Here we go with another race recap from a race I ran 56 weeks ago. Just kidding, this one was only 36 days ago. Boom. On March 15th I ran (slash walked) the Germantown Half Marathon. The day before the race I had high hopes. I definitely was aiming for a PR, but more importantly, I needed to run without puking. I definitely had some mental demons that needed exorcising.
The morning of the race couldn't have gone better. I woke up on time, no snoozing, and I made it to the race earlier than when I was supposed to be meeting my crew. I felt like these were all good omens that it was my day. Until....I went to the bathroom and dropped my Gu in the toilet. Now I'm not an overly superstitious person, but I'm pretty sure dropping your Gu in the toilet is not good.
I did fish that Gu out before I used the toilet, because I really didn't want to clog up the toilet. I'm just not that type of person. These are necessary details, I'm sure of it. Anyway, I rejoined Jana and Scott and we headed to the start line with talks of paces and goals.
Mile 1 started out pretty good with a 9:29 pace. It was exciting to be running with my friends again and I felt alright. I could tell my legs weren't 100% after working the day before, but I figured they'd loosen up. We calmed it down for Mile 2 with a 9:45 pace, which was where I thought I could maybe sustain the race.
Mile 3 is where it all fell apart. There is a notoriously big hill in this mile and I let it eat me alive. I tried all of my normal hill tactics: Eyes up, breathe, smaller steps, maintain effort. It didn't work. I was burnt out and it was only mile 3. I had a major internal self discussion, and I realized I just wasn't into it. My brain and body were drained from the marathon 2 weeks prior.
I was also scared. It was the first warmer day that we had had, and I was terrified that I would get sick. I told y'all, Little Rock fucked me up. I knew in my heart that if I continued at a 9:45 pace, I would be puking. I took a few short walk breaks in Mile 4 and 5, and Jana stuck with me, but I finally convinced her to go on. I promised her the next time she saw me, I would have a medal, but I just needed to have my own pity party. She ended up having a great race, and probably would have gotten her Sub-2:00 if it weren't for me! Other friends passed me along the way, expressing concern, but I just told them it wasn't my day.
I got to see Debi at around mile 6 where she was volunteering with her daughter at a water stop. It was so fun to be able to see her, even though I was still feeling sorry for myself at that point. Eventually I turned myself around and decided to just make it a fun day. I started talking to other runners, cheering people on, and smiling. I was doing some sort of run/walk thing, with no attention to pace or time. I just did my thing and I ended up having fun. Sure, it wasn't what I had hoped for, but at least I wasn't giving up completely.
I did a lot of soul searching in this race, and realized that running isn't always about going fast. Sometimes you just need to enjoy yourself. I wasn't having fun going all out at the beginning, and that's okay. I also needed that time by myself. I love running with my friends, but I needed ME time. No music, no podcast, just ME. I have a lot of running goals, but if I'm burnt out and not enjoying running, then those goals will never be achieved.
Towards the end of the race, one of my speedy running friends, Stacey, was back tracking and running people in. I thought about telling her to go on back and find her hubby, but I decided to just go with it. She is such a natural at this running thing, and it was so refreshing at that point, especially since I never get to run with her because we clearly run at different paces. I later found out that Stacey had gone back and run a bunch of us in, ending up with a ton of extra mileage!
And then I crossed the finish line and got my medal, just like I promised Jana I would. There were tons of PR's that day, and I was so happy for everyone that had great races. It wasn't my day, and that's okay. I'll have my day eventually, but my brain needed a reset. I think knowing that I needed that is half the battle, so I'm on my way to brain fart recovery. It's natural for runners to have off periods. I'm hoping mine is over and that I've moved on, but if I brain fart again, I'll just keep running. Eventually I'll run myself out of it!