Well, I have to say, that race did not go as planned. I was expecting a big PR and, well, I didn’t. But honestly, I care a lot less about this than I was expecting.
The day before I did everything right. I rested up. I ate balanced meals-see below.
Including this lunch with a friend. I told her I needed “bland and healthy” so Subway fit the bill. I got turkey with avocado.
Plus a little treat.
And then a carb-y dinner. I made Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa. I ended up adding a ton of extra kale this time.
I woke up at 4:45 on race day morning feeling good. When I walked downstairs to make breakfast, my dog looked at me like I was crazy for being up so early.
I decided to play it safe with breakfast and have the one I’ve had before races in the past-oats/banana/egg whites with sunflower seed butter on top.
We arrived at the race area about 40 minutes before the start, and then I waited in the port a potty line.
Race morning would not have been complete without an awkward stretching picture.
It was cloudy and cool that morning-just around 60 degrees. The race started from just outside the ballpark. Here’s a view from the walk to the start:
(I’m pretty sure we have the prettiest ballpark ever.)
I got to the corrals with about 10 minutes to the start. I didn’t realize we could go around the barriers to get into the corral, so I was nowhere near my pace group but I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal. I that point, I had no idea what pace to shoot for.
And then I hit the starting line and was off!
My pace was pretty inconsistent at first and I did a fair amount of weaving. I felt pretty good at the start. The first few miles were uneventful, but I was glad when the 10kers broke off because it was way less crowded. The first few miles of this race go along the Embarcadero, until around mile 3ish when the course juts inward and climbs a bit.
When I started the climb, I revisited my definition of a hill a little bit. I told everyone that this race was pretty flat. Which by San Francisco standards, I suppose is true. But that still means there were two hills with about 200 feet of elevation gain on the course. The first hill was fine, and I was happy for my legs to have some different terrain-and the downhill was nice and gradual.
Almost immediately in the race I knew there was no way I was going to break 2:00, but for about half of the race I was gunning for 2:05. Around miles 4 and 5, that pace started to feel pretty fast and my legs were feeling pretty heavy. This part of the course goes through Crissy Field and has a fantastic view of the Golden Gate bridge. I like this race because the turn around point is where the hill up to the bridge starts-all the other races here I’ve done have climbed that hill and it is no fun!
After the turnaround, there were about 1.5/2ish miles of dirt path/gravel running which I absolutely HATE. I feel like I’m barely moving in it, and it sometimes hurts my feet. Last year I was cursing this part the whole way, but since I was prepared for it I was just mildly annoyed at least. Definitely not my favorite part of the race. At this point, my legs were feeling heavy and I let go of 2:05 and decided I’d be happy with any PR. I was not feeling great at this point and I still had a ways to go! I was tired before the second hill, and I lost a lot of time on the hill.
Not long after the hill, I was fading pretty quickly. I took goo at mile 10.5, but I still felt like I had nothing left in the tank. The last 3 miles flat out sucked, and it was all I could do to keep my legs moving. I gave up on PRing and focused more on finishing. I didn’t think I’d even beat my time from last year (which was my first half) so I my main goal was to finish in order to enjoy all the food I had planned later in the day. (Planning a trip with lots and lots of good food on the day of a half marathon is genius, by the way.) I was not feeling good at all. My legs felt like they weighed a million pounds and I had no energy at all.
Somehow, I managed to shuffle in to the finish, picking it up a bit as I entered the ballpark.
Boy, I look like I’m having a great time, don’t I?
And then there was the finish line!
And then, yayy! I was done! I ended up at least beating my time at this race from last year by about 20 seconds, but I was a few minutes off a PR with a 2:12.
I honestly don’t feel bad about not PRing. I had nothing left-I don’t feel like I slacked off at the end by losing a lot of speed. I felt decent after the race, but knew I was going to be in for trouble with my feet. My plantar fasciitis has been flaring a bit the past couple of weeks, and it never warmed up during the race, meaning the pain never went away like it normally does when I run. It was terrible and it definitely wasn’t getting worse, but it wasn’t great. And as soon as it cooled down, I knew I was toast! Right now my left one is way worse, but I’ve been more or less unable to walk the past 2 days….
For breakfast after the race, we stopped at Panera for an egg white and avocado sandwich and a pumpkin muffin, plus much needed ice for my foot!
So-thoughts on the race? It’s a really great race but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should because I was so tired and focused on PRing. I’m not disappointed with the result but I’m looking to learn from it. First of all, I went out WAY too fast and it totally killed me in the end. My long training runs had an overall faster pace, and my legs were never heavy around mile 10 like in the race. If I had chose a slower pace from the start and maintained it, I probably wouldn’t have died as much at the end and ended up with a better overall time. Also, I’m going to examine my fueling a bit better because I felt pretty depleted at the end.
But one of my biggest conclusions? I need to stop trying to PR. I can train to PR, but I don’t want to try to race like that anymore. I’ve enjoyed my training runs much more than the race because I go out so fast at the race, and the whole point is to have fun running, right? I mean, I’m not going to win anything! I need to enjoy the race more!
Moving forward, I have another half in about a month, and I see lots of cross training in my future, seeing as in theory I’m supposed to run 12 miles in a week and I can’t even really walk right now. I know my feet will get better, so I’ll play it by ear, but I may not be the best trained for this race and that’s ok. My current plan is a looong spin workout for next weekend in place of the run!
Do you ever go out too fast? How do you stop yourself?