Running is a Fickle Little B*tch

This post could alternatively be titled “The Time I wanted to Quit a Half Marathon After Just One Mile.”

I ran a half marathon yesterday. But before we talk about that, let’s talk about the Seattle Marathon 10k, which I ran last Saturday. Two race reports in one post! Geez, I’m getting lazy efficient…

After my blow-up at the 5k, my plan for the 10k was simple: Don’t be an idiot. I tried to run a smart race, and although I got tired and slowed down toward the end (don’t have splits because my Garmin is on the fritz), I finished in 50:39, beating my old PR of 51:51 by over a minute. I was super happy with this time!

photo 2-3My 10k indicated that I’ve gained a little speed, and I was confident I could beat my half marathon PR.

I started the half marathon just behind the 1:52 pacer (that was my goal time), and I told myself to run by feel. Start off easy and see how it goes.

After a mile and a half, I knew it wasn’t happening. They changed the course this year, and I really didn’t like it. The first six miles were on a shoulder of a busy street, which reminded me a lot of the Skagit Flats Half Marathon. The weather was warm and humid, and the course provided little shade; it was just me, the sun and the black asphalt. It was pretty miserable, and I quickly decided this would be my last Labor Day Half Marathon.

Before I even got to mile 2, I turned off my watch and decided to take it easy and not stress about the race. I clearly wasn’t going to set a PR so there was no point in killing myself. I kept it at a comfortable pace, took my time at the water stops, and I made a conscious effort to not be hard on myself. I reminded myself multiple times that just one bad day wasn’t an indication of my overall fitness.

My official time was 2:01:29. Even though I took it relatively easy, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

photo-68When I got home, John and I went to the little Mexican restaurant by our house, where I enjoyed some pretty awesome steak tacos. I topped it off with a chocolate dipped ice cream cone from McDonald’s. I was pretty happy, and the ice cream almost made my suffering worth it. Almost.

I’ve found that you learn the most when you have bad runs. They force you to look at what is and isn’t working, what you like/dislike, etc. Yesterday was no exception. I learned:

  • I need to take half marathons more seriously. Yes, they require less recovery than a marathon, but they’re still really hard. If I want to set some PRs in this distance and give that sub 1:50 a real chance, I need to respect the distance and train specifically for it.
  • I need to run less half marathons. This was my 16th half marathon (that includes two trail halfs), so I don’t get much thrill from just finishing. If I’m going to run a half marathon, I want to race it for a PR.
  • Maybe Portland is a bad idea. I haven’t announced this yet, but I’m also running the California International Marathon in December (I’ll explain why later). By adding CIM to my schedule, Portland has become more of a “training run.” But I’m not sure if I’m ready to run a marathon as a training run. I’m going to keep training and make a decision two weeks out from the race. Chances are I’ll run it just because Portland is a fun experience, but that probably isn’t the smartest choice. But I’m not always the smartest person, which is clearly demonstrated in this dialogue I had on Saturday:

Scene: At Safeway buying cigarettes for a friend.

Me: “Uh…I’ll have the American Spirits yellow.”
Cashier: “Just one pack?”
Me (kinda embarrassed to be buying cigarettes because smoking is gross): “Yeah, I mean, these aren’t even for me….”

I realized what an idiotic thing that was to say as soon as the words left my mouth and hoped she wouldn’t think I was buying them for a teenager. Thankfully she was cool and let me buy the nasty smokes. p.s. Cigarettes are expensive!

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4 thoughts on “Running is a Fickle Little B*tch

  1. I was thinking about you on Sunday—knowing how much you don’t like running in the heat—I kept hoping you’d be in lots of shade. Sounds like that was not the case. Also, running on the shoulder of a busy street sounds terrible—all those gas fumes! Ick!! An ice cream cone sounds like an appropriate reward:):)

  2. Starbuck (the inspiration for Starbuck’s Coffee) says:
    “… I ask thee not to beware of Starbuck; thou wouldst but laugh; but let Ahab beware of Ahab…”

    “Respect the distance,” you write wisely. I’ve wanted to quit running one mile into a marathon. Good grief that is a naked, exposed place to be. It probably isn’t all that respectful to repeatedly put yourself in that position. I’m sure the white whale finds it amusing!

    “Let Megan beware of Megan.”

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