My first half marathon back after my 6 in 6 adventure.... and I had a goal for myself. Shave that extra 1 minute and 46 seconds off my half time so that I could get a better corral placement at my first full marathon. Yikes. How impressive would that have been to get a new PR, take 1:46 off my time between Billings Montana and now, and also take 21 minutes and 36 seconds off of my half time in 1 year? That would have been seriously sweet.
Unfortunately that isn't even close to what happened, but it was nice to go into this event having a goal.
It shouldn't be a surprise to know that the week leading up to this race, my foot wasnt doing well again. I was in and out of the boot. I was minimizing my training runs. I was babying myself by laying on the couch with my foot elevated... I was sore, but I was feeling fairly confident. And then I got an email telling me that the course had changed. The course was bring rerouted to include 1/2 mile on the "hardpacked sand" around mile 4, then another 1/2 mile on the same sand around mile 10 at the return to the finishline.
If there is one thing that I already knew beyond a reasonable doubt would wreak havoc on my bad foot, it was sand, whether "hardpacked" or not.
But as much as I worried that this sand would do a number on my foot, I had already paid the entry, I had a goal to meet in terms of time, I still wanted to go out there and run. Plus it was a Halloween themed race and Brina and I made really cute Dr. Who costumes...
So we get there bright and early... and for the first time since my first half marathon back in January, Ray was joining up at the 13.1 distance. He hadn't done any training for this race, so he felt kind of under prepared but he really wanted the Halloween Half medal... anyway... I am clearly digressing.
So we (me, Seth, Brina and Ray) arrive at the parking garage and wait for our fellow Half Fanatic Juanita to arrive, then off to the starting corral.
Before we knew it, it was time to go. The first mile or so of the course was awful. The race started at Jungle Island in Miami, then we had to wind around the access road, underneath the bridge then onto the causeway toward Miami Beach. At that time of the morning, the road was really poorly lit, I felt exhausted, and bored. Here we go again. Just go through the motions, right?
To help myself along, I find my person who would be my goal to finish in front of. Normally I don't pick my person that early in a race, but I needed some kind of extra incentive to push it. She was a larger woman in purple, and we passed her before we even hit mile marker 1... never to see her again until mile 10 where we suddenly saw her in front of us, realized she had cut the course and was cheating, then shamelessly passed her again)... so clearly she wasn't a good choice in a person. But even though we passed my person so early, I was feeling good. The first 4 miles or so, I was making really good time... and Brina was really supporting me and pushing me on.
I really can't say enough how much I love this girl.
But then after mile 4, things started to deteriorate... and fast. The course veered off to a concrete (then brick, then sand, then brick path) and the constant pounding was like being hit repeatedly with a machete in my lower back. I have always had back problems, but never felt this kind of pain while running. I wanted to push through it, but I was in so much pain I was almost in tears. Then on the sand portion we chose to walk it to not risk further damage on my foot, and that slowed me down even more.
It was clear that Brina was getting impatient with me (which in retrospect I don't blame her for), and her impatience was discouraging me. I wanted to be better. I wanted wanted to get that PR. I wanted my training partner to be proud of me. Instead as the time went on and she kept trying to motivate me and push me to be the best I could, I got stuck in my brain. I felt like a failure. I felt like I was not only letting myself down... but I was letting one of my best friends down as well. I was hurting. I was angry.
I said some things that I NEVER should have said to the girl who has never wanted anything but success for me (things that I am incredibly remorseful for when I look back at the situation). I lashed out and pushed her away because I didn't want to hold her back. I didn't want her to see me fail. I kept chugging along, but my brain hurt more than my body did... and my body was in very rough shape.
I struggled to keep up with her, but eventually I felt that distance between us growing larger and larger until I couldn't see her through the field anymore. I was about half a mile from the finishline, and I was on my own.
I finished, and I felt awful. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let down everyone around me. I had one job to do (bring my time down), and I couldn't even do that. I could barely even hold my own brain together. I needed to go home and cry. And not the good kind of cry either. I needed to wallow in my self pity.
But we went to breakfast instead. And it was good.
The Halloween Half was over, and tomorrow would be a new day.
Gun - 3:26:00
Chip - 3:23:29
Pace - 15:32/ Mile