Yesterday I took part in the Cowtown Half Marathon for the fourth time. It’s one of my favorite races and I have a lot of good memories there. It’s in my neighborhood, the course is cute, the medals are cowbells and it’s become a staple of my fall. I was worried I wouldnt’ get to participate with all the craziness going on in my life so when it looked like I’d get to I was happy. I did taper a bit last week but had no idea what kind of time I could run.
I woke up and felt just fine. Did my usual thing, cruised to the race and met up with my teammates. We ran a couple of miles to warm up and lined up at the start. Since I was running with my team and we don’t race with ipods, I figured I’d run without mine. My plan was to hang on to PR pace for as long as I can and then suffer through the end. A few of my teammates were running the same pace which made me really happy- love them and love running with them.
We took off and the first 4 miles flew by. I was right on pace for a PR for these miles and felt really good. However, it was slightly muggy and I noticed that I was sweating incredibly- like, hot yoga levels of sweating. I just adjusted and made sure to take plenty of water at aid stations and added a little cytomax every other. I’m used to sweating a lot so it wans’t a big deal.
After about mile 7 I started to slow down. I lost contact with my teammates and allowed myself to get it together and jog for a bit. But I didn’t feel better- my legs hurt and I fell apart a bit. I was still working hard, I just wasn’t moving as fast!
I continued through the race like that- work hard, slow down. Work hard, slow down. My average pace dropped and I got hotter and hotter! I was eventually dumping the water over my head in an attempt to cool down. It helped but I felt ridiculous.
Finally, I rounded the corner and decided to run hard for hte last mile. There was a slightly overweight guy in a costume and I figured I’m wearing booty shorts and a team singlet, I cannot get beat by a costume. That’s embarassing. So I ran so hard!
I finished the race in 1:54 which is about 4 mins off my PR. Given that I haven’t trained specifically for this race, wasn’t sure what kind of shape I was in and had a really, really rough week, I’ll take it. This was also the longest race I’ve run without an ipod. Surprisingly I didn’t miss it at all. I put it in the pocket of my shorts in case of “emergency” but I never pulled it out. I actually really enjoyed the bands on the course, talking to other runners and just being really aware of what was going on. If anything I think the music would have caused me to go external and not having it allowed me to focus internally. If that makes sense. At any rate, it was fine.
So while I didn’t PR, I ended the day with 18 miles, had a wonderful time with some of my favorite people and enjoyed one of my favorite races. This hasn’t exactly been a period of my life conducive to PRs and pushing so the fact that I haven’t lost much speed and still get out there makes me happy. I’ll get that PR eventually. I hope!
(I’m the runner with the stressed shoulders in Orange)