Green Bay Half Marathon. Woof!

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The Green Bay Half Marathon – my last half until September and my last race until Grandma’s Marathon – is over, and I couldn’t be more glad.

Let’s cut to the chase – it was one of my worst half marathon performances and I ended with a 1:55:22. It was hot, slightly muggy weather and I started WAY too fast.

My original plan was to practice MP, but I decided on Friday/Saturday that I wanted to try to race it. I knew it was going to be warm but I thought “well, maybe it won’t be so bad. At least this time I know it’s coming.”

lol.

The heat hit me right away. I was placed in the first wave, and I thought that being with people my pace and faster and not having to do any dodging and weaving would help me keep up a good pace. But instead, Corral A ended up being my undoing. I started out way too fast for a warm day like that. I was sweating by the first mile and I could feel myself working hard. I progressed from an 8:33 to an 8:14 by mile 5, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hang on much longer, especially because I needed to do something I have never before done in a race:

I stopped for a Porta Potty break.

Despite going to the bathroom before the race started, I had to go again the instant the gun went off. Of course. Normally if I just run for a while I don’t have to go anymore, but I was becoming really uncomfortable and my willpower was in short supply. Honestly, it was kind of a relief to stop anyway. You’d be surprised how much I really didn’t care – and still don’t. That wasn’t even my slowest mile.

I felt better after that but I was never able to recover from my blitzkrieg start. My average pace kept creeping up and I was running some miles in 9:00, 9:03, 9:10. I walked through several aid stations. Toward the end of the race, the course actually got easier and we got some relief from cloud cover, but by that point I was already shot.

The course itself was mostly kind of boring. The entire course except for the last mile went through subdivisions and residential neighborhoods. The upside of this is that this race had better spectating than most others I’ve run. Many people had their hoses out to spray and mist all of us hot runners, and those numerous spectators probably helped save my race, honestly. I went through a hose or mister every time I saw one.

Despite my poor performance and the unremarkable course, I really loved running a lap around Lambeau Field in the last mile! That was really fun and made me forget how tired I was. GO PACKERS!

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I’m keeping this post relatively brief, because I really don’t want to talk about this race. Not because I’m mad or disappointed, but because I just want to move on – from this race, from this long season, from the half marathons I’m getting so sick of.

The whole time I was up in Green Bay I kept thinking, what am I doing here? I don’t even feel like racing, I should be back home training for Grandma’s. It just felt like a huge waste of time.

The nagging voice in the back of my head wonders if I made a big mistake in doing 3 half marathons this season. Am I going to suffer on June 20th for the 18 and 20 milers I didn’t do on half marathon weekends this month, and the low mileage I logged in the weeks leading up to them? Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But it seems futile to entertain these doubts. Even if I did everything perfect I’d still always wonder if I was doing enough. I only hit 55 this week – wouldn’t it be better if I hit 60-65? I did all my long runs, but none of them were fast finish; am I undertraining by doing all of them slow? Should I have done more speed work instead of MP practice or vice versa? Is 2 20-milers enough? And on and on. I do think that these two half marathons, as underwhelming and poorly performed as they were, are helping prepare me for the marathon, in ways I didn’t even see until I raced them. No matter how the race goes, after all, it’s still race practice. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

There was no big lesson from this bad race – I had a bad race because I made really dumb mistakes. I actually think it’s easier to accept a bad race under these circumstances than it is when you did everything right and still somehow fell short. At least I can walk away and say, “yup, I started too fast and screwed myself and that’s that. Oh well.”

I’m excited to be done with all this racing and get back to training as usual. I think Grandma’s will start to feel more “real” now that I don’t have more races in the way. I have my two peak mileage weeks coming up and then I’ll start taper. I’m hoping that a hard-fought 50 mile week culminating in a kick-ass 20-miler on Saturday will be just what I need to rebound from the meh-ness of today.

I have to keep believing that after these last two lackluster half marathons, the law of averages means Grandma’s is going to rock.

 

 

 

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42 thoughts on “Green Bay Half Marathon. Woof!

  1. Congrats on another race! You did a great job, even if your heart wasn’t in it. Having to go to the bathroom during a race is no fun, but you still had a great time. Race practice is going to make things go so much smoother at Grandma’s. I bet you’ll rock it!

  2. Okay so I still think your 1:52 ROCKS – if your weather was anything like my area this weekend, it was ROUGH conditions for racing! The humidity and heat makes a huge difference. You are not going to suffer at Grandma’s – you are going to be STRONG! I’ve done marathons on 18 miler or one 20 miler as my long run. I think that though the pace wasn’t what you wanted, this race is going to be much more valuable than a 20 miler because you ran in tough conditions. That is going to give you more mental strength on June 20th. Now, lets PRAY FOR GOOD WEATHER!!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I’m not really upset with the time, more the fact that I just completely blew up in the second half of the race. I HATE positive splitting! Oh well. I’m starting to feel better about my training. I know I’ve been working really hard. I didn’t get 100% of my mileage every week, but who does? I actually did one 20 miler already, I have one this weekend and I’m supposed to do a 22er after that but I might knock it down to an 18 and a 20. I’m not sure a 22er is really that necessary.

