....or, It's Been A While Since A Good Old Fashioned Death March.
....or, Why Spring Races are Just Not A Good Idea For Me.
Okay, so I'm still a little bitter. But the sting is wearing off a bit and I'm trying to keep the chin up and stay positive. Long story short? My phone said 100% humidity. All day. Is that even possible? Is it a swimming pool? Because it felt like it sort of was. And humidity and I just don't get along well. Humidity likes to smack me upside the head like 658,943 times per hour.
So needless to say, my super stretch goal of sub-1:40 was quite laughable. I ended up with a chip time of 1:49:53, which was a full 10 minutes of this goal. However, it was only 2 1/2 minutes or so off my previous PR, which is old and not really what I can do now, but still. Little victories.
The best part about today was kind of like what happened at Cleveland last year. I'm to the point in my racing where my absolute, wheels-fall-off, want to quit races are still not too far off from what used to be my best. So I'm not allowed to be too upset here.
Oh, and pretty much everyone I know had crappy days. Like, most of my marathoner friends were at LEAST 30 minutes off their goal times. THIRTY. MINUTES.
Those poor, poor souls shuffling up the Shoreway...I felt really bad for them while I was drinking my Great Lakes in the Beer Garden after the race. No really, I swear. I did!
I knew this would be tough, but I guess I didn't realize how tough. My teammate Mike posted this article about running in humidity and I would say, yeah, that sounds about right. The pace I could barely--BARELY--hold today was equal to or slower than the pace that I did a good amount of my long runs. So it was pretty dejecting, but again, everyone had to deal with it, so times were slow across the board.
I started off between the 3:15 and 3:25 pace groups and lined up right by my teammate Jen and the super awesome Meredith who came into town after having a frustrating race in Athens--I was like, oh, hey! That was completely me last year! And what are the odds I'd like up in between both of them in a race of 20,000?! That was cool.
The first 2-3 miles I was right on pace, but it felt WAAAAYYYYY too hard. I knew I was done for, like, before I hit mile 3. I thought, well, maybe I can just PR today, since that should be something I can do in my sleep at this point as my training was spot-on all winter and spring.
Around mile 3 I started to get angry. Really, really angry. I was swearing under my breath, and not under my breath. Seriously. I DON'T LIVE IN THE SOUTHEAST FOR A REASON PEOPLE. Why was this happening? I was PISSED. Then I saw Laura from Salty Running. She's a total badass, and she had a disappointing mile 2 of the 10k (still, her mile 2 was a pace I rarely EVER see, but it meant that she should probably drop out seeing she's an elite). She asked if I wanted some company, and of course I said yes.
She stayed with me the entire race. We held hands at the finish, and then I hugged her and cried. Because, friends. And because, FRUSTRATION. But mostly friends. That was awesome, and there was NO FREAKING WAY I would have finished without her there pushing me. Or at least I would have spent the last 5k walking if it weren't for her chipper encouragement/harassment to get over the hills and catch "that girl in the teal shirt." I love her. Thanks, Salty. You are the true embodiment of everything that's right with this sport, and I can't thank you enough.
I kept seeing my new Spin-Second Sole Multisport Teammates on the course and it was so great to see them. They have been awesome about welcoming me to the team, and I certainly didn't want to let them down with my first race in the new kit! So I kept pushing every time I saw them, which was quite often. I saw them on bikes, pushing strollers, cheering loudly, AND running. They are good people. I am really looking forward to being a part of them!
My favorite part of the race was at mile 9, when my friend Noelle literally ran onto the course yelling--nay, DEMANDING--that I "open up my shirt" so she could stuff ice cubes down my sportsbra. Seriously--I love it. She had asked the night before if I'd need anything and I looked at the weather report and said, "how about some ice?" She decided that just giving me the ice wasn't enough--she wanted to help deliver it. Best support crew ever, and I'm pretty sure most people in the crowd were laughing
Also, I ran into my friend Marie who was KILLING IT at Mile 10 and smiling like it was no big deal. It was great to see her and finally see one person who actually looked like they were having a great race! She finished really strong and I definitely need to talk her into Columbus. Hear that, Marie? I'm coming for you...
Afterwards I paused for a few pictures, but I hid my race bib because I could just tell this was a race I wasn't going to really want to pay ridiculous amounts to document anyway. So these two pictures are the best ones I have:
Me, and the super awesome Salty--
And me, and the also amazing Krystal, enjoying our very much deserved Great Lakes Brews:
No other pictures are needed from this race. Those are the only ones I need.
When all was said and done, my 1:49.53 was good enough for 21/418 in the F35-39 AG. So as rotten as I felt and as disappointed as I was, I can't be too upset with that. It was rough for everyone, and that showed it.
I know I have a faster half in me, but today was not the day. I think what the past two years of training have done is change my mindset from "That Was A Wasted Training Session" to "WHATEVER. I Am Fitter Now So Screw You Humidity." I have a great base going into tri season (and yay! Tri season!) and I'll continue to focus on getting stronger to have a great race in Columbus this fall.
Any finish line is a good finish line, my friends. Today was still a great day, just not for the reasons I expected it to be.
On to the next goal!