**Disclaimer: I’m normally not this cranky and negative when I run, but I want this blog to be an honest reflection of my running experiences. And let’s be real here, not every run is going to be great. **
Dad and I ran the Lake Samish Half on Sunday, and it was tough. So tough that my inner B*tch (Inner B) made a big appearance very early in the race. Inner B is a term I recently heard while reading Second Wind, a book about a woman who ran a marathon on every continent. I’ll review that book later this week.
Dad and my plan for the race was to ease into the run at 9 min/miles and finish the first lap (the half marathon consisted of two loops around Lake Samish) without feeling too gassed.
We started running and I quickly became annoyed that Dad was not following the plan. I glanced down at my Garmin and saw that we were right around 8:30 min/mile. I told him to slow down, but he didn’t seem to change his pace. I was also annoyed because I had mentally planned for a flat course, and I was surprised by some of the rolling hills. By mile three, I was pissed off and worried. I had never felt this tired this early in a race. My mind was flooded with thoughts and concerns, mostly pertaining to how I would finish this thing.
Dad maintained a four-foot lead in front of me, and he said he could feel my Inner B shooting daggers at him. I was a stressed, unhappy runner.
As we neared the halfway point, Dad said that we could stop at the end of the first loop (some of the runners were running two loops for the half marathon and some were just running one loop). He knew I was feeling terrible and wanted to give me an out. I’m not gonna lie – I had been thinking about quitting after the first loop since mile two. I contemplated the proposition, but I knew I couldn’t quit. I didn’t want (and still don’t) to set the precedent that it’s OK to quit just because I’m tired. What will happen on a marathon if I start getting tired at mile 10? Will I veer off with the half marathoners and quit halfway through? No. Quitting for any reason other than sickness or injury is unacceptable.
So, after an internal and external debate, I said that we would finish what we had signed up to do. I knew that no matter how physically painful the last 6.5 miles were, it would feel better than quitting. So we pressed on.
We had GUs after finishing the first lap. I tried to silence my Inner B and focus on the positive – I was halfway done! I felt a little better but still not great.
By mile nine, Dad’s lead had extended, and I was grateful for it. I no longer stressed about keeping up with him; I just focused on my own race. And, to be fair to Dad, he deserved to run faster. He shouldn’t be slowed down just because I mentally and physically wasn’t in it.
Running alone helped silence my Inner B, but the damage had already been done. I started feeling a dull pain on the back of my head and my shoulders were incredibly tense. I kept chugging along to the finish line and somehow finished with my second fastest time (1:58:42). Dad had already finished two minutes earlier. Crossing that finish line was a huge relief. I was grateful to be under two hours, and I was proud of myself for finishing a hard, stressful race.
This was mentally and physically the hardest race I’ve ever run. It wasn’t because I’ve been slacking off and it wasn’t because I was in bad shape; it was just because I didn’t have “it” that day. Running and sports are funny that way – you just never know if you’re gonna have it.