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.”
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!
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.