This weekend I had a totally new experience. I ran the Space Coast Half Marathon with sub optimal training.
As you might imagine, it was a painful experience.
So I went to visit my family in PA for Thanksgiving. I flew home on Friday and arrived at my house early Saturday morning. After a quick sleep, we made the quick drive over to the coast for the Space Coast Half Marathon. This rapid turnaround was part of my less successful run.
Space Coast is a wildly popular race, with a fantastic medal series. Given my recent injury I’ve missed out on several years of the series, and this year was the last year, so in February 2017, I sat eagerly at the computer for the moment that registration opened. I was sure that in 9 months I’d be up to that distance, with no problem.
That did not happen.
Over those nine months, all sorts of things happened. I did not get very serious about running and training until June. Even then, I had weeks where I skipped things, and with no coaching, I just kind of did what I wanted. Going into this weekend I had a long run of 8 miles a few weeks ago. I was petrified. I had long imagined my return to the half marathon and I had NEVER imagined it to be like this! In my imagination, I was always returning, looking very fit, and running well…perhaps setting a new PR.
Ideally that is really when I should have returned to any sort of races. But I was registered for the social running event of the season, and I’ve known so many people who run undertrained and seem to do ok.
The night before I shared a hotel room with my friend Penny, her friend Karen and Karen’s husband. I could not sleep. All three of them were noisy sleepers- so I listened to lots of snores, muttered phrases etc. Eventually I did fall asleep for a few hours, but when I awoke, my legs still felt like lead.
The half marathon starts at 6 am, in the dark. One of the coolest things about this race, is running along the road and watching the sun rise over the water. I definitely got to do that. The race is so crowded at the start that I just kind of jogged along at a very slow pace. My legs didn’t feel very good, so I hoped they would flush themselves out.
At about mile 2 I remembered one of my pet peeves about this race… Huge Galloway Pace Groups. So imagine jogging along and then suddenly the mass of runners in front of you all start to walk in unison, forming an impenetrable wall of walkers. The first year I ran this race, I got entangled in one of these groups, and I almost did this year. Luckily I was able to get out of that mess and stay in front of them.
From mile 2-11 things went fairly well. I saw some pals and waved as I ran, I used some nutrition, and drank tons of water.
At mile 10, I thought that I would have no problem completing this race. it wasn’t going to be a PR, but I felt pretty good. At mile 11, I discovered very suddenly that I did not feel pretty good. I didn’t want to run, but when I tried walking, that also hurt like crazy. I hobbled to the finish and boy was I glad to be done. Several hours later, I found a way to snap an incredibly happy picture of me.
I will never again do another race undertrained! I never want to fake a happy picture! Well… lots of lessons!