Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Maine Half Marathon: The official slow race report!

After my epic beer race report of yesterday I thought it would be prudent and adult of me to type up something a bit more legit for today. Don't ask me why, as my post yesterday pretty much summed it up!

Let's backtrack for some second.
- I did not train for this shiz AT ALL. My last run over 7-8 miles was in APRIL. I did NOT follow a training plan, I did NOT PLAN at all!
-This meant that I did not have time to suffer any over training injuries (well, duh. I have been on a "taper" since May!)

Let's now take a look at Sunday morning.
I woke up with a fresh shiny new cold. REALLY??? Really. Oh well.
The weather was amazingly bad and it is hard to amaze me with bad weather. OH WELL.

Off I went in the dark, rain and cold. I was feeling pretty good about things because why the hell not? Nothing says "here I come" like an old, untrained sick person, right?

I snuck to the start in the nick of time (parking took a bit) but what luck... It was pouring buckets so I managed to stay fairly dry until the gun went off. Being that I got there last I was way back in the pack at the start- I think it took over 3 minutes to actually cross the start line!
(good think I put my number on sideways so that it could be read properly. Other MM participants will know what I mean.)

Before mile 1 arrived my feet were already more wet than they have ever been before. As the race progresses I was seeing some horrific blisters on other runners- I have never been so happy to have good socks!

It rained so damn hard! I had on a "waterproof" windbreaker and I ran with the hood pulled up over my head the whole time. It didn't do a bit of good as I was still completely and totally drenched at the end. It was also freezing cold and around mile 4 I began to have serious doubts about the wisdom of walking at all. I was quite nervous that I would get so chilled that I would not be able to get warm again...

I ran at SUCH an easy pace that running the whole thing began to seem like a viable option at the 1/2 turnaround point. I took a moment to evaluate and honestly declared that I felt quite well. VERY wet, but good. At this point I had had to pause once to re-tie my soggy shoes and I had walked thru one water station (thanks to the amazing volunteers who stood around for hours in the awful weather!)

Remembering back to my last half I knew that the second half might sneak up and get me. I still have vivid and unpleasant memories of having to talk myself into taking every step of the final 5 miles last time... I did not enjoy that. As it turned out this time I had plenty of gas left in the tank- remarkable considering my lack of long runs. During the second half I ran each mile faster than the previous one, passing people along the way.

I knew that making it in under 2:10 was going to be almost impossible given my 10K split but I ran along in a comfortable pace, checking out the scenery, laughing at the beer drinking boys at mile 11 who (from their porch) screamed "whooooo-hooooo" whenever a group of ladies ran by, and in general really enjoying my run.

As much as I enjoyed the whole epic 13.1 I was still glad to see the finish and VERY pleased to run under the clock in 2:06:50 (final net time was 2:04:09) As you all know this is MUCH slower than my PR but MUCH better than I had ever hoped for!

I had a lot to think about on my drive home.
-Clearly I made the right choice to run within my "comfort zone" as the odds of an injury with my lack of training were higher than I would have liked.
-I enjoyed this run tremendously, head cold and weather and all...

And this makes me wonder, should I just be cool with running slower than I feel I should in the name of "enjoying" it? Usually I would scream a resounding "NO" as I feel mediocrity in the name of comfort is one of the seven deadly sins!

But let's face it people: I am no elite runner nor will I ever be. Why push myself to the point of vomiting and burnout? Perhaps I can find a balance- I would prefer to be finishing in under 2 hours (seems do-able) but perhaps kick aside the goal of consistent 1:45 finishes? (insert some serious doubt *here*)

This was a whole new 13.1 experience for me and one that I honestly thought was terrific. I enjoyed listening to the conversations around me, I liked the fact that I had given myself permission to stop whenever I needed to, and I liked the fact that there was no high pressure and challenging to obtain goal hanging over my head (I have enough of that in the equine show arena, thanks!)

Anyway. I finished, got a tinfoil blanket, ate several bagels, drank a Gatorade and two chocolate milks, went home, ate half a bag of caramel creams and a slice of salmon, goat cheese and asparagus pizza, took a pile of cold meds and sat down.



  1. Love the 4-month taper approach! Good for you for just doing it and enjoying it. And don't feel guilty for that...running is all about enjoyment so if training hard and racing hard isn't your gig, who cares? You're still a runner and you're happy. That's all that matters.

  2. The races that end up being so wonderful are just like a party that you go to with no expectations and it ends up being the best party ever! Congrats on a fabulous run. If I can do my half in 2 hours I will freak out, cause right now I'm looking at 2:20-30 for mine.