Monday, March 19, 2018

March Madness Half 2018 {race recap}

My 2nd time running this race! It was my 2nd fastest half, and I got a 3 minute course PR!

Time: 1:39:30
AG: 8 of 66
Women: 31 of 443
Overall: 165 of 978

I went into this race thinking if I could run my marathon goal pace/be close to my PR, that would be great. I also figured that with tired legs (I ran 43 miles the days before) and the hills that I would likely be a few minutes over that time.

Race morning I had some oatmeal and a banana before we drove up to Cary, IL. The drive was as quick as 45 miles could be. Got my bib and everything super quick- the Hillstriders are A++ with organization. Then we waited for the start. I decided to wear a singlet + shorts because last year I was super hot wearing leggings and long sleeve in pretty much the same perfect conditions. Yay! For blogging and it being useful for something. (Race recaps)

I felt fairly ambivalent about this race - since it was basically a training run for me. I get a little nervous before races regardless- I’ve pinpointed that to the fear of having a code brown which luckily has never happened in a race before. I lined up near the front of the field- like 10 rows back and got my iPod and everything ready.

Without fanfare, we were off with a simple “GO.” I checked my watch and saw low 7’s and decided to go with it-the Race was downhill at this point. More on this later* I just decided to keep a steady effort when climbing hills/flat/downhill. Mile 4 is when I started feeling that the effort was too much for my pace. I’m sure the hills had something to do with this - but mentally I was f*cked. I started thinking all sorts of negative stuff- like how the hell could I possibly run a 3:10 if I can’t even hit 7:15’s right meow. I tried talking myself off the ledge- “you’re running hillz, expect the pace to be slower.”

Some miles were good others I felt like shit. I like how it’s a small low key rural race vs over stimulation like any of the big races in Chicago. But it also gives me too much to think about and not be distracted.

I played leap frog with one of the Irish Waldos and few other women for most of the race. This race reminds me of Boston not only due to the course, but because you end up running next to the same people for most of the race.

Around mile 6 I took off my gloves since I felt hot. I ended up putting them back on at mile 11.5. I tried to push the pace with 4 miles to go but I felt stuck. Everything felt like it was too much effort. After cresting “Mile 10 Hill” a Guy running near me started saying how thankful he was for being done with that huge hill and how awful it was. I echoed his comments and just hoped to be done soon so I could hop off the struggle bus.

With half a mile to go I realized I could break 1:40, so I tried to scoot as quick as I could- which felt like I was running through molasses. I saw L and was so happy to be finished.

There are some days which are extraordinary - those days when everything clicks and you feel light as a feather and it’s the best day ever! (Naperville half marathon, Carmel Marathon) then there are the ordinary days when you get it done but it’s nothing special. Then there’s the sub par terrible days. Today was one of those. It wasn’t terrible by a long shot, but it was far from ordinary. It was a big MEH with me feeling heavy and slow- nothing felt good and I just wanted to be done.

I spent too much time analyzing why I felt crappy and came to some conclusions:

What I did right:
•wore a singlet and shorts
•ran with my iPod
•race morning nutrition was ok

The look of disgust on my face cracks me up now

What wasn’t great:
•getting in my head too much during the race
•trying a new sports drink.
•no caffeine at all.
•the way I put my headphone wire around my shirt- I was messing with my right earbud the entire time because it was being pulled by the wire.
•possibly going out too fast- but after talking to my Daad, and thinking more, I doubt this was a cause- I routinely run each week- 6 miles at 6:58 , and 9 at 7:15- 3 at 7:08 shouldn’t destroy me
•shoes not being super fresh and getting close to retirement
•dehydration. I weighed myself pre race and then again post race (after eating a ton of food and drink) and only weighed 1lb more. That was concerning to me.
•the non-tangible aspect of running where despite *everything* being perfect- weather, training, nutrition, you have an off day.
•being 3lbs heavier than Naperville. I felt fat and slow.

So despite all of that I was still happy with my time. I tried some new things on Sunday to get out of my comfort zone. I used Maurten sports drink- it’s super full of carbs. I also decided to go with the 7:08’s in the beginning because it felt appropriate, and because my goal marathon time would correlate to a half with similar pace so it wasn’t so ridiculous.

2018 miles vs 2017

The last 3 miles I was clearly struggling.

Oatmeal and banana at home
Sis bar one hour pre race
500ml Maurten during the race
Singlet/shorts for high 30’s calm.

First beer in a week. And likely the last until Boston.

