My weekend was pretty low key so, in lieu of a weekend recap, I’m just going to recap the half-marathon I ran.
On Saturday, I ran, for the third time, the Run for L’Arche half-marathon. My previous two attempts at this race, haven’t been my best. The first year I ran it the weather was brutally cold, the second year I struggled with cramps and spoiler alert, this year wasn’t any better.
I love that this race is on Saturday. I much prefer that to a Sunday race. And it didn’t start until 10 a.m. Hello, sleep in! The course is the same as the previous years, a straight out and back along the bow river pathway. You still hit gravel at the end but luckily, this year no snow! The weather was perfect this year and for once we ran into the wind on the way there and then had it on our back the whole way back. I was primed for a good race. But what happened?
I ran 2 miles to the start of this race because I had 15 miles on my marathon training schedule. I ran really slowly and my legs were feeling good. When I got there, I met up with some of the local Calgary bloggers. Most of them were running the 5-mile except Crystal and I. Unfortunately, we forgot to get a group photo of all of us, so here’s the group without us.
Then here’s Crystal and me before the start.
Going into this race, my ultimate goal was to get a sub 2-hour half marathon although I didn’t think that was very realistic right now. I’m currently training for a marathon, so all my workouts have been geared towards that goal, not a faster half-marathon goal. I think it’s important to realize that those are two are very different goals and require very different training programs. So realistically, I was shooting for closer to a 2:05.
My coach gave me the plan to run the first 8 miles at a moderately hard pace, at the higher end of my zone 3 heart rate zone, then pick it up for the next couple miles and try to run as hard as I could the last 1-2 miles.
As soon as we started running, my legs felt heavy. I was running a decent pace but it felt hard. As the second and third mile came, my pace continued to slip and by Mile 4, I was running a 10:00 min/mile. I was at the top of my zone 3 heart rate and couldn’t even get my legs to turnover faster if I wanted to. I knew at this point I wasn’t going to come anywhere near my goal time. I decided to stop looking at my watch and just focus on keeping myself at the high end of my zone 3 heart rate and push as best as I could.
Mile 1: 9:11
Mile 2: 9:25
Mile 3: 9:43
Mile 4: 10:02
A lot of the race was honestly a blur. I would often close my eyes (luckily I run this pathway a lot so I felt pretty safe doing so) and tell myself just keep pushing. When I got to the half way turn around I couldn’t believe I still had 6.5 miles to go. I felt defeated but made my plan to just give everything I had in me on this day. After all, I wanted to work on my mental toughness.
Mile 5: 10:03
Mile 6: 10:12
Mile 7: 10:01
At mile 8 I was supposed to pick up my pace but I couldn’t. I could barely hold the pace I was currently running.
Mile 8: 10:19
Mile 9: 10:04
Mile 10: 10:34
At mile 10 I decided that was it, only 5 km left and I was going to push as hard as I could. I wanted to walk so badly in those last couple of miles but I had been leap frogging a girl and I did not want her to finish ahead of me. In my mind, I was running faster but my splits show a different story.
Mile 11: 10:02
Mile 12: 10:33
Mile 13: 10:15
Finish Time: 2:11:36
When I crossed the finish line, I immediately felt defeated. I went inside to get my snacks (apple, orange, banana and a granola bar) then headed home. I immediately got into an Epsom salt bath and proceeded to break down crying. Why me? Why can’t I just be a faster runner like everyone else? I know these thoughts are silly but that’s what went down.
Now with a little more perspective and so many gracious comments to me on Facebook & Instagram (you guys rock!), I feel better about this race. I don’t know what happened during this race. I started thinking about my training, my nutrition or anything else I could have done wrong. My coach and I are going to have a discussion about it all and hopefully, that will draw some perspective. But ultimately, it might have just not been my day. Some days the body just doesn’t want to cooperate. But I’m proud of myself for not quitting and continuing to push. I gave this race everything I had on this particular day. That’s the best I could do and I’m darn proud of that.
Now in terms of Run for L’Arche, apparently me and this race just don’t get along! But does that mean I won’t be back again? Heck no, I’ve got a score to settle with this race and I’m sure I’ll be back next year trying again.
Have you had a tough race like this before? Is there a race you feel you need redemption at?