Thursday, September 26, 2013

race recap: detroit women's half marathon

alrighty.

this past sunday i ran in the inaugural detroit women's half marathon. i was really nervous for this race up to the very second we started because it marked my first race back in half marathon distances since 2010. a very big milestone indeed. while i wanted to pr and run this race under two hours, what i really needed was this race to be a mental confidence booster for me. at the end of the day, it was not. but i'll get to that.

my sister and i before the race - it was cold!

the day before the race we stayed in detroit as that is where the expo was. i really enjoyed the expo - lots of neat vendors, really cool race swag you could buy and the douglas j salon was there braiding hair and changing nail polish. i wanted to get my hair braided but didn't have the patience to wait in line - it was a popular place to be at the expo :)

the race itself was on belle isle and if you're unfamiliar with it, i hope you'll either check it out for yourself someday or read about it online. its a beautiful park in between michigan and canada that doesn't get the financial support it deserves. the course was 2.25 loops around the island, starting and ending in the same spot. fairly simple and no way to get lost. i like that!

come race morning i was a nervous wreck. my stomach was a wreck. my brain was a wreck. i felt all over the place and i couldn't calm myself down. i'm not sure what it is about races that makes me so nervous. when you break it down, a race is really just a large group of people going for a long run of the same distance. and if you really didn't want to run anymore, you don't have to. you can stop and thats okay. so i don't know why i put so much pressure on myself or get so freaked out when really there's nothing to be freaked out about in the first place. :/ oy.

i did bump into megan in the starting corral which was really neat. i've never met any of my blogger connections in the real world (so that was awesome) and talking to megan helped me settle down and take my mind off my anxiety which was incredibly helpful. thank you megan!

this was my race debut in my oiselle singlet!

the race started a little late and then we were off. though my pace felt slow in the beginning, i knew i was right where i wanted to be. i fell into stride somewhere in between the 1:55 and 2:00 pacers and was holding that pace comfortably. i knew right then i could be looking at a sub two hour half, but i tried to pull back the reigns on my ambitions and just focus on each mile.

something happened around mile 4. i don't know what it was but i knew what was to come wasn't going to be good. my right foot started to feel funny and funny isn't typically a good thing when you're running. suddenly all i could think about was my funny feeling foot and i hit a mental wall. i didn't want to run. i didn't think i could do the race. i didn't know why i was running the race. i wasn't having fun and i was having a hard time convincing myself to keep going.

all smiles before mile 4

i know enough about running to know that your mind is sometimes the biggest barrier to push through. so i just kept my legs moving and tried to shut my head up. i managed to get to my last full loop around the island when the funny feeling in my foot turned to pain. and it hurt to put pressure on it. *insert panic attack here* i have had stress fractures in the past and it wasn't that same pain, but it was enough to make me unsure if i could physically finish the race without making whatever injury i had worse.

after panicking for a couple miles i finally gave in and stopped to loosen up my shoe thinking that maybe it was just too tight. a mile and a half later i felt worse, instead of better. and at mile 9 i just lost it. i started crying, feeling completely defeated and worthless. and i thought about why i was crying and the fact that i was crying during a race and somehow i told myself to suck it up but the feeling of misery didn't leave.

the last 4 miles were a combination of limping, hobbling, stopping to adjust my shoe and then limping and hobbling some more. i didn't think i would make it to the finish, but somehow i did. and i didn't do it alone. brandon jogged along side me for a little bit before mile 12 and with about 3/4 of the last mile to go, another runner pulled up next to me and asked me if i was okay. i told her about my foot and she told me that her knee was killing her. i found a kindred sole and we limped along, encouraging each other to the end (thank you, where ever you are!).

sis and i post race, medals and all

breakdown of splits:

mile 1: 8:52
mile 2: 8:47
mile 3: 8:52
mile 4: 8:49
mile 5: 8:48
mile 6: 8:43
mile 7: 8:51
mile 8: 9:00
mile 9: 9:34
mile 10: 9:41
mile 11: 9:45
mile 12: 10:35
mile 13: 10:33
(according to garmin)

official time: 2:03:39
(according to bib chip)

the thing is, i pr'd this race. by 6 minutes. which means i totally kicked ass. and i should have been over the moon happy, but i wasn't. i was flat out frustrated by my foot pain but more so i was devastated that what i needed most from the race i didn't get. i needed to come out of the race feeling confident, feeling stronger than the last time i did a half marathon. and i didn't. i felt mentally weak. i felt defeated.

i'm glad i waited until later in the week to write this recap because i can honestly say that i have moved on from feeling this way. the race is over, there's nothing more that can be done and it won't help me to dwell on it. but i can't help but think about the fact that had i not gotten injured i most likely would have finished under two hours. had i been mentally tougher maybe the times could have been faster. this is the curse of a runner, no?

one of the many motivational signs along the course

maybe its a good thing that i'm on the "do not run" list for this week. obviously my body needs to heal, but maybe my mind does too. i think we can get so worked up about a race, or any event, that it mentally wears us down and i think thats part of what happened to me on sunday. sure, it makes me a little anxious for my next half marathon, but at the same time, i've seen my potential and it encourages me that much more to go out and get that sub two hour finish.

many thanks to those who worked hard to put this race on. for its inaugural year, i'd say the race was a success! check out their facebook page for some truly wonderful stories that will inspire you and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

loooove this medal

oh, and stay tuned for some awesome promotional footage for the detroit women's half featuring yours truly. i can't wait to share it with you all :)




26 comments:

  1. First, congrats on your PR. You'll get that sub two, next race. No problem. You were right on track for it. I know how you feel. I was hoping to break it in May. I ended up completely losing feeling in my left foot.
    So don't let injury make you think you can't do it. When the conditions are right, you'll rock it.

