Monday, June 28, 2010

race recap

I don't think I've ever done a race recap for you guys before and i'm not sure if you'll actually care or want to read it. But, hey, if you do - here it is. If not, re-watch the kitteh cup video. I apologize in advance if it's wordy, it's hard to pare down the summary for an almost 2 1/2 hour race! Here goes nothin' --

My day started at 4:15am. Do you understand how terrible it is like to wake up BEFORE dawn on a Sunday morning? I didn't, until Sunday. The race was set to start at 6:15am and despite being called the 13.1 Boston the race wasn't actually IN Boston. It was about 15ish miles south of the city in Canton. Being the inaugural race, there was no information on the course until very recently. I did look at the website, but there were no elevations listed, not that I could find at least.

Right, so I was up at 4:15am and by 5:00am I was dressed, fed, coffee'd and at my friend Emma's apartment. I was feeling really, really anxious because as you know I'd spent Tuesday through Friday sick in bed with the DJP. Before getting sick I was really hoping to beat my previous PR of 2:22:57. But since I was still feeling a bit congested and despite my hard training, solid long runs, and track workouts, I really had no idea how the race would go. I was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Miles 1-4 were unremarkable, and my pace was steady. At mile 5 the hills started. And excuse my language, but HOLY SHIT that hill was, according to Emma who's run the Boston Marathon, akin to Heartbreak Hill. It was an amazing sight, to see hundreds of people in front of me grind to a halt and start walking. I ran most of the way up the hill and it really tired me out. The frustrating part was that, because of the course layout, I knew I'd have to eventually come the same way. If you look above at the map you'll see that we did out and backs over several segments of the course. It's motivating because you spend a lot of the time running past other participants, but frustrating when so much of it is hills and you feel as though you'll never stop climbing. 

Mile 5 is where I took my first walking break. On the way back on that segment, between miles 7 and 8, is when I walked for the second time. The scenery was pretty as the trees gave way to some nice scenery. Sadly, I couldn't stop cursing the hills long enough to really look around for very long. I don't remember much about miles 8-10. I think there were more hills? I ran past a diner that had a sign in the window that said "cooks wanted". Pretty funny what you remember, eh? I have a tendency to sort of black/zone out in the middle of a long race. I think it's my body's survival tactic. I got pissed at mile 11. There was, surprise!! Another hill! And the hill lasted for what felt like the entire. freaking. mile. It was here that I started losing it - mentally. I had been tired for a while but that's easy to deal with, well easier to deal with than when you start telling yourself that you might not finish the race.

Any runner will tell you that running a race is just as much, if not more so, mental as it is physical. With a solid state of mind, you can cover distances that you didn't thing you were capable of. When your mind turns against you, the body will generally follow soon after. I spent the last 2 miles of the race trying to keep myself together. I really just wanted it over. I wanted the hills to stop. I wanted to cross the finish line. Hell, at one point I didn't even care if I finished the race. My knees were killing me. I could feel my pulse in my head because I was very likely dehydrated. But, at my core, I'm a huge, stubborn a-hole and I basically refused to let this race beat me. I found an energy reserve and ran out the last 1 1/2 miles and finally, FINALLY I crossed the finish line.

I was filled with so many conflicting emotions - pride, disappointment, pain, excitement, more disappointment. I felt cheated by a race that was described as having a "rolling course," and was anything but. I was pissed that I'd gotten sick right before the race. I was angry that I'd let myself fall victim to my own negative thoughts. According to my watch I finished in 2:27:57 - exactly five minutes slower than my PR time (which was on a totally flat course, for what it's worth). After all is said and done, it's pretty awesome that I ran my fourth half marathon. And I guess I'm going to have to run a fifth for that PR...

October anyone?


Stephanie Anne said...

Congrats on the finish!! My brother said the Hills were awful! He finished right behind you at 2:34. glad you had fun & hopefully your not too sore today!

Elizabeth said...

You rock my face.

Unknown said...

thanks steph! i'm glad i'm not the only one who despised the hills.. a big congrats to your brother!

e-beth - you work my WORLD.

dogimo said...




YOU kick ass!

("you" is understood)

Unknown said...

aw thanks joe! you're too sweet!