      After these past two sticky-hot races I have already starting praying for 55 degrees and partly cloudy on June 20! Or, if not, that we at least have all hot weather leading up to the race so we can get used to it!

      1. Yeah, I am not sure I agree with 22 milers. I did do one before Boston and it was my first time ever doing it. The only reason I did it was because I had such a crappy training cycle and I needed the confidence boost. I know my coach has me running 20 this week, and I think he wants to have me do 21, then 22. I’m not sold on it so we’ll see if I actually do it! I’m with you on that weather – but I would like to see even cooler! 40s at the start!!!!!

      2. 40s would be bliss! But that’s probably a tall order for the first day of summer (or is it the last day of Spring? I can never remember)

  3. Awesome job! Sometimes the tough races prepare us the most for actual race day. Now you know you can mentally push through and that’s the best kind of preparation for a marathon! : )

    1. Thank you!! I agree, I’m really hoping that getting a tough race out of my system is only going to help me at my marathon!! 🙂

  4. Crazy that we basically did the same thing at our races this weekend. But, you made it through! Great job! Also, I don’t think that the half marathons you’ve done will interfere with your marathon performance, because you have even more racing experience under your belt which can only help you, in my opinion! You’re going to do great – stay positive and shake off this weekend’s race. It happens to the best of us 🙂

    1. I know right?

      Oh I hope you’re right! I keep telling myself that a bad half marathon in a race environment is probably better for me in many ways than a good 20-mile training run that doesn’t simulate the race.

      Thanks for the encouragement! At least we were sisters in suffering this weekend, and redemption will feel so sweet! 🙂

  5. Darn hot muggy weather, it’s tough.
    I think you did an amazing job!! Live and learn, it’s still getting you ready for the big event 🙂 I don’t think you are going to suffer for your half’s on marathon day. The one thing that’s hard to do on a training rain is simulate race conditions, what better why to figure out what works, and what doesn’t.
    Congrats on the great finish time.

    1. Thank you Karen! You’re right, I know this race was still valuable for my training and I’m feeling a lot more confident about my decision to run 3 halfs now!!

  6. Darn, I just wrote a comment and “lost” it…Given the conditions, and the fact that you didn’t need to race, your time was not far off your MP. I have absolutely NO DOUBT you could click off a sub 1:45 if you weren’t training for the marathon. REMEMBER the big picture! I think the value of these training races is in easing some pre-race nerves, by practicing getting on the starting line, pre-race meals, marathon pacing, even having the gear needed in order. The bonus is mental toughness from these tough conditions. You won’t allow yourself to check out at Grandma’s.
    Moving on…YOU’VE GOT THIS!

    1. Thank you! Haha I have had that happen to me with commenting before, so annoying! I think you’re right, and after this is all over I will really look back and see how much I learned from having to go through the race morning/race day process so many times. I wish I would have just practiced MP since I ended up with that time anyway, but oh well. It’s done!

      Great job this weekend BTW! At least one of us got good racing weather!

  7. I’m sorry this wasn’t your best race. 😦 It can be freaking TOUGH in the humidity. I know several people that raced this weekend and a couple did not finish due to the heat/humidity.

    1. Yeah, it was rough. I didn’t notice while I was running but several others pointed out later that they had actually red-flagged the course conditions (I’m assuming the color alert system is universal? Green, Yellow, Red, Black with black basically meaning the race is canceled). I mean, I didn’t think it was THAT bad but it was pretty gnarly. I’d never been so tempted to DNF before. I saw a couple guys along the course who had passed out – pretty brutal!

  8. As frustrating as this must be, I think you are right that it is easier in some ways to have a race go poorly for reasons that you can identify. It sounds like some of it is emotional/mental fatigue from running so many halfs this spring, and if that’s the case then you know that is something to avoid in the future.

    You’ve been pushing yourself so much these last few months that I think you are in a great position to rock Grandma’s! Now that this is behind you you can focus 100% on training for it.

    1. Thanks Lizzy! I am definitely happy to have 100% of my focus on the marathon. I can’t believe it’s only two weeks until taper already. The time is flying, which is a good thing!

  9. So I’m still finishing up my race write-up and I took a break to catch up on other people’s blogs first. I literally just had the EXACT SAME experience in my race this weekend (minus the bathroom break). Reading your thoughts it’s like we’re having some telepathy going on here. I too started off wayyyy to fast, it was super humid, I couldn’t keep my pace going and wound up running some miles over 9 min as well, the race was boring… you name it! I just want to get over it haha. Here’s the thing: I actually think our lack of great magical performance could also be due to over-training not so much under-training. At this point, we’ve got two major mileage weeks left before the taper and our bodies are TIRED. I am EXHAUSTED. I seriously wanted to skip out of work and just sleep today because I can barely think, but I had meetings today unfortunately. Anyways, I just wanted to say I’m totally with you on this journey and I really think that once we get to the taper and we have a little break, it will almost be like a rejuvenation just before our marathon. At least, that’s how I’m trying to think of it as. I’m sorry your race didn’t go how you wanted it to, but keep your chin up and we’ll make it to Grandma’s and we’ll have a great race THAT day when it really counts 😀

    1. PREACH IT!! I’m sorry you had a bad experience too but that’s so funny we essentially had the same race. A lot of people had poopy races this weekend due to weather. Not that I want other people to do bad but it’s kind of comforting knowing I’m not alone. Misery loves company!!

