This racing season has been so fun! I have a shiny new half marathon PR and got reminded of how to properly race–cuz I seem to have forgotten in the past 2 years how to actually RACE.
So what happened in Jersey?
It was good. But I got schooled.
- I was not at the race early enough. I took the special race train but they had LOST MY BIB so I had to track down someone to get my a freaking bib before the race started so I missed my usual 1-2 mile warm-up.
- The weather was perfect for racing hard…until the end (or for those poor marathoners who got the sunshine). Overcast and cool.
- I went out too fast (7:15 min/miles) and I felt great but didn’t have the miles under my belt to maintain that pace. Good news is, I can totally do that this Fall.
- I slowed down to my normal pace (7:40) but was exhausted by mile 9. Stupid mile 9. My nemesis. By mile 10.5, I had no gas left in the tank.
- I maintained that pace until the last mile and a half when we turned into a headwind straightaway along the beaches along the Shore. Brutal. Ended with an 8:05 min/mile and was DONE. Like, dry-heaving done.
Lesson learned: Get to race earlier to warm-up and NEVER, EVER go out faster than your training miles.
You’d think I would have remembered this but I was just so excited to be out there racing that I didn’t want to hold back. Still, I managed to PR by 2 minutes!
Chicago was a completely different beast.
In the 6 weeks I spent at the hospital, my training times didn’t suffer but my legs felt tired ALL THE TIME. Day and night, short or long run, track or tempo, I felt tired every single moment of every single day.
When I got to Chicago, I knew my race was going to be slower than Jersey.
- It was hot.
- My legs were toast.
- I couldn’t figure out my watch.
Thank goodness JB, Ginger, and Hillary were out there to cheer me on. I’m pretty sure I would have just grabbed a cab and headed back to my hotel at mile 6.5 if they weren’t meeting me at the finish.
My splits were even (7:42-ish) and going negative until mile 11 when I was done with a capital “D”. But my legs felt like they were torn apart at mile 7. SEVEN!!! So I knew early on it would be a battle.
Good thing was, I had someone else to run for that day.
Those last 2 miles just beat me down. I was SO hot and my legs were SO tired and I was SO cranky. Good news is, I didn’t slow down all that much and still finished with a respectable time.
Lesson learned: Going from sitting on my butt in class all day to standing and walking all day every day does not make for speedier times.
On the bright side, I was the 2nd female finisher for Team Challenge in Chicago!
I’m glad I ran both of these races. The PR in Jersey felt like the welcome back to running I needed after all the surgeries and illness and drugs. I had a ball with my friends and family in Chicago and wouldn’t trade getting to run as a member of Team Challenge for anything in the world.
If you ever get the chance to run with Team Challenge, I highly recommend you do it. There wasn’t a mile on the course that didn’t have a TC coach, mentor, or fan cheering for me and all the other TC runners.
The best part about the course was that it was an out-and-back loop and I could give a thumbs up to my teammates as we went by each other on the course. It was a sea of orange along the lake.
All in all, a successful return to running. I’m so happy. I know it’s hot and sweaty and gross out there right now and I’m complaining about it just as much as the next runner. But I’m so happy to be running again.
How is your racing going? Are you struggling with tired legs like I was or are you rocking it hard on the racing circuit? I know some of you are Age Group placing/winning these days. Tell me all about it!
Now go out and run.