October 20, 2012
Time: 2:19:40 Pace: 10:40
Age Group: F25-29, 104/178
5M: 51:11 5M Rate: 10:15 Rank: 1073
Because I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, I was signed up for another half marathon that I did not train for. I had just started going to CrossFit three days a week and was also going to hot yoga twice a week. Seemed good enough for me. The day before the race was frigid and I needed to get cold weather gear to run in – i.e. pants, gloves, ear warmer. Afterwards I met Bryan in Broadripple for some carb loading at Ambrosia. Yum!
The morning of the race was freezing! It was forty degrees! To me anything below 70 is cold so 40 was definitely freezing. I absolutely hate the cold! I hate everything about it. I hate the way it makes my lungs hurt when I take a breath. I hate the way it makes my eyes water. I hate the way it makes my nose runny. I hate the amount of layers I have to put on. I hate the way I feel like I’m baking in an oven when I go inside after being in the cold from all the layers. I hate the way it makes my fingers and toes go numb. I hate the way it makes me want to hibernate. And most of all, I hate running in the cold! I knew I was going to be miserable the entire race.
Somehow I ended up in Coral A…oops! Time to get trampled and passed by all the elite runners including my husband and our friend. I ran with them for about ten seconds before they left me in the dust. So it was just me, my music, and the forty degree temp for the next 13.1 miles. Worst.day.ever. The first three miles were brutal. I didn’t stretch much before the race, so this was my warmup. Once I got moving, I started to feel better. The sun was starting to come out and I was actually getting a little warm with all my layers. But I spoke to soon. The majority of the race was through Ft. Ben State Park, so all of the trees blocked the sunlight and my only chance of warmth. It shaded the course and made it bitterly cold. The only positive was that the course was gorgeous. Since it was fall all the the beautiful colors in the leaves were in full display. Orange, fire red and yellow. Truly breathtaking.
As I was approaching mile 9 or 10-ish, I knew Bryan was already finished and waiting for me. Time to pick it up Melissa so we can get out of this cold! I started to get a second wind but then the hills started. Seriously, why are the hills towards the end of the race?! I attempted to keep my pace and run up the first large hill, but it was so steep it felt like I was just walking/running in place. F*ck this I thought. If I look like I’m walking, I might as well be walking. So that’s what I did…walked up the hills but ran down them. That was my strategy for the rest of the race. As I neared the end, I couldn’t contain my excitement. With each step I was closer to getting out of the cold and into a warm car. And before I knew it, I was approaching the finish.
My strategy worked! Even though I walked up the hills I still beat my Indy Women’s Half time and was just a few minutes shy of my Mini time earlier that summer. And there waiting for me at the finish was Bryan and our friends. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to finish a race because that meant time to get warm! I don’t remember ever being this cold. Growing up playing soccer, our fall season went well into November before starting indoor, so why didn’t I notice the cold then? Do I just not remember? Do we just not pay attention to that sort of thing when we are young? Obviously there was much more going on during soccer such as reacting to the ball and having teammates versus just running and my only companion is myself and my music. Maybe that’s it, maybe I need a running buddy to push me and keep my mind occupied from thinking of how cold I am. Food for thought.
After my post-race cupcake tradition, I had a thought. What kept me going today? What got me through 13.1 miles of pure torture in the cold? I normally wouldn’t even do a training run in the cold, so what kept me from selling/giving my bib to someone else like my husband who decided to run the race the day before? All I knew is that I made a commitment to this race whether I trained for it or not. I had a date with the cold and I couldn’t stand myself up. Then I had another thought. I ran my past two half marathons without training or even running at all. Yes, they were my two worst times of my four half marathons but I still finished them. Just think of how fast I could have ran if I had actually trained or even just ran a few days a week for a month or two before these two races. That’s when I knew that for my next race I needed a training program to follow. A third thought followed. I had only been in CrossFit for the past three weeks leading up to this race, but did CrossFit help me today? Did CrossFit make me just a little bit stronger? Did CrossFit keep me from giving up my bib? At the end of the day, yes I believe CrossFit made me stronger, not physically yet, but mentally. It kept me from throwing up my white flag despite the cold, despite the all the runners that passed me on the course, despite mentally punching myself in the face for not having trained. My final thought. How fast will I run my next half marathon (Mini Marathon 2013) after having done CrossFit all winter and spring and following an actual training program? It came to me full circle, thinking back to CrossFit just as in running, it’s about achieving a level of fitness and strength that I never thought possible until now. By this time I had finished my last bite of cupcake (I could have ate five more) and it was time for me to relax before going to a halloween party that night.