I suppose many weeks have gone by, and this has been written but not published. So here it is. This race SUCKED in a big way. The GI distress was AWFUL. I can only hope my next race (in about 36 hours!) goes better!
Race: On Sunday, 4/15/18, I ran Run the South Greensboro, a local half marathon that I’d been looking forward to for a few months now.
Goal: My goal at nearly every race is to PR, which would mean 1:48 for the half marathon for me. Unfortunately this training cycle just hasn’t been great… Vacation in February where I took a week off, came back and got a nasty cold, gave blood in March and felt weak for WEEKS, and just a feeling of total “Blahness” which made me wonder if it was something physical (anemia? New shoes that don’t fit exactly right?), mental (believing that I am lacking iron and/or red blood cells and therefore I feel weak because of the belief that I should feel weak), or a combo. Or is it something else entirely? So I went into this race with no expectations, and just wanted to run happy and run by feel. I figured if I couldn’t get a PR, then anywhere between 1:50 – 1:55 would be a decent run time, based on my current fitness.
Gear: Oiselle Fly tank and shorts, North Face stash bra (to carry my GU’s), SmartWool undies and socks, Mizuno Wave Riders, Garmin 235 and iPod. Also, my fuel belt with Nuun Endurance formula, which I tried a total of 1 time (during my 11 mile run two weeks ago).
Gut: I woke up at 4 AM to eat my half banana, and PB&J, as per usual. I washed it down with nearly 16 oz of Nuun electrolytes, then went back to bed for an hour. Felt great headed into the race!
Weather: 60’s and partly cloudy… gorgeous!
Pre-race: I parked at Regal Cinemas around 6:15ish, and saw there were only 3 Porta Johns. Say what?! Turns out not many people signed up for the race, so they didn’t have too many facilities. Still felt great, did my warm-up routine, and at 7 sharp, we set off on the half marathon course!
I have zero pics of me running, save for the finish line ones…
Race: The route went behind Friendly Center through some neighborhoods, onto Hobbs Road from miles 2-4, and eventually to the Greenway (bicentennial trail) near where I used to work, near the Leonard Rec Center. I told Javi to wait at the Rec Center (turnaround) and I’d be there around 8 AM. The first miles went fine, and I actually felt pretty great for a little while. I tried not to go too fast and just conserve. I ended up running with a young guy for most of it. As I got onto the greenway, mile 6, I started to feel the first wave of GI distress. I had taken half a GU at mile 4, and rinsed it down with my Nuun endurance formula. I wondered if it was the caffeine in the GU, and/or the endurance formula, that just didn’t sit well with my stomach?
I was still in decent shape as I came to the turnaround. Gabe was happy to see me and ran with me for a bit, and Asher joined. I wish I had a picture of that! I told them I needed to use the bathroom, cuz I felt like I needed to pee (another sign of the looming distress… for me it starts with the feeling of having to pee). I ran to the turnaround, and thankfully there was a Porta John right there, and the person in it came out right when I got to it, so the timing was great. Unfortunately, by stopping, I lost some momentum and ended up feeling worse. I gave my fuel belt to Javi, gave each of the boys a kiss, and was on my way!
I could tell I just didn’t have 6 miles left in me, and I hate to admit this, but I sorta gave up at that moment. I knew my time was gonna be crap, so it went from “Yeah let’s run this hard!” to “OK, let’s just get this done.” I hated to have a crummy attitude but I just knew it wasn’t going to be my day.
Heading up to mile 8, I felt worse and worse, and finally took some walking breaks to help my stomach cramps subside. I got passed by a bunch of ladies, which never feels good, considering I was in maybe 4th or 5th place at the turnaround. I thought back to the Richmond half marathon, walking from miles 8 to 12 (that sucked!!) and also the Raleigh RnR race in 2015 where I also felt crummy. This isn’t a new thing for me, but I guess I still haven’t figured out how to prevent it. This time I am positive I was fully hydrated and my gut didn’t have any breakfast left in there… so I’m thinking it must have been the caffeine in the GU, or the Nuun endurance formula, or both. It was also warmer than I’ve been running in lately, so I was a little hot but nothing terrible. Sometimes the heat/humidity does make it worse…so perhaps that did me in??
