Sometimes you have races that just don’t go your way….or at least the way you had planned in that idealistic places called your head…. when, if someone offered you a way out a metaphorical paper to sign to give up all your hopes, dreams and goals in exchange to just be able to STOP! right now – you feel you would do it in a heartbeat.
Yesterday was one of those days for me. But fortunately I had no-one offering me a deal to give up on my marathon dreams in exchange for an immediate out from this half marathon that was currently kicking my butt. Instead we had Marcus our trusty Cheerleader, on a bike circling the course, taking photos and offering words of support.
So it all started with a week of rain, it sounds like an exaggeration but it actually rained – pretty much solidly and hard all week. After our super long run last weekend this week consisted of cold, wet, slow, runs in the rain – sometimes concurrently the dark and some less than thrilling 800 repeats on the treadmill. I was fired up for the Martian Marathon – where I planned to run a new PR for the half – a route which runs mostly on Hines Drive a local road which runs through a park….and is also a flood zone for the rouge river (read some super interesting history on that here.)
So by Thursday Hines Drive was closed due to flooding. A friend of a friend posted this picture on facebook.
It was pretty clear to me that we would not be running the route as planned. So I started to look for information on the alternate route. Surely they had one planned for such an eventuality? Apparently, if they did they were unwilling to share it. Just lots of hopes that the waters would recede by Saturday morning. This seemed unlikely to me.
By friday afternoon when I went to the Expo I felt sure that they would have the alternate route posted. Nope. When I asked they said they would make a decision at 4am on race day and post the map at the start. This is where I became a little annoyed. You see, I have this thing – some may call it a tick – that I like to know where I am racing before I set out. I am a course studier, a you tube route video watcher. In addition since the forecast was for cold, possible wet weather, we did not plan to get to the start much before the start and to use that for a warm up run so posting the route at the start wasn’t much help to me. I totally understand that the course flooding was outside of everyone’s control – an act of God you may say – but I felt that if you were planning a spring marathon to be run on a road that frequently floods you would have a backup plan and share that prior to the morning of the race.
I tried to stay mentally strong. To tell myself 13.1 miles was 13.1 miles it didn’t matter if it was laps of the track or out and back. I tried to reinforce the thoughts that we have trained through worse than this – blizzards, rain, ice, wind….
So we stuck with the plan. Run from home for the warmup and arrive at the start with no time to get cold. Follow the guy in front. Maybe I should have checked the map!
We set out and I settled in to my planned pace for the first 3 miles – this may be the only part of my race plan that I executed well! 7:50s for the first three miles. Then the plan was to pick it up a little every three miles from there. It was a good plan.
Let’s just say that the wind was windy and the picking it up part wasn’t working out so well….then we got to mile 4 where we deviated from the original course due to flooding. The next four miles involved looping around neighborhoods in that following the guy in front way where you really have no clue where you are or when you will pop out again. I totally understand this is all mental baggage, but I know myself well enough to know that this made it tougher for me as I struggled to “pick it up”.
On a side note – since the diversion of the course happened at the last minute it was pretty interesting to see the residents reaction to all these people running past their houses, especially those who wanted to back their cars out into the street!
At mile 9 we were back to the original route, but where I expected to turn right and head for home they turned us left. My heart sank. It turned out it was only a short section before a turn around but I couldn’t see that right away.
Finally we were headed back to the start. I knew the way. I knew it involved some little hills but at least I finally knew where I was going! I tried to stay in it. Too tell myself I had to finish this thing the best I could even though I wasn’t going to finish in the time that I had hoped. Simultaneously, if someone had offered me a pass for next months flying pig marathon – I may just have signed on that line.
So I finished – I felt like I put it all out there – did the best that I could on that day – with the marathon training in my legs and the wind in my face. I am trying not to be disappointed in a race that I worked hard at both mentally and physically – but it is too bad that as an “indicator” race it didn’t indicate my hard work. It is all part of the racing game – few people never have a bad race and everyone has to deal with the same conditions so no excuses.
Huge congratulations to Kacey who rocked it out there, and so many of our other friends who had great races and blitzed their age groups in this race. Also huge kudos to our first time 5k runners who we had post race brunch with! Here is to many future races together!