Not all races are created equal. Some are definitely a lot more challenging mentally, some physically. I guess up to this point I have been fortunate to choose what I would now consider relatively easy courses for my half marathons. Today? Well, I have never hated running as bad as I did today. I actually stopped at one point and said out loud “what the fuck am I doing?”
I like hills, I love the challenge and naturally I am a pretty strong climber. But lately I have been experiencing tight calves, and expected today to be rough. Especially having to drive 2+ hrs home afterwards in a standard after a course with what I assumed to be “rolling hills”.
I knew the weather was going to be nice and this was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t expect this much of one. My first 5k were good, I felt strong, happy, and confident I could do this in the 2:25-2:30 time range I set for myself.
But that didn’t happen. There were some rough areas on the course, hard packed gravol that hurt my body, and there were chunks of the path that felt like potholes on a road. My body was not happy with those. My Gu’s did not want to go down. I was struggling to get those in, and at 14k I debated skipping my last scheduled Gu, but smarter heads prevailed. I was not deviating from my training plan. I walked on my walk breaks even if it was on a downhill. I walked a bit more on my non walk breaks but I am ok with that.
At 17k my calves seized. I had compression sleeves on but…. No dice. I came to the conclusion my electrolytes are not where they should be for summer running and the amount I sweat, and I need to invest in salt pills. Did I also mention that 17k happened to be at a hilly flipping part of the course??
I’ll be honest. I almost threw in the towel. I came close to DNF. I considered it and that is NOT me. But I didn’t. I crossed the finish line. Garmin said 2:32:17. Gun time was 2:33:58 but the website says I was at the start right at gun, so I am sticking with my Garmin. I paid $18 and got an amazing massage afterwards which helped.
I do have to say though, besides the shirts being kind of ugly….. This race was amazing. The cost was great, the medals are cute, the scenery was gorgeous, although hilly, the volunteers outstanding, and the water/aid stations????? TOP NOTCH!!!
I have never been at a race that I could have not packed water and would have been fine. They were frequent and always full of water or Gatorade. The volunteers were friendly, encouraging and I have to say this was one of my favorite races when you take everything into account. Although I struggled, I would do this one again. And for the inclines I was only 5 minutes off my personal best, which is still amazing.