Sunday, September 8, 2013

We Keep Moving...

Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3 Miles
Thursday: Yasso Track Work Out (3x800s+recover laps between)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5 Miles (hills)

Wow, I am sorry, it has been quite awhile since I have last posted. I have felt a bit uninspired this week and I can explain why. Last weekend I ran the Wine Country Half Marathon, it was not a pleasant race for me. This has been hard for me to swallow, hence my lack of inspiration this last week. As I originally mentioned on my blog, I want to share both the ups and downs of runners. Not every race you participate in goes well just because you run often. I learned that (and a lot of other lessons) this weekend, so here it goes...

I have been wanting to do this race for quite some time; beautiful rolling hills, vineyards for miles and wine at the finish line...why not do this race?! Sounds great right? I recruited my dad and my brother to participate in this race with me. On Saturday, we drove to McMinnville to the Aviation Museum where the expo was held, to pick up our packets. I was incredibly disappointed. Well, it didn't help that we sat in traffic for over an hour to get down there. But once we arrived, there were only 4!! I was shocked. They had one booth with product and it was awful! It was an energy drink that smelled like urine and tasted like chalk. I always love walking around expos to check out new products and vendors. I always look forward to these expos. Our take home bags were also a huge let down. We received a bag with three magazines about McMinnville food and wineries in the area, along with our race shirt (which was more than hideous). I also found it odd that it was at the Aviation Museum and with the lack of vendors at the expo, there wasn't even a discount to get into the museum. We drove all the way out to the museum and it was still pricey to get in. I think they could have at least given us that.  I was so let down. I think I was more upset at the fact that this was a destination race and it cost a hefty penny to participate. Next year, I would suggest that they put a little more effort into their expo. They did get Kara Goucher to come out and speak at 4pm but I personally, did not want to drive out to McMinnville that late, listen to a speech and turn around to get back home.

The whole drive out to the expo I felt, "off". I wasn't feeling like myself, I felt achy and tired. By the time we got back from the expo, I had a raging migraine. I laid in bed crying because it hurt so badly. I didn't want this to affect my race planned for the next morning. I carbo loaded, got my race outfit and goodies together and laid them out before heading to bed.

The next morning, I woke up feeling fine. I was so relieved! I did my usual race morning routine and was ready to roll. My dad and I hopped in the car and were on our way. When we arrived in Carlton (where the finish line was) we parked and had to catch a bus to the start line. The start began at Stoller Vineyards. The bus dropped us off right in front of the start:

(My brother got injured during his training, he decided at the last minute, not to participate in fear of a greater injury)

From the car ride to the bus, I still was feeling a tad bit off. My stomach was turning but I thought it was just pre-race jitters so I shook it off and tried not to think about it. I didn't change my morning routine at all, I stuck to what was comfortable and typical for me. Above, are a few photos I took while waiting for the race to start. We had a beautiful sunrise to look at.The waiting area had a great view with a hydration station, porta potties and a DJ (who was very entertaining). We had plenty of time to stretch and use the bathroom, if necessary. We were then herded down to the start area where we were ready to take off.

After a delayed start, we were off! I began feeling great, easing into my comfortable pace and headed for the long road ahead. Well, to make a long story very short and to spare the details, I had some major GI issues at mile 5. I felt incredibly sick and in extreme pain. I was broken hearted. As I tried to push through the next couple of miles (alternating jogging and walking), I realized that I could no longer run.  I was in so much pain, it hurt to pump my arms and move with my extremely upset stomach. I walked along the shoulder of the gravel road, hysterical and on the phone with my mom, telling her I couldn't finish and needed to get off the course. I ended up stopping at an aid station at mile 9 where a volunteer took me to the finish line. After a long ride and many detours around the small town, it was like a scene from a movie, the crowd split and all I could see is the open road where my husband was standing. I threw my arms around him and sobbed. My dad had just finished at the time I arrived at the finishing area and I hugged every member of my family. I just couldn't stop crying. I felt so defeated and incredibly frustrated that my body wouldn't let me finish. I have never had this problem. Reflecting on the factors that led up to the issues, I think that it was a combination of things. I think some things I could have controlled but others, were just plain out of my control.

All week I have felt like I have been mourning the race I never finished. I was four miles away from the finish line, four miles! It still stings. So how do you move on when you feel that you have failed? You keep going. As hard as that is, you just have to. I realized that I have had this expectation that every race I participate in, I will be a better runner. This is not the case. The most frustrating yet motivating piece of being a runner is that every single day holds a new challenge. You never know how your body is going to react, this is especially true on race day. You just don't know. I have come to accept that runners have their ups and downs. We fail, we feel tired, we get happens. But, we are also some of the toughest athletes, we get up, we keep trying and we just run. We run because it is the best therapy and we need it more than anything, especially in situations like this. This is what I believe. I have been reflecting on what I can improve on, what may have caused some of the factors and what can control next time? These are things I have been thinking about to improve. It's the only way to move on.

I think that it is so incredibly important to set goals for yourself. If we don't successfully meet our goals, we reassess our goals and we make new ones. We don't give up. I've learned such a huge lesson and I guess that I'll continue to learn as it comes with experience. Running is also not a sport that you just have figured out after a race or after two weeks of running, heck, you may not even have running figured out after 20 years of doing it! The important aspect of this sport is the passion that drives you to get out the door everyday.

These are my new goals:

  1. Sign up for races with shorter distances. I want to participate in a few 10ks, 15ks and 10 milers. I want to step back and experience racing for what it should be, absolute fun! I want to feel more confident in the entire race experience and I think this is a good way to do it. 
  2. Experiment in a variety of fueling and hydration techniques until I find a solid routine. 
  3. Continue working on mental tactics to push through pain and exhaustion. 
Stay posted as I continue to work through my own personal struggles and work toward these new goals that I have set for myself.

Have you ever felt that you have failed? Have you ever had a "bad race"? What was your experience and how did you work through it?

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