Monday, September 26, 2011

montreal half-marathon: PR fail

Well, that was unfortunate!

I started the day feeling confident. Despite a minor weather-related freak out on Friday, I knew I was well-trained and I was feeling good. Yeah, slightly run down due to a busy week, but after a day of rest and relaxation on Saturday and a long sleep on Saturday night, I woke up feeling really ready to run and ready to kick ass.

Suz and I lined up at the start and despite wanting to curse them when they told us that next year it would be an earlier start, the race started exactly on time at 10:30 am. It started off ok. The first bit was pretty uphill so we were slightly behind but confident we would be able to make it up on the downhills.
elevation- Montreal half marathon

Unfortunately, that confidence waned as I hit the middle section of the course. I was starting to feel really hot and when I stopped to walk the water station before the 10K point, I was already feeling a little dizzy.

I had some mantras ready for when the going got tough. One in particular was written on my arm:
Cancer is an Asshole (right Kevin and Susan?)
I used that. I thought about how march harder it is to be sick or to be recovering from injuries. I thought about my hard training runs and how I pushed through those. I used the old "HTFU" and even saw someone all decked out in Hoogerland's team kit and used that.

It was hot, it was humid, but I was PREPARED dammit, I was prepared! I was also hot. Really hot. And feeling sick. I used everything in my arsenal...I tried to run faster, I tried to suck it up. I worked hard and I tried hard. I told myself that this too shall pass.

But there comes a point where mind over matter doesn't work anymore. As my eyes got a little cloudy and I told Suz that I needed a walk break (around the 18K mark), she told me it would be ok to walk it in from there if I needed to (I think she was a little worried). But I couldn't do it. I couldn't walk it in. I promised myself that I'd leave it all out out on the course. So I chose a point and said "we're running at that light." And I knew that from that point on, the next time I stopped running, there would be no more running. I had to run it in. I had to.

It wasn't pretty, it wasn't a PR, it wasn't even a sub-2 hour finish (final time was 2:01:58). But if I had left any more of myself on the course, it would have either been the contents of my stomach or it would have been my body splayed out on the course. I got to the finish line standing on my own two feet. Had I pushed any harder (and had Suz not been around) I would have ended my day with a DNF and/or in need of some more serious medical attention. Sadly, a man collapsed and died on the route yesterday. He was in his 30s.

I have never seen so much carnage on the side of the road. Runners out cold before the medical staff could get there, runners tending to other runners, paramedics everywhere...(in fact, we just missed having to stop to let an ambulance through the course- it passed just behind us) and way too many runners looking way too unhealthy both on the side of the course and in the medical tent.

The talk around me was of personal worsts and un-met goals. As I was sitting on the lawn outside the medical tent (after leaving it...yeah, needed some ice to cool down and to make sure I was ok), the group of women sitting next to me was talking about how each of them missed their goal by a minimum of 10 minutes. One lady was training for a 1:45 and ran it in 1:55. Another was training for a 1:55 and ran it in 2:20... two other ladies said that if they had had money, they would have taken the metro to the end. We all decided that today just wasn't a good day.

I look creepy
This post is getting super long, so I'm going to post some reflections and random sights and sounds from the half marathon tomorrow...but for now I'll say thank you to the best support crew there is (thanks Jordan and Sean), to all of you who left me tweets and messages of encouragement, and to the best running friend a person could ask for. All of you made me push harder (and one of you reminded me that leaving in an ambulance is not worth it).

I tried my very best. I pushed as hard as I could. I did not meet my goal. But there are other half marathons on other (cooler) days. As I sit here 7.5 hours later, still feeling too hot- I am disappointed but I know I did all I could. I think I would have finished even slower had I not been as prepared as I was.

So thank you to all y'all for your support!


Marlene said...

It just plain sucks when you're dealt a bad hand in terms of weather. Sounds like you made out a lot better than most. Congrats!

UGHH to the 10:30 start. What are they thinking?!?!

Michelle Clark said...

I certainly wouldn't think of yesterday as any kind of failure. You did your best and that's all you can do. Not to mention - 2:02 is still a heck of a lot faster than many people can do anything. Be proud of yourself for getting out there and doing all you could.

Leigh said...

I know exactly how a race like that feels as that's how mine was on Saturday. I won't lie, I was disappointed, but I know it was a bad day and there will be better races for me!

So scary that someone died on the course! What was the temperature during the run?

Rebecca W said...

I almost think that they figured the day would be cool to run a marathon at 10:30....crazy!

The humidity was a surprise yesterday. I went to a baby shower in long pants and a t-shirt/sweater thing and baked! I can't run very well in humidity....I hate it!

Anonymous said...

I've been there girl. Somethings are just out of your control. I'm proud of you for sticking it out. That took alot of heart and guts! There will be other opportunities for you. This is not the end! I loved your mantra. Good way to keep things in perspective.

That's crazy that guy died. How awful. Did they ever figure out why?

jnelle said...

you did awesome, lady - michelle said it, be proud of getting out there and doing it! more races will come to show what you're made of! running in a half marathon ain't nothing to sneeze at!


Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Scary and so so sad about that 30-year-old man dieing on the course :(

It was not your day. This is what happened in my half back in May. It was hot, there was no shade, I felt like crap, it wasn't my day for a PR or sub-2. You'll try again and get it next time! Hopefully with better weather!!

Heather said...

Given the fact that you don't do especially well with the heat when you're sitting down and drinking a beer, your time was awesome. And yeah, you didn't die. So there's that.

Nicole @ "Haute Runner" said...

Congrats on completing a hard race!! Might not be the PR you wanted but you got 'er done.

Great mantra!