Can I pull this off? Do my legs remember how to run 8:20's? Wow that sun is hot. Whoa, my HR is 96 standing at the starting line. Maybe I'll surprise myself, and PR. I have successfully run this course, and it was only 2 years ago. I ran a great half marathon one year ago. I pulled off 8's running like a moron in July. Lets see what happens.
**BAM (well, not a gun - more a horn-like sound)!**
Off we go.
Lisa and I took off together. Her goal was to run anticipated marathon pace (8:50's) for the race, and my plan was to start off with her and try to hang on. In the event my legs felt spicy, I would allow myself to open up and push it at mile 10. No sooner. I also wanted to watch my heart rate the entire race. I wanted to collect data - how is my body responding to a hard effort? And an effort facing these types of hills:
The first few miles hovered around 9's. At times it felt okay, and other times it felt like I was pushing at 400 interval efforts. My HR was varying between 164-170. Yikes. And my GOD it was hot. I practiced pushing negative thoughts out, and staying positive.
I ran with Lisa until about mile 5 when she pulled away. I put in a couple efforts to catch her, but my HR shot straight up to HR 180 at every incline. 1-frickin-80. I know enough to know what HR 180 means at mile 5 - there's no way I'd see that finish line in under 8 hours. I listened to my body and slowed.
Positivity left the building about mile 6ish, when my pace became slower than a training run, and my HR was through the roof. I was melting in the sun, and there were already people walking all around me. I saw Lisa's husband Scott at mile 7, who was waiting with cold face cloths, water and Gatorade. That man saved my day. I pulled off the road, and broke down in tears. I told him I didn't want to do it anymore, and just wanted to be done. He provided some encouraging words, and promised he would check in on me in a couple miles. I trudged onward, sniffling while shuffling.
I will not torture you all with a mile by mile recap of yesterdays picnic. There were a lot more tears, a lot more walking, and a lot more of high heart rates. And a lot more of Scott doing the very best to keep all of us going, and putting one foot in front of the other. Left, right, repeat.
I finished in a time that I am not proud of, and one that is a big fat slap of reality to me. A slap that I definitely needed.
However, I am going to end this post with silver linings:
(1) I am able to complete a 25K - many people aren't as blessed
(2) I was able to spend yesterday morning with friends, doing something I love to do
(3) I collected data, which is being used as a reminder that I need to start being healthy. ASAP.
(4) Re-confirmed my plan for this weekend's 70.3 (gulp): all fun and no tears
(5) Yesterday re-ignited that fire to WANT to be fast, and to WANT this to be fun again. Crying every week while running sucks. And if I want to break this cycle, I need to change my habits. And do it before Chicago, to salvage my last big race this season
(6) Race support kicks ass - Scott literally saved the day yesterday. Knowing that he was going to be there for me, and continue to provide me encouragement to keep on going was priceless. I am very lucky.
(7) I am able to live, race, and train in a location that provides views like this:
And finally, runs/race like this only serve to make the good ones feel THAT much better. Right? Nice job to everything that gutted out yesterday's sweat fest - crossing the finish line of any race should never be taken for granted.