Sunday started off a little earlier than Saturday. The race started at 6:30, so the buses were loading at 4:45. I personally like to get on the buses earlier rather than later, solely for the purpose of using the porta-potties. However, the hotel I was staying at didn’t offer breakfast until 5:00am, and none of the Starbucks opened before that either. So I planned on being ready for breakfast at 5:00am. When I walked up to the little food area, I ordered a coffee and a banana. My plan was to have a Picky Bar with a banana and peanut butter. The informed me they had NO BANANAS. Wait, what? You are the host hotel for a MARATHON and you do not have any bananas?!
I did keep these thoughts to myself. The nice folks working there had no idea the runner-banana issue they were about to experience. So I just got a large coffee and went on my way. I was glad I had also grabbed mini-Larabar so that I had something else besides just the Picky Bar for breakfast.
The course was new this year – from Husky Stadium to CenturyLink field. You can see a video of it here.
I wore a new pair of Lululemon speed shorts for race day. I have worn brand new speed shorts many times on long runs in my life and never had an issue. Except today! And this is why no new things on race day – these particular speed shorts were the “H20” edition that Lululemon makes to go in the water, like a board short. They are exactly the same as their regular running shorts – or so I thought – but these just came in a nice navy color. Turns out, they are missing the pockets in the front to store gels. So I ended up having to store my gel down the front of my sports bra and suffered quite the chafing from that.
We loaded of the buses and were driven to Husky Stadium, where the start line was. Both the half and full marathon take off from the same start line and split at some point along the course. It became pretty apparent right away that the porta-potty lines were going to be an issue. The actual porta-potties themselves had been set up in kind of a corridor, and the lines were not going well. There also didn’t seem to be enough to prevent a very large line from snaking its way around to the gear check trucks.
After standing in line twice, I took my jacket over to the gear check trucks. It was a tiny bit scary to hand my precious Boston jacket over to UPS (who did lose a package of mine once LOL), but luckily it ended up being totally fine.
As we all lined up, a special guest came out to surprise everyone! DESI LINDEN! If you follow the pro runner scene at all, you probably already know her. I videoed her talking for Instagram stories and she actually replied! Such a sweet person & a class act.
Right before the gun went off, I had the thought that I really had to go to the bathroom again. But there was no way I could get in a porta-potty line and back in 10 minutes. I brushed it off as pre-race nerves and there was nothing I could do about it now.
We started off running promptly at 6:30. I was glad the race started early because I had a 1pm flight to catch and felt anxious about that for some bizarre reason. For the first couple miles, I felt quite good. There was a hill at mile 2-3, but I knew that was coming and got up without much issue. However around mile 5 I started feeling really bad. My chest felt tight, like I was breathing through a straw.
I still really needed to pee – which never happens when I run. I have NEVER made a bathroom break in a race before. But I was struggling, and decided that the sloshing in my stomach just wasn’t worth it. By mile 6 I was way off my 7:30 planned pace, and decided a 20 second break wouldn’t make a difference. When I spotted a porta-potty with no line, I dashed for it and there was even hand sanitizer right there!
I felt much better after that and started working my pace back down towards 7:30. But I was still struggling and not feeling well. My chest still felt tight and my breathing just wasn’t easy. Additionally, my energy felt low and my legs felt like jello. I decided to take my gel at mile 6, instead of my usual mile 7. The caffeine and sugar would do me good. And it did help. For the next couple of miles, I was still fighting for that 7:30 pace. Although I couldn’t quite hang onto it.
The portion of the race that was remembrance for fallen members of the armed forces really got me in the feels. I can’t imagine what it would do to you if you have military connections close to your heart. I let that distract me and carry me.
Somehow mile 7-10 felt very long. The long runs I have been doing on the weekend have been 14-16 miles most of the time lately, so I felt really frustrated that I was feeling so bad. I kept telling myself to just run three miles. After 3 miles, it was only 3 more miles, but not to think about that yet.
It is amazing how quickly the spiral of negative self talk sucks you down. I started thinking how frustrated I was that I couldn’t make my legs turn over when I have been doing the workouts from my coach and really hitting those paces. I started thinking about the hypothyroidism and doubting if the medication was really helping at all. I also started thinking about how I ran such a different race at Boston than I had hoped to (which was the correct decision for me that day) – and how I was supposed to get a good race now. I felt like I have never really gotten faster since my first half marathon of 1:43:52 (despite a PR of 1:38…). Maybe I peaked too soon? Would my 10th half marathon be the slowest one yet?! How can I suck so much? Am I just going to continue to get slower?
But I know those negative thoughts are just that – thoughts. And they can be chased away in a moment. So I started smiling. I’ve heard that it is a scientific fact that if your body smiles – even if you aren’t actually happy – it sends happy thoughts and endorphins to your brain. If this is not true – please don’t tell me haha! I waved at the crowd. I told myself I was doing great. Everyone has bad days and no one cares how fast I run except me.
My legs felt so unbelievably tired. The final piece of the course, you have to run up an onramp to get alongside the stadium. My feet hurt, and I cursed myself for not getting rid of my shoes any sooner. It is time for a fresh pair.
As I neard the finish line, I knew that it was in fact, my slowest half marathon to date. As always, I feel being upset about a crappy day just isn’t really worth it. You still ran a freaking half marathon. And whatever your time, there is someone out there in the world who would be grateful to have that time.
It is so easy to sound really dramatic in race recaps. I try so hard to give you guys my real feelings without being over the top. The problem is that sometimes in races, your thoughts ARE dramatic. Which is part of the problem haha! Disappointed as I was with my overall finish, I am moving on and not stressing about it too much. My coach thinks I may have over-hydrated, which would have contributed to a lot of those symptoms.
I felt pretty nauseous right after the race and didn’t eat anything. I KNOW, I KNOW. That’s not the right move. But I was a little cranky about my finish and didn’t feel like it. By the time I got to the airport, I felt sure I would implode if I did not immediately have food haha. This pizza tasted like actual heaven.
And I hit up the lounge for a glass of wine! The medals for this race were really great. You also got the “Remix” medal for doing two races in one weekend. Very fun.