My Worst Race Ever

Watch Your Speed

worst-race-everSaturday’s Livermore Half Marathon was, without a shadow of a doubt, my worst race ever. This is through no fault of the lovely people who host the race, and more of a commentary on my inability to stick to a reasonable pace.

I always start out a little too fast. I get carried away with the adrenaline of the race, the surge of the crowd moving forward, and I start quickly. I know this. I usually try to mitigate it. And mind you, I wasn’t looking for any sort of PR in this race.

And yet somehow, this time I went out absurdly fast. On average, I’m a 2:45 half marathoner. I was a good long way into the race before I was passed by the 2:10 pacer.

Yay, you say? You were so fast! No. This is not good. This is a recipe for late-race disaster.

I tried to walk early in the hope of conserving energy for later. It didn’t work.

I hit the 10 mile mark at PR pace. And then everything kind of stopped working. I struggled through mile 11. To the lady who shouted, “You only have two more miles!” I can tell you’re not a runner. There is no “only” and “two miles.” Those last two are always the longest and hardest.

Mile 12 I’ll call the Dory mile, because instead of “Just keep swimming!” I was trying to convince myself to just keep moving. Left, right, left right. Why are we doing this?

Mile 13 was where I was ready to pack it in and call Uber to drive me to my car. And that last 0.1 miles was powered entirely by muttered obscenities.

This photo is geostamped from a place where I didn't take my phone out of my pocket. This upside-down, blurred image is how I felt.

This photo is geostamped from a place where I swear that my phone was in my pocket. This upside-down, blurred image is how I felt.

But I made it. In the end, it was my second-fastest of my nine half marathons. But it was demoralizing. It was like I was running on someone else’s legs. There was much pain. And while I normally finish a race and eagerly sign up for the next, I’m now wondering if I ever really want to run again.

I’d already scheduled the school charity 15k for April, and two other half marathons for July and November. I don’t know if I’m going to run any of them. I’m just that burnt out and frustrated by it all.

I’ll go back out this Saturday and try to run an easy four miles to shake out my legs. They haven’t really been terribly sore, but they still feel heavy and tired. I’m going for a pedicure tomorrow, exclusively for the calf massage. My poor little legs deserve it.

As for the next race? We’ll see what happens.

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2 Responses

  1. Lori says:

    Yup. I trained for Pensacola at 10:45 minute miles. Then I ran it with my friend Amy who came to town for the race and we hadn’t trained together. We did the first few miles around 10:10. I knew I should slow down, but kept telling myself that the faster we ran, the sooner it would be over. Cue three vomit stops after mile six, a miserable and slow last few miles, and a race volunteer escorting me from the finish line to our group’s tent because I looked (and felt) about ready to pass out. It was my fastest half, but the second half of it was my most miserable and I ended up finishing several minutes behind my anticipated finish time if I’d stuck to my training pace the whole time. Immediately after that race, I said never again to half marathons. I did end up doing another one a year later and it was much slower and much more fun.

  2. Alisa says:

    Oh! I do remember your Pensacola race. Oh yeah, that was brutal. Fortunately, I didn’t throw up, but there were moments where it wasn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.

    Fun times!

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