Lose weight.
Abandon maurten for Boston. Use SiS
Remember that while my goal is 3:10, I’d be pumped to run a PR in Boston- better than 3:28.

You learn more from failure than from success.



  1. Nice work, girl! I always think that trying to run a good half in the mix of marathon training is so hard because generally speaking, you're going to be tired AF! (that's how I feel, anyway!) Like you said though, a lot of runs are pretty vanilla, and unfortunately you had one yesterday. Meh! My money's still on you for Boston though. You're in great shape and still have a month to refine things even more. Don't get too in your head about Cary. (Ps that soft pretzel looked great! One of my fav aspects about that race) :) xo

    1. Thanks lady! I started feeling really bummed about it for a bit and had to slap myself to basically come to the conclusion in your comment- it’s difficult to do a half during marathon training due to being tired. When I passed your namesake street I smiled and thought of you. :) the pretzel was amazing! That alone might get me to return for next year ;)

  2. I have the earbud being pulled by the wire problem ALL THE TIME and can't find a fix for it. I would blame that 100% for your meh day because it's just that irritating.

    I know how defeating and frustrating runs like this can feel in the moment, but don't you doubt yourself and how ready you are to kick ass in Boston for a second. You're focused and dedicated - training isn't just an afterthought or a to-do for you, as it is for some - and have been having an awesome training cycle.

    1. It definitely made an already lackluster day much much worse! Omg it was so annoying! I put the “y” part of the wire behind my neck and then wrapped it a bit in my sports bra. I’ll never do that again. I’ll go back to having wires in front and the bulk of the wires stuffed in my bra.

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I truly appreciate them.

    2. I use bluetooth headphones that have a little clip attached to them, so I clip them on to the top of the back of my sports bra and they're mostly fine if I don't move my head at all in any direction at any point during my run.

    3. I use Bluetooth wireless ones at the gym with my phone, but my phone sucks and turns off in the cold- plus I wouldn’t be upset if the iPod died due to rain or whatever in a race.

      Doesn’t not being able to move your head bug you?

  3. Despite being on the struggle bus you held things together really well. Your last four miles were only about 15 seconds per mile slower than your average for the race. When I did that race I was walking the hills near the end, so my splits look way way worse than yours! You did no taper for this race and your legs weren't fresh. It was all about a hard training effort on the hills and not the time on the clock, so mission accomplished! As for the extra 3 lbs. I hear you about feeling fat and slow as I sometimes do if I'm not at "racing weight", but I try not to worry about it too much as even at my ideal weight - I still get smoked by guys at least 10 lbs. heavier than me. I have to realize that they were stronger than me because they trained more/better, so my main focus should be getting stronger with my weight secondary. Also I lose quite a bit of water weight during a marathon, so in the second 13.1 I'm usually always at or below ideal weight! Good call on wearing shorts and a singlet for the race. With the sun out and the strong effort you actually got hot! Imagine if you had worn leggings and long sleeves!

    1. I do feel irrationally bummed out about this race. Like I would have predicted a 1:37-1:38 and pretty much did that.. but why I feel so disappointed , no idea. Maybe it’s conjuring up memories from fox valley when I felt similar and bonked so hard with 10 miles to go.

      Thanks Pete for the kind words I really needed some perspective on this race since I’ve just felt so crappy about it. And yeah - the weight thing is purely feeling. Days when I feel “heavy” I’m usualy clocking a lower scale number then when I feel light and springy. Go figure. I just got into my head way too much.

  4. Congrats on your second best time and course PR! I am sorry it was a meh day, but you got that out of your system now ;) I was going to say the same things as every one else - you were running on tired AF legs - if you ran this much faster we'd have to be suspicious of your training (trying to kid, lol). But seriously, you are going to feel fresh at Boston cause you won't have run 40+ miles in the days leading up to it. And it's good you tried out that sports drink now so you now it didn't work!

    Can you not use wireless headphones (no cord) with a shuffle? I don't know how guys do it with the wires! I'd lose my mind!!! ;)

    What is that bath bomb tho?!

    Four more weeks until race day. You're going to keep training hard and focus on your nutrition and MENTAL game. You got this!!!!

  5. Still a great non-tapered race! Better to have learned things from this race than had a perfect day! I think it is always helpful to try out nutrition/fueling in a race situation as your body may react differently during a race.
    Keep on trucking to Boston!

    1. Thanks lady! It is good to try things in a race setting-the adrenaline or whatever definitely affects my fueling differently than training runs. I’m so excited!