Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lake Effect Half Marathon 2015 *womp womp*

I was very excited about the first race of 2015, a race that I know, with friends I couldn't wait to see. It was my first race since Memphis, and first race representing Zensah and Honey Stinger. Did I want to come out of the 2015 gates with a bang, you bet. Did it happen, not in the least.

I controlled everything that I could. I relaxed the day before, ate and hydrated like normal and got a decent amount of sleep. I was up on time race morning, got there early and wasn't rushed. I was prepared with clothing for every weather situation, and brought my trail shoes for extra traction. I ate a bagel on the road, and drank my bottle of UCAN with it. I warmed up and did my strides, and I took my honey stinger gel during just as planned. I ran 13.1 miles, like I was supposed to (albeit 7 minutes slower than I wanted). I controlled what I could, well...I could have controlled my attitude better but I'm working on it.

While driving into Syracuse I can see part of the course from the thruway. "Where is the pavement?" was my initial thought as I slowed down the car a little. A few minutes later I parked and got my bib and did everything as I should. I ran into Megan who told me that it wasn't plowed and she was going to go jog out and see how bad it was (she wasn't running the race).

The weather was not bad, it was cold (well, low 20's felt warm) but little wind and wasn't snowing. I opted for shorts/calf sleeves, and a two long sleeves. I am most comfortable racing in shorts/tank top but knew that would be too crazy so I opted to at least let my legs move freely.

I chatted with a few people at the start, and minutes later we were off. We quickly went into single file and took advantage of the clear spots, but I knew coming back would be harder (double out and back course). About a mile and a half in, the course conditions started getting worse. The further West we went, the more snow there was. I saw my paces drop quick, and my trail shoes were barely helping the traction. I threw any time goal out very quickly.

The frustration set in almost immediately. Why didn't they plow? This snow came down last night, not this morning. They had time! My stabilizer muscles kicked into overdrive and I made the first loop slow but not too bad. I got to high five friends and cheer on the way back and tried to stay positive. It didn't work well. I wanted to stop. I wanted to DNF (this is not something I consider lightly), I wasn't having fun and I was running far slower than the effort I was putting in.
Let's not discuss the form.
*Side note: Last year I ran Syracuse Half marathon in March and was able to adjust my goals before the race, stay pretty positive despite the blizzard that hit that morning (unexpectedly). I think my biggest issue with LEHM this year was, the snow came the night before and they had time where as at 'Cuse there was no time for it. But again, I should have been more positive this year and adjusted my attitude*

I didn't have a good reason to DNF. I wasn't hurt, I am not coming back from an injury I need to be weary of, and it wasn't SO bad that I feared injury (as long as I was careful). Because I was frustrated and couldn't change my mindset from negative to positive (which I'm usually good about these days). But you know what, I am not a pro athlete. This wasn't about a paycheck for me. This race wasn't going to make or break a sponsorship- did I want to do well for the companies I represent, of course. But I would have kicked my own ass for DNF'ing, and I respect the pro's who finish races even when fall off time (See: Meb, NYC 2013). DNF'ing because you are hurt, legitimately concerned, or other such things is valid in my eyes. I didn't have an excuse, so I kept running.

I spent the second time heading West, in fear of what the back half of the course was going to look like after 500+ runners had gone through. It was worse, that's for sure. The first time hitting the snowy sections my pace slowed about 40 seconds/mile, the second time I actually slowed over a minute/mile. I remember laughing at one point because I legit couldn't make myself move any faster, every step was slipping 3 inches backwards.
Thanks Craig for the photo! Death by ponytail whipping.
When I finally got back to the clear section- I was toast. Luckily I was not far behind another girl which helped mentally kick me back into racing mode and I passed her with less than a half mile to go.
Sticking my tongue out at Heather in the last little bit of the race
1:34:35{5th female, 1st AG}, officially my slowest half since 2012 (Excluding any halves I was pacing someone or the half within the half-iron triathlon that I did). Also 10 seconds/mile slower than my current marathon PR pace. Oof.

You guys, I was a 2 year old about the whole situation. I whined, I complained, I stomped my feet (no, I literally stomped the snow off my feet as I walked into the bar begging for a beer after the race). I initially had a very crappy attitude about it all, no denying that. But, I spent time afterwards with good people, good food and great beer (If you like dark beer---> Black Magic Stout, and The Local Grind). I sang songs and talked it out to my steering wheel on the hour plus long drive home, and then ate/slept the evening away.

