Liberty Half Marathon Race Recap

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?





33 thoughts on “Liberty Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Oh no! Yesterday was disgustingly humid and warm (even here in NH). Just during my easy long run I was drenched from head to toe. I couldn’t imagine racing it that! I like your attitude – 20 miles w/ 6 at tempo. It will be much cooler at Scranton for sure!!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Training UpdateMy Profile

  2. Totally let it go. You had it right from the start – everyone has races like this and there’s no rhyme or reason to them, they just happen. I would only focus on the future and all the great work you have done to prepare for the marathon! You did your last 20 miler and you are ready!! 🙂
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – The Last Triathlon of the SeasonMy Profile

  3. You amaze me Laura even when you “crash and burn”. Can’t wait to hear about the marathon! You got this!!!

    • Thanks, Danielle! I was hurting during the last half and I was reminded how awful the end of a marathon can feel… which is exactly why I forced myself to finish. Practicing that grit! Although I really hope I feel better on marathon day!
      Laura recently posted..Liberty Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

    • I completely agree with Danielle. Amazing mental push there! I’m so impressed that you managed to make the day useful to you and your training under such circumstances.

  4. I’m down in Philly and the weather yesterday was horrible. I had my first DNF during my 1/2 🙁

    Don’t let this rock your confidence! I’m not letting it rock mine. It’s just a blip in the running continuum and everyone on the East Coast who raced yesterday likely had less than stellar experience.
    Dynise recently first DNF: gastroc + gastro = no-goMy Profile

  5. your “crash and burn” race would’ve been a dream come true for me (timewise) but i know that comment isn’t helping…this is about your race, not mine. Another way to look at it – you didn’t go out too hard and hurt yourself! maybe this bum race was one way to keep you fresh for marathon morning? Going too hard during training might not have been the best for your marathon goals – just a thought. I’m still amazed by your speed – even if it wasn’t a good race for you.

  6. I’m sorry it didn’t go as planned but man you really killed it still!!! By that I mean, you not only finished but you push to find marathon pace near the end AND you ran 4 more after! GREAT JOB!!!!

  7. We have all had rough races! You have done awesome with your training, so you will do GREAT for the marathon. It was a learning experience right?! Plus your girls got to see you work through something hard and finish. That’s always a win in my book. 🙂
    Amanda recently posted..Madison Mini WeekendMy Profile

  8. I didn’t realize it was so warm and humid up there! Excellent job in staying in the game despite the awful condition.
    I am glad you listened to your body and adjusted the pace to avoid heat exhaustion. You will rock the marathon – as you had done a 20 miler with 6 tempo miles!! I miss running with you!

  9. Crash and burn races happen! There’s no sense to them sometimes, but there’s value in them I believe. You pushed through and finished a hard race and a 20 miler! That grit and ability to push will be so beneficial to draw on during the more challenging miles of the marathon. I’m impressed with how you kept pushing and finished off your 20 miler!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted..Why Runners Should Do Speed WorkMy Profile

  10. Laura, I totally understand every word of this post!! These are the things that I know:
    1. You are a tough, determined, focused runner
    2. You have worked hard all summer marathon training
    3. Heat is a KILLER for grabbing a PR. Period.
    4. You know that you have the strength to race hard in Scranton – look at your beginning miles! That is evidence enough – the rest is just a crappy weather day.
    5. You went home and still completed your 20 miler!! #rockstar

    You can DO this. It’s almost time and the rest is mental. I believe in you.

    Natalie recently posted..It’s Friday + A Good Week Of Running!My Profile

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