After a training season that had a lot of ups and downs I was pumped to be running the half marathon on Sunday. Although my training didn’t go as planned, I was confident that I would run a good time.
I did a 1 mile warm up and everything felt good. No random cramps in my side and no pain in my feet. All I had to do was wait 45 mins for the race to start. And stay warm, I was freezing in those temps. I had planned on my race outfit being shorts and a tank. Slowly I convinced myself I would need capris and a long sleeve (and gloves).
I had planned to run with the 3:20 group to keep me on pace and from going out too fast. Apparently that pace group doesn’t exist so I stayed in the back of the pack of the 3:15 group instead.
Within the first 10 steps of the race, I could feel discomfort in my feet, my left especially. I hoped it would go away in a couple miles when I had warmed up.
Mile 1 – 7:34, Mile 2 – 7:28, Mile 3 – 7:38, Mile 4 – 7:39:
After a couple of miles I realized that the pain was not going away and was getting worse, I decided to slow down my pace and see if that made it any better. It didn’t so I slowed down some more. I couldn’t decide if I should speed up to finish faster and get off my feet or slow down to make the pounding less painful. The only thing I knew was that even if I had to crawl I was crossing that finish line this year.
Mile 5 – 7:43, Mile 6 – 8:07
I wasn’t even sure I knew my pace at this point but I was hoping my pace was still fast enough to be ahead of the 3:25 group Ryan was pacing. I still don’t know if it was the embarrassment of him passing me with the slower group that bothered me or him knowing I was in pain and there was nothing we could do about it. I tried not to let him see how much pain I was in but I’m pretty sure my face said it all.
Mile 7 – 7:55, Mile 8 – 7:59
Although I was in pain, I LOVED this course! The crowd support was amazing. I can’t believe how the city came out to support the runners. Times I felt like I couldn’t go on but then I couldn’t stop either with all of those people cheering me on! Seeing the support on the course helped me to stay at a decent pace.
Mile 9 – 8:16, Mile 10 – 8:34
At the time, these miles felt really slow, but looking at them now I feel a little better about them. I knew the turnaround was around mile 10ish so I was anxious to make the journey to the finish line.
I knew the Shoreway would be hard in general, I had no idea how hard it would be with feet that were screaming in pain and calves that were tightening up. Every time I saw a curb, I just wanted to sit down, cry and rub my feet. My left foot was worse than my right so I had started favoring it. That made matters worse because then things that never hurt started hurting. I was convinced I had given myself a stress fracture at one point. I ended up having to suck it up and run evenly on both feet to save myself other random pains.
Mile 11 – 8:30
I somehow forgot to take Gu the whole race. I was so concentrated on my feet that I completely forgot. I told myself when I got to the next water stop that I would make sure to take my Gu.
Mile 12 – 9:31, Mile 13 – 9:06
I finally busted out my Gu for the last 1.5 miles as I passed through a water stop. I ended up walking through the water stop because I was in so much pain. I even entertained walking to the finish line from this last water stop. Luckily, I had friends working the water stop and just seeing their smiling faces and hearing words of encouragement got me moving again.
Those last 2 miles on the shoreway were not easy but I as I looked around, every runner was struggling but not quiting. I knew with every step I took I was getting closer to the finish line so all I had to do was keep moving.
I was getting excited towards the end because I was pretty sure there would be a downhill and then a straight shot to the finish. I loved coming off the Shoreway and seeing a long line of people on the sides of the street leading to the finish line.
I didn’t kick to the finish like I normally do, I just kept the same pace. I painfully crossed the finish line and made my way through the finish chute. To be honest it was kind of a blur but I randomly grabbed, water, powerade, chocolate milk and a popsicle. Those are my favorite things to have post race because they don’t upset my stomach at all.
It was a half mile walk back to the car so I slowly tried to look at my watch and see some of my paces from the race. I had the course measured at 13.4, based on this I was running an 8:03 average pace. My watch had been beeping about .1 before each mile marker so I knew the course would be long in the end. My official finish time was 1:48:30. I feel better knowing if this course was 13.1 (rare that a race would be that exact) I would have ran a 1:45:30. Still way off my PR but I estimated that if something went wrong with my feet that I would still run a 1:45.
I admit I was pretty disappointed in my time for this race. Only because I train hard so when a race I had been training hard for doesn’t go well then it is kind of heartbreaking. As heartbreaking as it might be, it also makes you want revenge and you come back stronger. However, I believe I have figured out what went wrong and caused my feet so much pain. A 17 hour work day 2 days before and warming up too early before the race because I needed to get in my corral. Not much I can do about either of those except get my feet and calves to stop tightening up.
In the end, after being injured and sick the past 2 Cleveland Marathons, I am happy I was able to cross the finish line of my hometown race. I can’t wait to do it again next year.