Monday, November 16, 2009

The Race

It is the morning after the race.  I can move my body without too much trouble, so that is a good sign. I did finish the race, which was the goal. I knew there was NO WAY I could match or beat my 1:56 time from last year, but I was hoping for a 2:15. Turns out that was a lofty hope. I finished in 2:39, but I did finish. I think anytime you are in a race you do better if you have a strategy. My strategy was to run during 2 songs on the ipod and walk during 1 song. This is a strategy I use when I first building mileage during training. I had been comfortably doing this for 6-8 miles in training, but had never made my 10-12 mile long runs. Our Saturday/Sundays just seemed to fill up. But at the end of an 8 mile run/walk I felt good and had maintained a 10 minute per mile pace, so I thought shooting for around an eleven minute mile would work out just fine. My strategy had its merits, but there were some things I didn't foresee. One is that running with 30,000 people, even in a wave start situation is crowded. I started with the 10 minute per mile people, but I started out running. I actually run a bit faster than 10 minute miles so I was having to dodge around everyone and work the crowd. Once my two songs had past I would make my way over to the outside and walk for one song, but when it was time to run again I would have to work the crowd all over again. This prevented me from every really settling into a solid rhythm of running. I really count on my rhythm when I get tired. It is like being on auto pilot. You just go. I also didn't foresee that it was going to be so humid. While it is often humid in Austin during training, I don't usually choose those days to do 13.1 miles. My upper arms are scabby from where they rubbed on my shirt. I picked up Vaseline from the aid stations twice, but it was just so humid! At the 6.5 mile mark I decided to walk to mile 7 and forget the song strategy. When I got to mile 7 and tried to start running again it was harder, but I made myself do it. I ran one song and then walked one song. I did that twice and then just decided at mile 9 to walk the rest of it. Four miles, how hard could that be? I walk all the time and find it much easier than running. Well it was hard. I did push myself to walk fast. I kept thinking, "Do your best. If your best is walking, walk your best." My feet hurt, my hips hurt, my neck hurt, my shoulders just hurt. When I got to mile 11 I thought I would try to run again. Two miles is the loop I do in our neighborhood without ANY trouble and on a pretty regular basis. I took two steps and my knees almost gave out while my hips and feet screamed in pain even more. Hmm...guess I won't be running the last two miles. I wanted to quit, I wanted it to be over, I wanted to be better than what I was, but here I was walking...walking...walking...I come close to the finish line shoot I thought I would give it one more try. Everyone runs across the finish line even if they walked the whole race. I took a few tentative steps and my body seemed to hold up, so I kept going. As I passed the sign that said 13 I felt my left calf muscle cramp and the ligaments ball up. "Oh no! It is not worth it to injure myself. I still want to work up to more miles. I want to get back to being that runner I was." I ran a little more tenderly because now I was near the finish line and to start walking would have meant getting run over by those behind me. I finally crossed the finish line and cried. I had made it. Not the way I wanted to, but I had made it. Too bad Cameron and I had a designated meeting place that was another 1/2 a mile away from where I stood! As I reflect on yesterday's race I realize that every "race" we run in life requires a strategy, but we also must never trust in the strategy alone. We must know when to let go of the plan and do something else. That is hard for me. I like plans. I like strategies, but more than anything I like finishing the races God has given me to run. Yesterday I saw a lot of room for growth as a runner and as a person. 

Here were my stats:
Distance HALF MAR

Clock Time 3:02:22

Chip Time 2:39:41

Overall Place 11788 / 20021

Gender Place 6377 / 12585

Division Place 1237 / 2238

Age Grade 41.3%

Pace 12:11

Ttlrace 20021

Ttldiv 2238

Ttlsex 12585

5 Km 30:58

6 1 Mi 1:06:20

15 Km 1:45:58

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