Saturday morning, I woke up so early that dawn didn't even know she had a butt crack yet. Ate my oatmeal, drank my Low-Carb Monster and proceeded to get ready to race.
I've had this half marathon on the agenda for a couple of months, knowing that it was to be a training race for the marathon I am doing in September.
Now you may remember that I have been dealing with an IT band injury and have been nursing it back to strength. Last weekend's 10k went well, I have continued with my ice, heat, rolling and anti-inflammatory's and it was feeling okay. Not a 100%, but I felt good enough to run.
Sugar Daddy got up, got ready and then at the last minute we decided to take Sissy with us, rather than have Tuffy come sleep with her and watch her for the morning. So we had to wake the peaceful princess and convince her that this was gonna be fun.
We loaded up in the car and headed for East Canyon where the event was held. The sun was starting to rise and as we came around a corner, it was so beautiful that both Sugar Daddy and I made a comment at the same time!The sunrise was gorgeous.
We made our way to the resort and were led to a parking spot in the weeds. The minute I opened the door, we were swarmed with mosquitoes. NOT.GOOD. Not good at all! Quick, shut the door! Crap! No bug spray, didn't even think about bugs!
At this point, I am thinking, I am going to have to run with bugs and Sugar Daddy and Sissy are going to be trapped in the car the entire time! Second thoughts on the whole issue.
I get up the nerve and get out of the car and head to the tent to get my timing chip. Get all situated, visit the port-a-john and think through my goals for the race.
My last, and only, half marathon, I did in an hour and 40 min and some change. I knew that was a fast, fast course, so I decided to set my goal to finish in an hour and 50. Reasonable. The description of the course was "trail run with gentle, rolling hills." Okay, 1:50 is probably doable.
I head to the start line, get warmed and stretched. I take a look around and there are a good number of runners. They are also starting the 10k at the same time, so I have no idea who is running that or running the half. Doesn't matter, I suppose.
The gun goes off, and I head out at a nice quick pace. The beginning of the race is on asphalt and I am feeling great. Super good pace, legs feel fantastic, set into a nice groove.
A mile or so in, we leave the road and hit the trail. Aye carumba! Something I totally didn't give much thought too, probably 'cause I am inexperienced with trail running, but you spend the entire time watching the road for rocks and divets. It's an exercise in "how not to break an ankle". The mountains were gorgeous and I'm sure that the surrounding country was beautiful, but I just didn't get the chance to look up much. Too busy trying to keep my footing. Needless to say, my pace slowed down a little as I adjusted.
Mile two, and holy hannah! We are going DOWN. A.BIG.HILL. Normally, this would excite most people, myself included, but remember that little issue called IT band? OWWWWWW! By the time I hit the bottom of the hill, I knew I was done for. It was hurting. Hurting like I had already run 7 miles and we weren't even at the 10k turn around quite yet.
To say I became discouraged is an understatement. Now all I could focus on was the pain I was feeling in my left knee. Pound after pound, it hurt. I hit the 10k turn around and noticed most of the runners were heading back. Clearly more of them were participating in the 10k than the half. I debated turning around, but then thought, NO! You can still move, it hurts, but your're okay, keep going.
I have adjusted to the rocks, and divets and found myself watching the road and the runner ahead of me. If I noticed the runners ahead of me making moves to one side or the other, I knew that they had already found the divets and I could move too. I think that saved me a little bit.
I had settled into a pretty good solid steady pace now. Certainly not as quick as I started, but I wasn't limping yet, just moving steady and sure. However, for the record, let me say "gentle, rolling hills", MY BUTT! They were HILLS! UP.HILL. DOWN.HILL. No gentle, no rolling involved. And for me, the uphills were a heaven sent blessing. I actually picked up speed going up and lost pace going down.
Hit the turn around and took advantage of some water swishing and spitting. It felt good. The temp was perfect, the sky was overcast, it really was perfect running weather. And, amazingly no bugs!
I was heading back and checking in with my body. My knees hurt, my hip hurt and I know I wasn't going as fast as I could. Cardiovascular wise, I could have gone on for days, but my legs just weren't having it. It was time for a "come to religion" talk with myself.
I thought, for crying out loud M, women have babies every frickin day with NO DRUGS! You have some knee pain. Get over it. It's going to hurt whether you run slow or run fast, it isn't going to make a difference. Your heart and lungs feel good, you might as well just push it. The faster you get done, the sooner you'll be able to rest your legs.
I don't know what happened, but at that moment, it was probably mile 7, I just kicked it in. Picked up the pace, gritted my teeth and started my playlist on the podder over again. I no longer felt my knee. Or my hip. Or my legs at all for that matter.
I began picking up road kill after road kill. Mostly on the up hills. As people were losing their energy battling those hills, that is where I found mine. I had also rationed out my Shot Bloks and I really believe the extra electrolytes helped along the way.
I finally hit the pavement and knew there was a little over a mile left. Push and push and push. Not feeling any pain whatsoever, I am now just trying to make up time.
I turn the corner and see the crowd. What the? Where is the finish line? I have to turn another corner and finally there it is. Sprinting in....... look at my time...... want.to.cry. I see 1:54 and some change.
Dag-nabit! I fell short of my goal. Fell over 4 minutes short. That's a lot in a run. 4 minutes........
Find Sugar Daddy and Sissy and head for a banana, water and a place to stretch. We wait around for the results and they are only posting 10k times. Wait. Wait. Wait. No posting of half marathon times. So forced to wait. I could kind of tell that there probably weren't many women in my division so I held out hope that I might place somewhere in the top three and take home a medal.
They finally get around to announcing the results. The 3rd place woman in my division was 1:54:31.13 I knew then, I was only seconds away from placing. SECONDS. I didn't know my official time at that point, but I knew it was within seconds. Crap.
We loaded up in the car and headed home. The canyon was beautiful, but I was so frustrated with myself I couldn't enjoy it. Seconds. SECONDS!
Sugar Daddy did come around a corner to such a beautiful scene that we stopped and snapped a picture at.(Pay only attention to the canyon behind me)
Then it was home to stew. Seconds. Just mere seconds......However, I did learn a very valuable life lesson to be shared for Spiritual Sunday.
My time: 1:54:51.59
4th in my division
Bugged at myself for falling less than 21 seconds short of placing: Too badly to post.