The crash and burn race. We all have them, right?
So let’s back up. The whole family was coming along to this race. We woke the girls up early and left the house by 6:30am. They dropped me off and went to the Brownstone Diner and Pancake Factory for breakfast while I picked up my packet and did a warm up.
I got in about 3 miles before the race. It was 70 degrees and overcast, so I was hopeful that it wouldn’t “feel” too warm but I was already uncomfortable before the race began.
I had a discussion with myself about how to pace this race. My goal time was about 7:05 pace but I was doubting myself in the heat.
Yet, so much of racing is mental… maybe I could pull it off? I shouldn’t doubt my abilities from the beginning or it definitely wouldn’t happen.
So I decided to go for it. Big mistake.
The race started at 8:30 and I settled in to what felt like a pretty comfortable pace for the first few miles: 7:03, 6:59, and 7:01.
My face felt unusually hot, but I felt strong and confident. All I had to do was hold this pace and I would finally break my half pr! It felt doable. I began running side by side with another woman for awhile, and we started talking. She was aiming for around 1:33, so was I. She kept us on pace for a few more miles and I was feeling good, although I remember telling her how odd it felt to have such red cheeks so early in the race. Miles 4 and 5: 7:10, 7:12
During mile 6, I slowed down to get water and dumped some over my head which felt amazing. As I caught up with my friend again, I couldn’t get the rhythm back. She assured me that it was from the water stop and I’d get back in the groove soon. Unfortunately, I just started feeling worse and worse and let her get a lead. Mile 6: 7:34
Suddenly, the wheels started falling off. I don’t even know what it was- my legs felt heavy, my breathing felt hard and I just wanted to lay down on the side of the road. I pulled out a HUMA gel, hoping a little fuel would bring some pep back to my legs and sipped on half of it. No luck. I actually had to stop and walk! Mile 7: 8:17
At this point, I debated quitting. I was pretty sure there was no way I could run another 6 miles. But this was also supposed to be my last 20 miler before the marathon. I realized I needed to let go of a time goal and walk as much as I needed to and hydrate as often as possible. At least I would get the miles in as a training run. Mile 8 and 9: 8:46, 8:02
After drinking lots of water and dumping some more on my head, I began to feel a little better. I tried to find marathon pace but only managed to hold that for one mile. Mile 10: 7:38
I was pretty miserable and just hung on for those final 3 miles: 8:14, 7:58, 8:14. I managed to find a little extra for the final .3 (7:02) and was so happy to cross that finish line! Final time: 1:42ish?
I saw the girls and my husband at the finish, but immediately felt light headed and had to sit. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that awful at a finish line. Thankfully, after lots of water, a little Gatorade, chunks of dry bagel, pretzels and a banana I felt better. We sat together on a bench sharing all the snacks (the girl’s favorite part of races!) and then walked slowly back to the parking garage.
Back at home, I felt strong enough to cool down with my final 4 miles to finish the 20 miler. I was as slow as molasses (9:30-10 minute pace) but now that it’s all behind me, I’m thankful.
Thankful that I got in another 20 miler. A 20 miler with 6 at tempo? That’s maybe a better way to look at it!
Thankful that I made it to the finish line without any further symptoms or heat issues.
Thankful that my family could be there, and that I had a few thousand people to run my long run with, and for the great views of NYC and the Statue of Liberty.
Thankful that my cranky shin felt great! I’m ready to shift my focus to the Scranton marathon and learn from my mistakes in this run. Fingers crossed it’s cooler!
And I’m going to do my best not to let this rough race mess with my head as I get ready for the marathon!
Have you had a ‘crash and burn’ race?
Any tips for not letting this throw doubt on my abilities for Scranton?