Anyway…. It went from bad to worse, and after taking multiple walk breaks, I finally had the urge to pull over. I was at 9.5 miles. Thankfully, there was some woodline right when I needed it, with no other runners in sight, so I pulled over and took care of business. I felt a lot better, so I began to run again, down a big hill. I realized then that I was going to have some chafing… Oy. What a day ☹
The last 5K was pretty tough, mentally and physically. I just didn’t feel good. I took walking breaks. I kept moving though, and tried to stay near a guy in front of me. That seems to help, to not feel so alone out on the course. There were volunteers scattered every half mile or so, and their cheers also helped. Lastly, the scenery was gorgeous, as all the trees and flowers are blossoming. I truly enjoyed the scent of spring, as it wafted fragrance (and likely pollen!) into my face for much of the race.
Freakin brutal. ????????♀️Today’s race was another reminder that things don’t always go the way we want, but to never never never give up. GI distress got me today, but I’ll keep getting back out there. I will never give up. ????????♀️ 2 bathroom stops, some very painful chafing ????multiple walk breaks, and then… the realization that I don’t need to feel frustrated or ashamed when this happens. I know I can do better, but in the end, it’s just a race. There’ll be plenty of others. Seeing my boys at the halfway point made my day, and running down the finishing stretch to them is such a great feeling, THAT made it all worth it ???? And winning my age group was a nice surprise too ????????♀️ I ran 2:10:something?! Happy #sundayrunday all ???? . Big thanks to @run_the_south for putting on a great race! The volunteers were amazing, and I’m grateful for the support and the prizes ???? . #halfmarathon #runhappy #run #runningmom #oiselleteamnc #oisellevolée #flystyle #nevergiveup #nevernevernevergiveup #finishline #racepic #motherrunner #irunthisbody #bamr #cantstopwontstop #onefootinfrontoftheother #Greensboro #headupwingsout Pc: @javiervila37 ????
Coming into Friendly Center, I was running solo, but managed to pick it up just a tad for the finish chute. Gabe exclaimed “You took forever!” as I crossed the line. I was hurting and had to sit down. My heart rate was high, my legs were dead, and I really felt like crap.
Results: 2:10:31, a pretty terrible time for me. Only my very first half (VA Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll in 2006) and the Air Force Half Marathon in Iraq in 2008 have been slower—also, Javi & I ran “fun run” style in Raleigh in 2016, so I guess this was my 4th-slowest half out of the 14 total I’ve run. I tried to spin it in a positive way—I didn’t give up—but I still don’t feel great about it cuz I know I can do so much better than this. Imagine my shock when I discovered I’d won 1st place in my age group! Full results here.
I was actually 2 of only 4 in my age group, but #1 was an overall award winner, so I moved up. 9:57/mile is nowhere near where I wanted to be, and kinda extends my running “slump” from the past two races. Blah. I am vowing to start fresh, work on speed, and shake this! I know my best times are ahead of me still, and my potential to get faster is definitely still there. I didn’t feel bad about turning 33 a few days ago, but now I’m starting to 🙁
Recommend? Kind of a tough call.
Pro’s—course was beautiful, with enough water stations (and even GU’s at the turnaround water station–wish I would have known, woulda been 1 less thing to carry). Small field meant easier to get awards (and my age group award was a $20 gift card to Omega Sports, plus a mug). Great spinner medal, and decent muscle style tank top. Finish line photo and video.
Con’s—HILLY like crazy. Very small field meant not a lot of competition, and running by myself for a lot of the race. Very few bathrooms (3 at the start, and 1 at the turnaround).
My Garmin stats:
How do you bounce back from a bad race??
I watched Desi Linden win the Boston Marathon the next day…. that helped me bounce back 🙂
Next up! The Brewsfest Half Marathon in High Point, on 5/12.