plan — and I was feeling good — until mile four. At mile four, well, I had to potty, and frankly, I couldn’t hold it for nine more miles. It also started raining again, not a downpour, but enough to play a few mind games with me.
Unfortunately, the potty issue has plagued me all year, so this was nothing new. At the sight of the first port-a-john, I jumped off the course, only to find I was not alone in needing to go — and so I waited a good minute for one to become available. All the while, I was panicking that my pacers were long gone. I did my business, flew out of the bathroom and ran like a crazy woman to catch the pacers again. I never found them — and got a little fatigued in my frantic search. I was running too fast to find them, the rain was messing with me, plus, with all the cloud cover, my Garmin never located any satellites so when I looked to check my pace, I got nothing. And so the head games began.
At mile five everything was fine. My time seemed to be on track, but I was still not feeling right about my pacer-plan falling to pieces. Then, my 10K was good, but I started remembering how that section of the course got to me last year and something just flipped. I needed to walk. Then I was OK. Started running. Walked again. Ran some more. And I continued this walk-run head game until mile 10. It was all mental — and I’ve done this before. I’m not quite sure how to push past this, to be honest. It only seems to happen during races.
At mile 10 I started pacing with someone and felt better. This technique has helped me focus myself before, especially if I find someone who’s just a tad speedier than me. I stuck with that person for a while then lost her at a water station. By then, mile 12, I was feeling good again. I realized my sub-two was lost, but I also realized I had run much worse races — like the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon back in June.
And I look forward to it…
So what’s next? Well, I definitely want to hit 1,000 miles by the end of the year, so I think I’ll map a running plan that gets me there me. You see, although I didn’t hit my time goal, I will tell you that I’ve never felt stronger. All that focused training has been good — good for my body, good for my mind (except in races, apparently) and good for my drive. So whatever plan I map out and post in my next update will include the same speed work and weekly long run. It’s been a good, so why change it now?
Also, I’ll talk more about the amazing weekend I spent with my blog partners (and how my sweet husband spoiled the three of us) in my next post. It’s too much to add to a race recap and I wouldn’t do it justice. But it was comforting to be surrounded my two closest girlfriends this weekend. They are so different and so much alike — and it was nice to just sit and enjoy their company.