For some racing is about the your time. And trust me, for the 10+ years I’ve been running road races, that’s what I’ve focused on. Which is probably why, when I don’t PR or hit my goal or expectation, I’m met with a feeling of disappointment.
Sunday wasn’t like that. And I didn’t PR. Not even close. Dustin and I ran 1:54:17. I actually smoked that time when I ran a half 16 weeks pregnant. So for me (not speaking relative to other peoples’ pace), it wasn’t about time this weekend. Racing this weekend was about being mentally strong and enjoying the race!
Saturday night was quiet in our house as we laid low and hung out as a family and got our race stuff organized for Sunday morning in preparation. We attempted to go to bed early and talked about just trying to run consistent and have fun. (always easier said than done).
For the past two weeks I’ve been battling a nasty lung infection (respiratory infection gone bad) that I haven’t wanted to complain about but that has really affected my training and made me have to reevaluate my “time” goals. I have been put on so many medications, steroids, given shots, breathing treatments, antibiotics, inhalers and cough suppressants to try to nip this in the bud, along with the suggestion to not run let alone race by the doctor.
But you know me.
When do I listen???
I did rest a bit. And I physically COULD NOT race. My spirometry test on the Tuesday before the race showed a 35% decrease in lung function. So running the race, if at all, was going to be my best hope.
And thankfully, we were able to. I felt well enough, pumped full of steroids. Dustin was so gracious to stay by my side the whole time. Lucky for me, he hasn’t run 13 miles since August, when we did the Santa Rosa full, so it wasn’t like he was just waiting around for me to catch up to him (if you didn’t already know it, he’s faster than me).
Back to race morning. We arrived at Fair Park at 6:45 am. It was chilly, about 60 degrees with just slight winds. The air felt slightly damp so I knew humidity would come but not til later in the day. At 7:15 am we followed the DRC pacers to the supposed start. Um… where was it? The risers and “start” arch weren’t even up yet! It was crazy disorganized! Definitely not like any race I’ve ever done before and I’ve done alot. Everyone was like “wtf?” There was barely an introduction (I think there was one but we couldn’t hear it and we weren’t far back from the front) and the gun went off. My Garmin was barely ready!
Thankfully, I loved the course. Though there were some pot hole issues in a few places, overall it was super pretty! It began next to the Big Texas Circle on the Texas State Fairgrounds. It ran by the train tracks (always nerve wracking because you’re thinking omg is a train going to hold me up circa SA Rock N Roll style), and then by some shoddy houses for a few miles before finally getting to White Rock Lake. We started out in the mid 8:20s and felt good. We stayed in the mid – high 8s pace until mile 9 which is where we encountered some elevation and some wind. At this point we had moved from the lake to the Santa Fe Trail. It was such a pretty place to run. I needed my inhaler at mile 9 and took my Cherry Blossom Honey Stinger Chews at mile 5 and 10. I love that flavor! The water stops were decent though Dustin is not a water grabber, so I had to gulp and go. Outside of a little lung irritation at mile 9.5, I still felt strong. I kept thinking how aweome it was to be running and how amazing I felt in THAT exact moment! Never before have I had those thoughts before during a race. (maybe in the first half and full during naive innocence but that was long ago). We even finished strong! Now, I know my splits don’t show negative but they are pretty consistent for me, and being sick, I still call this a win for me!
Realistically, I am usually thinking, “why am I doing this,” “I can’t speed up,” “I won’t hit my goal,” and other such self-doubt filled things. But none of those types of mantras filled my head. Just things like, “keep going,” “you’ve got this,” “this is amazing,” “I feel great” flooded my head and it was awesome!
My girlfriend Jill,fellow blogger Ironwill Ironjill, was racing her first 70.3 triathlon the same morning in Galveston at the very same time that I was running this half. I remember running the half thinking about her often and all the obstacles she’s had to overcome during her training. I knew she’d finish but still, was filled with trepidation for her. The thought of my friend and praying for her well-being and that she made the time cutoffs was also good for getting me through the miles. It was helpful to basically have her with me during my run. 🙂 As a mom, it’s my job to worry. And that worry also extends to my friends, too. I worried about Jill. Though I had nothing to worry about because she’s a bada*s. I did still lift her up and I was happy to do so. She had an amazing race and enjoyed it, also! It’s like we were telepathically connected that morning! What a fete she accomplished.
And what a huge step I think I’ve made as a runner in remembering why I RACE at all. It’s one thing to run. But when you decide to train for racing you have to not just commit physically, but mentally, too. And enjoy the process. And while Boston still seems far away, it’s still a goal of mine, but I know now that if I can’t enjoy the ride getting there, I need to get off.
Oh, and a 1:54 is not a bad time! Didn’t want anyone reading to think I think that. For this race it was actually top 10% for my AG and top 20% for females. But people race for different reasons, and if you aren’t the fastest don’t feel bad if you just enjoy racing because it makes you happy!