Anywho, I trained hard for 12 weeks for the Newport Liberty Half on September 20th. Training was going really well and I was on target for a pretty big PR… but my body had other plans.
The night before the race:
All was going well – I had my usual chicken parm and pasta, packed a small bag, and head out to Hoboken to spend the evening with my lovely cousin who volunteered (or, was volunteered by yours truly may be more accurate) to be my host for the evening.
Throughout the evening, I struggled to breathe and continued to wake up wishing I had thought to bring a nose strip. At about 4am, I woke up convinced it was almost time for the race (nope, 4.5 hours early, Ang), and realized I also had a horrific headache. I figured with a few more hours of sleep and my allergy pill, I should be fine. It’s just allergies, right? RIGHT?!
As I thought I was just battling allergies, I popped my daily allergy pill and went about my normal race morning routine. As the start line was just a short drive from my cousin’s apartment, she ever so graciously offered to chauffeur me to the start line. It was a little chilly and definitely windier than I would have liked but otherwise it was looking like a great day for a run. The start area was very well organized and I easily picked up my bib and race shirt (which was hot pink – YES!) without a problem.
The only issue seemed to be that the lines for the port-a-potties were extremely long. For such a small race, I was not expecting this at all. I waited almost 30 minutes on a line and just made it to the corrals about 4 minutes before the gun went off.
Newport Liberty Half:
MILES 1-4: My coach had me running between a 9:00 and a 9:20 for the first 4 miles and this was easily accomplished. There were a couple pockets along these miles that had some spectators which was nice. I was feeling alright and looking forward to seeing my family and boyfriend on the course around mile 3.
Unfortunately, It didn’t take long to realize that the roads in Jersey City were not as uhhh… nice and paved as I would have hoped. I felt like I really had to be paying attention to where I was placing my foot in order to not roll an ankle or worse. While this was not ideal, I did my best to not let it get me frustrated and bothered.
MILES 4-10: This is where my coach had me pick up the pace to what would be considered “race pace.” For the first 4 miles, I stuck exactly in her recommended range of 8:55-9:05. And then mile 8 happened.
It was almost as if I got hit by a truck the way it all seemed to come on so suddenly. The wind started to really get to me, my nose completely stuffed up, it felt like someone was sitting on my chest, and I had this feeling of “fullness” that caused me to struggle taking in food/water for the rest of the race.
It’s really a shame that this is where I started to completely lose it because the course is beautiful as you run through Liberty State Park. I tried to find someone who was running a good pace and tuck in behind them but quickly realized that that wasn’t going to be possible with the way I was feeling. At this point, I just couldn’t wait for this race to be over.
MILES 10-13: I was supposed to evaluate how I was feeling each mile and pick up the pace. Instead, my pace remained consistently crappy until mile 13. The whole time, I knew a PR was still in reach but I knew that my goal time was slipping away with each mile.
Right before mile 13, I saw my family and Justin and tried to look peppy. I ended up finishing in 2:00:52 (9:13), which is a full 2:30 PR for me but not the sub-2 I was hoping (and trained) for that day.
I quickly found my parents, uncle, cousin, and boyfriend and we walked to a nearby place for brunch. As I was still feeling “full,” I forced myself to eat a small yogurt parfait while my cheer squad chowed down on pancakes, crepes, and eggs. Ugh.
Once we finished up eating, it was time to mosey on over to Departed Soles Brewery. Remember when I tried to convince Brian to run the Disney Half-Marathon with me? Well, he’s all amazing and started his own brewery (which has amazing gluten-free options if you need!).
We tasted lots of beer… and I finished all 4 glasses of mine… so perhaps this wasn’t the smartest choice based on how I was feeling. #iregretnothing
By the time I got home, I couldn’t pick my head up off the couch. I ended up at the doctor’s office on Tuesday and was prescribed a round of antibiotics and strict orders to not return to work until Thursday when my germs would no longer be contagious.
What I learned:
There are just some things you cannot plan for on race day. You can have the greatest training cycle, eat right, take vitamins, get enough rest, and your body may still do whatever the fcuk it wants to do on race day and you just have to go with it.
It took me a little while to fully accept that my body had different plans for me that day. Even though the race didn’t go as planned for me, all was not for naught. I know that my training cycle made me a stronger runner because if it hadn’t, there is no way that I could have had such an awful experience and still ended up with a 2:30 PR.
I’ll take it. Next!
Next up: Philadelphia Marathon… “for fun.” Stay tuned for some training posts. That’s right, I’m gonna give this “regular posting” thing a try again.