      You hit the nail on the head re: exhaustion. Cumulative fatigue is a BEAST. The week before last I had to cut my long run down by 4 miles because I was so tired and even then it took everything I had to make it to the end. Taper cannot come soon enough. In the thick of training, it’s hard to imagine that all of this work that’s making us tired to the bone is going to pay off, but you’re right, it will be so worth it in the end and we need to keep our eyes on the prize – JUNE 20!

  10. Ugh, the heat!! It’s the devil. You still did so great, and I know you weren’t 100% happy with this, but let’s not forget about that sub 1:50 you ran last month!! There were a lot of factors that were totally out of your control here. The weather, the bathroom break…. and the things you can control you recognized right away, which just shows what a smart runner you are.

    And that’s pretty cool that you got to finish at Lambeau! I still have 100% confidence that you are going to have an amazing marathon 🙂

    1. Thanks so much lady! Yes, Lambeau in the last mile definitely helped the race end on a high note! The things we can’t control as runners will always be the banes of our existence but they make us better in the end!

  11. Don’t forget that you ran a great tempo run, faster than your current half PR, on Thursday before your race (if I recall correctly). This was bound to leave your legs feeling less than fresh on race day. Combine that with the heat and starting too fast…well, at least you can point to exactly what went wrong. The great thing about this situation is that you already got your sub 1:50 half this spring and you can use this race as a learning experience for Grandma’s and for future training cycles.

    Try not to doubt your training! You are definitely putting in the work!

    1. Thanks Heather! I knew when I got my PR early in the season that I’d be glad I had it in the bank later. It’s definitely helped me to relax and look at the bigger picture for my other races!

  12. I think the lesson you can take from this is there’s ALWAYS something you can improve on, but you do the best you can and then circumstances will take it away from there. You’re super diligent about your training, and I think you will be proud of your performance at Grandma’s.

    I almost always have to stop to use the bathroom during races. I hate it.

    1. Thanks! Haha this is the first time it’s happened to me. On any other day I would have just soldiered on, but I didn’t get any other day, I got this one.

  13. I know how disappointing a race like this can feel! It seems like you’re taking into account the big picture and learning lesson from this so that’s good. Don’t overthink it. And like you said, now it’s just time to move on and get back to training.

    1. Yes, it’s a relief to move on! No sense dwelling on things that can’t be undone. I have to keep moving forward – Grandma’s gets closer every day!

  14. Having this experience will only help you on marathon day. Seriously, you will remember what going out too fast feels like, you will remember what running too fast in the heat feels like, and you will make the right decisions on marathon day because you will have this race experience in your memory bank. Imagine if you made these mistakes during Grandma’s and you had to run double the distance? Oy! Better to have experienced it during a half marathon …. plus YOU GOT TO RUN THROUGH LAMBEAU! That is so freakin cool!

    1. It WAS cool! I kept thinking, this is what it all looks like from the guys on the field every week! BTW, the field is sooo much smaller than it looks on TV! I was like, no way!

      I feel dumb because I already knew everything I learned today: don’t go out too fast, be careful in heat, so I don’t know why I made those mistakes. But you’re right, it will help me even more to avoid them on marathon day!

  15. I’m sorry you had a rough race. The humidity is the WORST. 😦 A bad race just means you have a good race right around the corner!! I do love Green Bay, and cool to finish up with a lap on the field! Did you gamble while you were there? I remember gambling at a VERY large Native American casino up there!

    1. Aw thank you Jan! I always tell myself the same thing about bad races meaning a good one is coming next – the law of averages, right??

      We actually didn’t do much in Green Bay. We got there Saturday afternoon, went to the expo and ate at Applebees, and after the race we went right home. I’ll have to go back for a Packers game one of these days 🙂

  16. This sounds like my WI – this sums it up perfectly – “yup, I started too fast and screwed myself and that’s that. Oh well.” Now that you’ve had two meh hot races, you ARE due for something awesome at Grandma’s. You will at least know how you will react in the heat! Although, like I said before, I have heard it’s never hot like that there.

    Why did you sign up for this? To check out the race? Just wondering, since you said you were questioning why you were there. Do you see yourself racing less this year?

    1. I signed up for the race back in November-December when it first opened up. It wasn’t something I recently did and then changed my mind. Back when I signed up I thought I wanted to race lots of half marathons this Spring; I might not even have signed up for Grandma’s yet at the time. I had a plan for the three half marathons I was racing this Spring, it just didn’t turn out quite the way I thought. My comment about asking why I was there referred more to the fact that it felt weird traveling to a race and not even being that pumped up or excited about it and just wanting to get it over with, not necessarily that it was a mistake to be there altogether.

      I do hope you’re right that it’s never hot like this in Duluth! But June is such a wild card, you just never really know.

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