This is so not the recap I wanted to be writing. I had big, big goals for the Space Coast half, and every reason to think I would reach them. But my body had other plans.
By the time we got to Cocoa on Black Friday, I’d logged more than 40 hours of riding and driving in the car in November. I’ve talked about my back problems before, and nothing irritates my back more than being in the car for long trip. That and yard work, or having to bend over for long stretches. My back bothered me on our run on Thanksgiving, so I cut that one short, but everything seemed fine on our shakeout run on Saturday.
When I lined up on Sunday morning, I was worried about the humidity. I tried to line up just in front of the 3:00 Galloway pacer, but it was far to crowded to even get into the street. I was six people deep on the sidewalk near where the pacer was, so by the time the gun went off and we started moving, I was probably 45 seconds behind the pacer.
Why didn’t I want to be with the pacer? Because her :30/:30 intervals didn’t jive with my 3/1. After getting caught in the mob of 30 or so people in the pace group, who apparently abandoned all race etiquette about walkers keeping to one side and letting runners through when they joined the group, and being elbowed and stepped on when the group would start running, I made the decision to pass the group. I burned up far too much energy doing this and finally just decided to let them get ahead and try to stay to the back of them.
But these extra efforts meant a. I never got into a groove and b. I started getting overheated quickly. Also, all the lateral movement really worked my back. By mile 5 I was having trouble keeping the 3/1 intervals and was feeling extremely nauseous despite taking salt tabs and drinking Nuun regularly. I had to let my goal go. And then, things went downhill.
This course is not flat, and in the first/last few miles, there are small hills. My back decided these hills were just too much work, and somewhere around the 10K timing mat, decided to start really complaining about what I was doing. I also started having extreme GI issues anytime I would take any fuel including water. I changed to :45/:45 intervals.
Somewhere in miles 7-8 my back had just had enough and started spasming. I really started to doubt if I would even finish the race. I was only running every third/fourth/fifth interval, and every time I would run for just those 45 seconds, it would literally take every bit of physical effort I could muster and I’d be out of breath for a while. By mile 11 I couldn’t hold myself up anymore and in mile 12 I had to hold onto my husband’s arm for him to help me walk up a hill. You can see just how stooped over I was in this stolen race pic that I have absolutely no intention of buying and can’t even believe I’m putting out there for the world to see:
I’m proud to say that I never quit running completely, even though running spurts were few and far between. I mustered every bit I had left in me to run as much of the running intervals in the last mile as I could, and I only walked 1 45 second segment. And I finally finished.
Finish time: 3:27:25
There were lots of tears of sadness and disappointment and frustration. Frankly, I’m still a little shocked that my 3:27:xx effort made this my third fastest half. I’m amazed it wasn’t my slowest. I’m trying hard to look on the bright side and be proud of finishing 13.1 miles through absolute agony, but I’ll be honest: I’m struggling with that. I don’t have happy thoughts when I look at my medal. I didn’t really even wear it after the race. In the past I’d look for a race in the next week or so to try to take another shot, but my back’s in no shape for it. The next race on my calendar is in February, just after Christmas and Mardi Gras, so I’m not sure my training would be up to par for another sub-3:00 run.
I know you have to take the good with the bad, but I’m pretty much 1 for 8 for something not going terribly wrong during a half. I’m not going to quit running halfs, but my motivation is really lagging right now.
Until I start training for Rock n’ Roll NOLA, I might not be blogging weekly.