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    1. Losing feeling in your left foot?! I hope things are okay now for you! I agree with you - everything seems to fall in place when its meant to. When it happens, I'll be ready :)

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  2. Minus the issues, great work!!! I hope you are back to feeling better in no time!

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  3. I agree with Amanda. GREAT job! And good for you for taking the time off that you need now.

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    1. I keep trying to tell myself that, but its not easy! I know you know how that is!

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  4. I'm not gonna lie...I'm kind of impressed that your limping pace is the same as my racing pace! haha
    We all have bad races, but at the very least you got a PR and a kickass medal! :)
    Now you just have to focus all your energy on getting better so you can get back out there and have a better NEXT half-marathon!

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    1. Thanks girl! I am trying to focus all that energy on the next race. Dwelling in the past just doesn't get you anywhere!

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  5. Sounds so tough, sorry you had to go through that. :( I've had some really bad ones due to my rib strain and then one where I was physically sick and basically walked the whole half marathon after mile 4. It took 3 hours! Sometimes I don't even know why I finished those, I totally get wanting to do it anyway even when it's not fun. Pushing through the mental part. I hope you work through the foot thing soon, and you'll get your confidence boost race I know it!

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    1. I can't imagine what your rib strain was like. When I get side cramps, I think that is torture - rib strains sound way worse! I'm impressed you walked the rest of the way. I know how tough that must have been mentally, too. It is the harder part of the run sometimes :)

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your foot problems during the race! A total bummer but I think you did great, especially during those last few miles that must have been absolutely brutal to run through. Kudos to you for pushing through and finishing the race and congrats on the new PR :)

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    1. Thank you, Sun! I have to remind myself to focus on the positives. Thats easier said than done most times :)

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  7. 1st off - you PRed!!!! Congratulations! On a hurt foot! That's unreal! You should not at all feel bad about your effort whatsoever.

    2nd - I'm so sorry you had such a stressful time. I get really nervous (almost panicked) before races, and it's so pointless. I'm not trying to qualify for the Olympics, and I have a day job, so why does it matter? I also know what it's like to worry about something going wrong and not make it through a run or race. We create more stress around the situation than need be. I'm sorry you had to go through the race feeling that way.

    Finally, I'm glad you're looking into the foot issue. No need to make a situation worse by running on it. I hope you can figure a good treatment option!

    You're doing awesome! Hang in there!!!

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    1. YES! PANICKED - thats how I feel too! WHY do we feel that way?! We absolutely create more stress for ourselves and it wore me down mentally, I really believe that. If you figure out a meditation or something for keeping that anxiety at bay, PLEASE share!

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  8. I'm sorry about your foot issues, but you still did an amazing job. I hope your foot heals completely and quickly!

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    1. Thanks girl! Appreciate your kind words :)

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  9. That is an awesome medal and proud of you for persevering! The easy way is out and you did not take it! Hold your head up high!

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    1. Thanks Tami! If there's one thing running is about, its perseverance, right?

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  10. Awww Alicia, I'm so sorry about your foot! I'm glad you are ok now, but I totally know what you were feeling while running the race and that sucks. Despite all of that, you got a PR!! That's amazing! I love that a random stranger ran with you the last few miles.

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    1. Thanks Karen! I do think thats one thing about a women's race that might not have happened in a co-ed race (someone stopping to run with me)... but you never know. I'm thankful for it either way.

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  11. Congrats on your PR; however, I am sorry that it was not the sub 2 you wanted. Hope your foot feels better soon.

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  12. Hi Alicia!! I knew who you were as I read your race recap before I saw your picture. We are kindred soles....I was trying to break 2 hours as well only my knee for some unknown reason was killing me. Stopping to talk to you gave me the strength to keep running and finish. I knew how bad your foot hurt and thought if you can do it -- I can too.

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    1. Oh my gosh! Is it really you?!!? I'm so glad you found me, both in the race and both here!! I hope your knee is doing better! Our next race we will both get those sub-two hour PRs, I just know it :)

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  13. ....good morning...so I am getting ready to run my next race....the Detroit 1/2....if you are running....best of luck to you..... I will be running with you in spirit!

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    1. I hope your race went well! I was not at the Detroit Half, but wanted to be :(

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Getting comments feels as good as a freezing cold glass of Gatorade on a hot summer day. So don't be shy - share your thoughts & opinions! - Alicia