It is my belief that every single run teaches you something if you are present and pay attention. Don’t let that smile fool you ( I am guessing it is because I have a beer) Last Sunday, I ran the Cleveland 40th Anniversary half marathon. Let’s not mince words here… it was awful. Every single mile was a struggle. I kept waiting and telling myself that the next mile will be better. Easier. Familiar.
The entire week was calling for thunderstorms. The morning as we were walking towards the start line was perfect. Blue clear skies and breezy. My attitude was upbeat and positive. A. goal was to come in somewhere between 2:00-2:10 B. goal was to just have fun C. goal was to cross the finish line. C was accomplished- barely.
My friend and neighbor, Jackie was running her first half. Jackie didn’t have a time goal in mind at all but wanted to run with friends to make it fun. Our neighbor and recent cancer survivor, Angie, was also running this half. One of my favorite human beings/yoga teacher/ best grown up girl friends, Erica was also running the half. We all lined up together with the idea that if you are feeling it and want to leave the squad, do so. Angie was having some breathing/allergy issues. Erica and I were very much undertrained. Jackie is a natural runner and was ready to tackle the day.
At mile 3, Erica needed to hit up the restroom and told us to go on without her. Mile 4 was a killer hill that I was not mentally prepared for. Cleveland Rite Aid marathon was stating over and over again about how the course would be flat this year. Um. What?!!??!?!?! I will say, it was flat at the end but we endured a few killer hills until mile 8.
Angie fell back after the hill at mile 4. Jackie and I were holding a steady 9:00-9:30 minute mile pace until around mile 8. I was super excited when I looked at my Garmin and saw that at 6 miles we were about little under 1 hr. Mile 8 is when the wheels on the bus started falling off. It got humid. My mind was not focused. I felt nauseous. My legs felt like pudding. I saw my husband and kiddos at mile 9 and asked him to sent me all the energy he could. If my children were not present, I may have had my first DNF. I didn’t want them to see me give up.
At mile 9, I turned to Jackie and told her ” Batter up”. I asked her to please talk to me for the next mile. I would listen and interject if I could, but I needed to be distracted. Jackie did just that. At mile 10, I stopped to fuel. Around mile 11, Jackie needed to go to the restroom. I attempted to go too and had nothing but while we were in the bathroom, I said to Jackie ” I would be so happy if we saw Erica”. I came out of the bathroom and guess what?!?!?!?!? Erica was right in front of me! I almost started to cry. Instead I hugged and kissed her cheek and said ” Lets finish this and get a beer!” We all three ran together until mile 12. I could tell Jackie had more in the tank and begged her to go, promising her that I would find her at the finish line. Erica and I ran together stride by stride, blazing down the shoot and cross that line.
I think since I have started running, I have ran 13 miles or more, 15-16 times. Never have I ever felt that awful. Defeated. Tired. I don’t want to make excuses. A shitty run is a shitty run but I do think that if you have a shitty run and don’t learn anything from it, then the shitty run was pointless. This training cycle was a tough one for me. I missed 40 miles. Eating and hydrating was not on point at all. Sleeping was an issue as well. Mentally, I was not a runner. My mind was distracted with other things.
Chicago Marathon is 20 weeks away. Time to put in the effort. I don’t want to stand on another starting line not feeling like gave it my all.