Monday: 2500m row, rope pull ups, deadlifts
Tuesday: 4m easy 9:40/pace
It’s been four days and i’m still unsure how I feel about the Island to Island half marathon. Sometimes i’m super happy with the outcome, other moments i’m incredibly confused and disappointed. Part of me hated this race but at the same time i PR’d a super difficult situation and would probably have loved the course on a different day. I’m sure by the end of the post i’ll have figured it out. Bear with me, I’m about to talk too much.
Friday afternoon LE and I headed to Ocean City, settled in, grabbed my bib at the Expo and headed to the ocean for LE’s first visit. She was super adorable and treated the sand like snow. She tasted it, pushed her face in it, scrambled around the ground and dug her paws in.
For dinner I ate at BJ’s On The Water. I ordered the blackened Salmon & a baked potato. It was simple and tasty!
Leading up to race day i was worried about a couple things. #1- the weather was forecasted on and off for rain & 10+ mph wind. I could deal with rain, but running fast with a headwind is tough. #2 I didn’t want to say this, but i think it’s important–I started my period and was dealing with some extreme fatigue, lower back and leg pain. Ladies, i know you get me. Gentlemen i’m glad you don’t ever have to deal with it.
4:30am, race day morning came quickly. I sunscreened and body glided up. Ate my usual breakfast: a Honey Stinger Waffle, banana and pb, water with Nuun and a coffee to go. When I stepped outside i immediately heard the HOWLING wind and ocean. Let’s just say it was the loudest 5AM has ever sounded. I boarded the shuttles for our point to point race. There were sets of busses departing to the start line at 5:15, 5:45 & 6:15am. I was on the 5:45 bus which should have allowed an hour before the start of the race for any pre-race things to do.
I sat on the bus with a a girl named Caitlyn. We talked about running, traveling and our pups while passing the excruciatingly long time we sat on the bus. 40 minutes, not moving. All the extra time I had set aside for a warm up mile, stretches, bathroom, was gone. The bus didn’t leave until 6:28 and when we arrived at the starting area I checked my bag and had to pee in the open behind a sand dune because the port-a-potty lines were out of control. And again, I had no warm up or time to do anything but get to the front of the start line. I don’t know if it’s just my luck, but i can’t get a warm up in to save my life!
I shook off all the negative thoughts, Taylor Swift style and laughed about peeing in public, started my watch and before I had time to think, the race started!
The girl in the pink arm sleeves above is the one I choose to follow. Her pace was right on target and she looked strong and relaxed. The other two women in the picture were always nearby as well. We were all fighting for the 3rd position almost the entire race.
I’m very thankful I spent time developing the mental rigor to fight and keep pushing when all the body wants is to stop. This by far, was the most difficult race i have done. I remember distinctly looking down at my watch 3.5 miles in and realizing the wind was NOT going to let up.
We experienced mostly gusts. We ran NE into the headwind, in a straight line, on an open road for 13 miles. I had to work my butt off to maintain a 7:15-ish pace. I accepted that running in wind like this was going to slow pace a bit and all I could do is run based on effort. I tried to mimic a 6:50 effort as best as I could.
All the mantras I had practiced with got thrown out the window. I didn’t feel like a brave dog, I didn’t feel like a machine. I didn’t feel fast, but i felt tough. I changed the mantra mid-race to “work for it, earn it, fight!” Also we listened to a podcast earlier in the day about taking risks and the dude said, “Mother nature ain’t shit! Come at me!” Again, a funny mantra that fit the situation and calmed me down.
There was a quick mile around 6 that turned into a neighborhood for a loop where the wind was almost non existent. I checked my watch, i was hitting that 6:50/pace I so desperately had trained for, but the moment I turned back on the highway and into Hell’s Wind Tunnel, my pace slowed right back down to the 7:15s. One thing helping me not throw in the towel, was realizing my effort was reflecting the training, not the numbers on my watch. I reminded myself periodically that my effort was a sub 1:30 and I could still PR if i didn’t give up.
I swear to you the wind progressively got worse the further north we ran. My ipod was useless. I couldn’t hear the music well because the wind was so loud. I wasn’t paying attention to music anyway with all the internal pep talking. This half felt like the last 6 miles of a marathon. My body wanted to stop, i hurt, my legs felt like lead. I had never wanted a race to end this badly. I hate thinking like that, but I just wasn’t having as much fun as I wanted.
Just when I thought I couldn’t keep going, we were at mile 12, back on the boardwalk of Ocean City where the shuttles picked us up earlier that morning. I took off to finish the race with a small boost. Half mile later was the turn around, and for the first time the ENTIRE RACE the wind was at my back.
The picture above really says it all. I was so relieved it was over, so happy I PR’d and so ready to see my dog.
I know a lot of this post seems to be a complaint. I hate that about running sometimes. I ran a great race for the conditions. I talked myself into NOT quitting for 10 miles. I’m proud this didn’t come easy. There will never be perfect weather or race conditions or warm ups, but what can be perfected is the ability and drive to try and do my best on the given day. Gratitude, played a big part in this race.
I finished in 1:35:36 official. Here are the splits!
I hung out in the finishers tent and waited for the awards ceremony. 1st place in my age group!
And finally the rewarding meal after the race! I had crepes (sausage and pancake crepe) and potatoes with tons of coffee at the Bayside Skillet.
Here’s the Good, the Bad and the Otherwise!
-Weather. Wind is my LEAST favorite element to run in. I conquered it. Mother Nature ain’t shit! (wait, should this go in “The Good” column?)
-Warm Ups. This was actually out of my control.
-Period that lead to fatigue & lower back pain. Again, not in my control.
-Accidentally drank Gatorade. Grabbed the wrong cup and almost puked it up. Seriously don’t do anything new on race day.
-I didn’t stop other than water stations. I wanted to stop…Oh i wanted to stop, but i knew if i started walking it was going to be harder to continue.
-I placed 4th overall female and 1st in my age group!
-I PR’d by 31 seconds!
-This was my first complete sub 8 half marathon (all my miles were under 7:30/pace!)
-When I crossed the finish line, Maria (girl in the pink arm sleeves) gave me a huge hug and congratulated me. She finished 3rd! Super nice girl. Then I talked to the dude in the orange shirt and long hair–he said i cruised past him on the bridge and looked really strong. I told him I thought he looked great, which was why i was running behind him. Basically runners are awesome and I love the support! There were tons of high fives and congrats at the end of this race!
-My friend, Emmeline sent me a text the night before the race. She knew all the stuff I was dealing with and she told me there’s nothing I can do physically, but not to let it drag me down mentally too. Thank you Emmeline. You were my secret coach during the race.
All the good stuff definitely outweighs the bad. As usual getting it all out on
paper computer sorts all my thoughts out. Thanks for hanging if you made it this far!
Monday: 7m combo tempo (2m warm up, 2 x 1m @ 6:11/pace, 2 x 400s @ 5:56/pace, 2m cool down)
Tuesday: 20min shoulders/core
Wednesday: 5m easy 9:41/pace
Thursday: 4m easy
Saturday: 13.1m Ocean City Island to Island 1/2 marathon 1:35:36 7:15/pace
Total Miles: 29
Anyone else race this weekend? How did it go?