I probably shouldn’t have run in the Fit One half marathon back in September.
I bought the entry on a high discount way back in June. $20 for a half marathon? How could I possibly refuse, even knowing that I was going to be doing some hard core hiking in August?
My solo and the Chamberlain Basin hikes in August did drain my body’s resources. And I battled little illnesses through the beginning of September that stopped me from training in any practical way. I got some exercise. I ran a little bit. I did not train.
And, until the day before the race, I still wasn’t sure I was going to show up and do it. My stomach had been acting up. My legs were sore. I’d been plagued with headaches that week and I was driving my husband more than a little crazy.
The morning of the race, I managed to forget my bib until he’d almost driven me to the drop off point. He patiently drove me back to get it and, thanks to a delayed start, I wasn’t late.
In the past, I’ve made a commitment in running races never to walk. To keep running no matter what. For this race, in my unprepared state, I threw that stricture out the window. I wasn’t going to walk the course, but I wasn’t going to run the whole thing either.
At every food/water station, I walked. I took energy gels and water and watered down Gatorade and kept myself fueled – also not typical of my past racing strategies, which tended towards the don’t eat or drink anything lest ye stomach get upset. I even stopped to use the bathroom despite having to wait in line for an open toilet.
And just like that, I found myself with 5 miles down. This eating instead of letting myself get down to the dregs of my energy might have something to it.
Last year’s half, I ran steadily for the first 8 miles and then had to take walking intervals. I was forced to those walking intervals and I resented them. I couldn’t even get myself to jog up the hill to the train depot. This year, I found myself with enough spring in my step to run up the hill all the way to the aid station.
And I finished the course faster than the previous year’s time.
Granted, the course was slightly shorter, by as much as 0.15 miles. But I’m going to stick with believing that it was the way I arranged my race, acknowledging my weaknesses and working around them rather than trying to bull through them.
I was hurting at the end of the race, but not as much as the prior year. I hardly even complained at the walk from the celebration at the park to the campus parking lot where my husband had stashed the car. I didn’t even whine when he told me he had parked much farther away than necessary (which he hadn’t).
With my solo scheduled for March this year, I’m looking forward to next year’s September half. As long as I can get that good price in June.