Carmel Half Marathon
April 18, 2015
Time: 1:56:21 Pace 8:53
Division: F30-34, 31/183
8K: 42:38 Pace 8:35 Rank 456
Half: 56:44 Last 6.55 59:37 Rate 2nd Half 9:06
This post is long over due given that the race was just over three months ago. I’ve had mixed feelings about running the past few months. I had lost my joy for running. I didn’t want to run and I didn’t want to write about it. So better late then never.
I had high hopes of breaking 1:50 for this race. However, my performance at the Shamrock Marathon a month prior left me doubting myself. Even though I ran over the winter and forced myself to get outside and run in the snow, I was inconsistent. And after my marathon, I took two weeks off before running again. I just needed a break. If I had come off of a PR, I would have ridden that high through my next two 13.1’s. During those two weeks I went to hot yoga and started up computrainer sessions again. So in the span of the month between Shamrock and Carmel, I only ran four times – two easy runs and two tempo runs.
I had it in the back of my mind that I wasn’t going to PR. Even though I wanted to so I could get my running spirit back, I just had a feeling that I didn’t have it in me. My heart wasn’t into it. I was more excited to start triathlon training and was burnt out on running. Bryan told me to still go for my goal of 8:20-8:25 pace even though I had my doubts.
The morning of the race, I did my usual gag on food and drove to the start. It felt weird driving by myself. Bryan and I have always gone to races together (except for both times I ran the Firecracker 6). It’s comforting to hear Bryan’s words of encouragement, but this time it was just me and my own head getting in the way. Bryan had a 100 mile ride for his Ironman Texas training so he said he would meet me around mile 9 on the course and also see me at the finish.
When I got to gear check, I stretched in my sweats before turning them in. It was somewhat chilly so I wanted to hold onto the warmth as long as possible. As I walked to the start to get in my starting position, I just felt off. I was tired. I was….just off. Instead of start corrals by estimated finish time that are assigned and listed on your race bib, the start area is divided into pace. I don’t like this because people always think they are going to run faster or slow people get in the front and then I have to dodge walkers within the first five minutes of the race. As expected when the race started, I couldn’t get into a rhythm. People in “faster” pace areas were already walking and I had to dodge and almost speed walk because there was no room to pass. For a few minutes, it was worse than dodging people during the Mini Marathon. After about five minutes, I could finally manage to get around people.
As we ran through neighborhoods, I was able to manage holding my goal pace for the first 4 miles and then I was mentally and physically done. My pace gradually started to slow. It was now a battle between what I should do — persevere and push harder, and what I wanted to do — just slow down. My mind finally gave way. I slowed down, just enough to hopefully still get a PR even though I wouldn’t break 1:50. Around mile 6-ish, I ran along a long east to west stretch of rollers. It didn’t seem like it was a big incline but it was a long, slow incline which I hate. After a mile or so of this I came unglued. I thought to myself, ‘why am I doing this?’ I’m not having fun.
While running I tried to figure out when I stopped enjoying running. I couldn’t really pinpoint it. I was obviously in a funk and hopefully I would snap out of it soon. As I was getting close to mile 9, I knew I would see Bryan so I tried to suck it up while I could. I then realized how warm outside it had become and that I had not taken in any gatorade or salt pills. I had somehow missed all the stations with gatorade and was only taking in water along with my two gels. But with my sweat rate being as high as it is and being a salty sweater, I needed electrolytes. I guess I was still in winter running mode where I don’t sweat as much. No wonder, I pooped out so early! Now if my mind had not have gotten in the way then maybe I would have focused more on my gatorade intake and not my woe is me I’m a sad runner moment. Geesh…you would think I was a rookie with that move.
But the damage had already been done and I couldn’t pick up my legs any faster. I was excited to see Bryan but dreading to tell him my pace and poor performance. He found me around mile 11-ish. He was looking good on his tri bike while I was struggling along. I told him pace and that I just wasn’t into it and he told me just push through the last couple miles. Knowing that the quicker I ran the sooner I would be finished, I started to pick my pace back up and push through those last two miles.
As I ran through downtown Carmel, I saw a few familiar faces – members of our Tri-Loco triathlon team cheering on all the runners. It gave me a tiny spark to make it up the final hill before approaching the finish. It seemed like the longest hill ever even though it wasn’t that big. I don’t even know if I did my usual kick into the finish, I think I just kinda finished. It seems so long ago now that I don’t remember that much about the end of the race other than it seemed more like a training run than a race.
After the race, Bryan pointed out my salty face asking if I had fueled properly. Nope, didn’t fuel correctly at all. Oh well, at least it was another race finished. Not every race will be a PR; I was beginning to learn this quickly after my two performances thus far for 2015. Like my post-marathon epiphany, I realized I need to start using my spring races as tune-up’s and using my fall races as my ‘A’ races. There is always a lesson to be learned and apparently I like to learn the hard way.