I'm feeling better about it as time goes on. I controlled what I could and that's what is important. While I didn't enjoy the race (which, to me sucks more than the time aspect), I did enjoy seeing friends and spending time with them afterwards. These girls were the best part of my day!
I didn't get the puffy coat memo. Sorry ladies!
Britt, Me, Meg & Heather
I won't regret the race or not stopping (I did for a little while), because it was good dose of mental reality check. I'm usually pretty 'mentally tough', and I'm usually pretty good about being positive. I didn't have either of those abilities at LEHM and that is a problem. I need to screw my head back on straight before Boston, positivity will get your butt to the finish line a lot faster than negativity will.

So, I move forward from an off race (that in the grand scheme of things, means nothing) relatively unscathed. I say relatively because apparently glide can freeze (or wash off with snow/slush kicking up) leaving me with the worst chafing I have EVER had. Because you really wanted to know that, I'm sure. I'll be fine, just walk like an idiot for a few days- my punishment for acting like a toddler because I didn't get the time I wanted.

Moving on, back to the grind...and the positive things...like coffee. beer. chocolate. puppies. Unicorns.

13 comments:

  1. I'm really proud of you for going through everything and finishing strong. I know it wasn't the greatest, nor was it awesome but you finished. You have lit a fire that I know you will be bounce back from. Boston is going to be kickass for you and I cannot wait to see it.

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  2. Those conditions sound horrible! Sometimes it's the mental game that is a bigger battle than going fast.

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  3. Everyone has a race where they couldn't adjust expectations and had such high hopes but were let down for one reason or another. The important thing is that even though you were disappointed, you recognized it and did your best to adjust afterwards. Sometimes you just need a night to cool off and regroup. Your attitude has pretty much always been so positive in training that I have no doubts you'll be back on track for Boston!

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  4. I'm really glad you finished the race even if it was not your best. It seems like everyone's times would be slower, if the course and weather was bad... you all ran the same course after all. At least with a race that doesn't go well due to something like conditions (not injury), you don't have to worry as much about recovery and you can jump back into training. You are always positive and you work hard, you are definitely a much better runner than the half marathon time indicates (although I would LOVE to run under 1:40 someday) and you know that. I bet Boston will be great for you!

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  5. Sounds like a tough race to finish, you should be proud for pushing through and I'm sure this experience will help you in the future. I'm surprised they didn't put any effort into clearing the course, it sounds brutal. Glad you had friends with you and could have fun afterward!

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  6. There's nothing more you could have done, but I know how bad it feels to be out there when all you want to do is stop. We can't fight nature and the elements (20 degrees is cooold!), but at least you got in a workout. Btw, I love the new look of the blog. Not sure when you updated it but it looks great!

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  7. The mental aspect is my biggest struggle as well. Kudos to you for being able to recognize it in yourself, and for taking the steps to correct it.

    (And yeah...a good beer works wonders on a bad attitude, doesn't it?)

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  8. Really glad you didn't quit the race, we all have those mental battles that after the fact we kick our selves for letting it get to us. Can't imagine running in shorts in 20 degree weather, however its been super cold here for a couple weeks so when the temps get in the 20's or sun comes out it feels so warm.
    This Saturday is a 5k that I have done the last two years and this time I have opted not to do it (unless I change mind last minute) It don't sound fun this time around Im not excited and I know I can crank out the miles but forcing myself will just make me dread the next race. I am sure your next race will go amazing!

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  9. Congratulations on what sounds like a really tough race. I have been know to give up and get really defeated in tough racing conditions and always regret doing so as soon as I cross the finish line. Sounds like you have it as much as you could and I'm sure this experience is going to come in handy when you're killing it in your next race. :)

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  10. There is nothing else I can really say here that we haven't already chatted about but I do want to say you are a total badass. No matter what the time on the clock is. I have fingers and toes crossed that the weather shapes up and lets you get after that half PR in March. You deserve it. <3

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  11. Been thinking about you. Hope you are happy as can be!! Big Hugs

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  12. Its great you kept with it! You win some, you lose some. I was off alot as well. Onto the next adventures! Cheers!

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  13. I was at this race too and I remember seeing you! I felt exactly the same throughout the whole race - going from excited and optimistic for a PR to frustrated beyond words at the course conditions. What got me out of my own head was seeing you and others crushing it in the front of the pack. Hopefully we'll have better weather for this season's Upstate races!

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