So you know what I was trying to run today in my third half marathon. I’m sorry to say that my 1:53 just wasn’t in the cards for this race.
We met snow driving up to Fargo yesterday, so we knew it was going to be a chilly race. The temperature on the marquee outside the Civic Center at the starting line was 27 degrees. So, BRRR!
Fortunately we were able to wait inside to start our race (half marathoners started at 8:30, 5k and 10k runners we before us) so we didn’t have to stand outside and freeze. The start was delayed slightly, so we did still end up waiting outside for about 10 minutes before they finally started the race.
When we started, I felt awesome. Totally ready to take it on. I’m so so SO glad my runner-friend/practically-coach Joseph warned me to stick to 8:50s like glue for the first 3 miles, because I never would have otherwise. I really had to hold back in these miles, and 3 actually ended up a little fast, which worked out nicely since I misjudged 1 slightly:
I was feeling rock solid here. The plan called for me to drop it down to 8:40s here, which I didn’t quite hit at first. I just haven’t learned to pace myself yet and was trying not to spend the entire race with my eyes glued to my Garmin.
4: 8:48 Trying not to rush.
5: 8:54 Just bad pacing.
6: 8:40 Got it!
I don’t remember a lot from 6-7, except that it was close to the turnaround and we were running into the wind, and I just kept telling myself how awesome it would feel when we had the wind at our back. After this, the plan was to drop just under 8:40s. I thought I was doing that, but, again, not so great at pacing myself.
Around 9 I realized I was going to miss my pace band and started to panic a little and lose it mentally, but I snapped out of it pretty quickly and just kept telling myself to run the mile I was in, that I couldn’t do anything about any other miles but this one.
Oh, hello stomach pains! It was a weird sensation–not one I’ve ever had before. It happened around 10.5. I tried not to think about it, and cranked up my iPod. Less than a 5k, I told myself. Keep it together.
Ok, so you’re not doing amazing, I told myself, but we’re not falling apart. Time to pick up the pace.
And, enter mile 12, where I had to stop and throw up. Four times. I tried so, so hard to not stop but all of a sudden I was gagging and I couldn’t stop it. I tried to start running again, because DAMMIT I was so close! But it just made me puke again. Repeat. Four times.
I fought off more puking in 13 and every time I tried to speed up I started to gag again. I decided moving towards the finish line slower than I wanted to was better than being stopped, right? This mile kicked my ass, and for a brief second I seriously questioned whether I could finish. AND, the finish ended up being about a half mile of pretty NOT EASY uphill. Surprise!
13: 9:47. Ah, that sucks.
Max speed at the end was 6:30/mile, so I did get moving at the end, but not for very long. Final time was 1:59:10. No PR.
Playing it over and over again in my mind, I don’t know what else I could have done once I got into trouble. Would it have been better to stop and walk while I was feeling sick? Did trying to run so soon again make it worse? I just couldn’t bear to stop though–every second that I saw go by on my Garmin when I was doubled over staring at the ground was torture. I saw my PR slip away, and thought, dammit, I did NOT run under 9 for all those miles to not get a sub-2 time.
I wonder too if the cold didn’t affect me adversely? I was warm enough and dressed properly (except for my numb hands at the end…my gloves apparently didn’t cut it) but maybe my body just couldn’t quite take it yet? Or maybe I didn’t drink enough water because at the last couple water stops it was starting to FREEZE? Things I’ll never know for sure.
So, I’m disappointed. Vomiting notwithstanding, I don’t think I would have made 1:53, but I do think I could have gotten just under the 1:56 I’ve got on the books right now. And I wanted it so, so bad. Even though you wouldn’t know it from the abysmal 9:47 I clocked in that last mile, I really did give it everything I could without puking again. I just couldn’t do anything more than that.
Today was a very humbling experience. I trained hard, had a plan, and was sticking pretty close to it…but there are some things you just can’t control. Lucky for me I’m young, eager to improve, and have plenty of races ahead of me.