Oct. 28: Run MCM, miss my goal by 4ish minutes, but still PR.
Oct. 30ish: Get drinks with Laura; she tells me she’ll pace me to sub-4 if I really want to…and how about Rehoboth?
Oct. 31st – Nov. 7: Contemplate signing up for Rehoboth.
Nov. 7: Sign up for Rehoboth.
Nov. 8 – 11: Wonder WTF I did. I ran an 8-miler on Nov. 4, was planning on going away for the weekend after and Thanksgiving. I knew getting long runs in wouldn’t be easy, and that I probably wouldn’t be motivated enough to get them in; decide I should probably drop down to the half.
Nov. 11 – Dec. 7: Think I’m going to drop down to half…but don’t actually do it.
Dec. 7: Pick up bib, ask race bib pickup dude how I can drop down to the half if I want to.
“Well, the race director is over there in a blue sweatshirt. You can just go talk to her.”
That was the moment of truth, and I couldn’t make a decision. I’ll decide tomorrow, I thought.
“What happens if I just drop down tomorrow?”
“You’ll probably get a medal, but not a time.”
Considering I wasn’t planning on PRing, I could live with that.
Per Jess’ recommendation, we went to Grotto Pizza for some carb-loading action.
This is a carb, too.
You get carbs, and you get carbs and you get carbs.
EVERYONE GETS CAAAAAAAARBS!
So, my only long run since MCM was 8 miles, I told them. It’s obviously not ideal, but do you think I could do it?
Everyone hedged a bit because I don’t think anyone wanted to definitively tell me yes or no, but they said they thought I could do it if I wanted to. Fine, don’t make my decision for me.
I went to sleep thinking that I’d decide in the morning.
I woke up thinking I’d run the full and that I’d treat it like just a [really] long run. I’ve never run a race in my compression sleeves, but [sarcasm font] I thought they could compensate for my lack of training.
Thank you Giant, for this helpful graphic.
We’d stopped at the grocery store last night to pick up some bananas and other race provisions. I’m allergic to peanut butter, and the almond butter was sort of expensive, so I channeled my inner Alexis and we went for some Nutella. BEST PRE-RACE DECISION EVER.
The race started at 7, and we rolled out at 6:30. I need to run more small races.
Steph was trying to PR, so we all started out together with a pace plan of 9:30, which would have put her at just under 4:09. I ran most of my long runs this training cycle at 9:30, so I thought it was possible for me to do so. The first mile or two were scenic–running down Rehoboth Ave., the main drag, and then along the ocean for a bit–but I wasn’t really enjoying them. I started getting too much in my own head and asking myself just WTF I thought I was doing contemplating running the full.
I told Laura this at one point, and she said “okay, let’s see how you feel at the turnaround.” After mile 2, my legs started loosening up and I started getting into it.
2-4: A little less tight, but still not THIS IS THE GREATEST LET’S RUN FOREVER. At this point, we were running through some side streets in the town.
Around mile 4, I finally hit THIS IS GREAT LET’S RUN FOREVER and was completely in a groove. I took a Gu at mile 6 and was cruising. Physically, I felt fine and was enjoying myself, but mentally I just wasn’t sure. I’d barely been running. Could I really do this? More importantly, did I really want to do this? I prepared mentally and physically for MCM for months; did I really want to fight through another 20 miles? I thought that physically I could probably get through it, but it would be really uncomfortable–and not in the I was racing myself and pushing myself hard way–so I started leaning hard towards dropping to the half.
But if I ran the half, I’d have to run alone for 4 more miles and my head just wasn’t in the game. I didn’t know I could get through on my own…but running an extra 13 miles because I didn’t want to run alone seemed really dumb. But…maybe I could run the full? The second half of the course looked really pretty?
THEODORA, why are you getting race FOMO? Just run the damn half.
Around mile 8.5, I’d pretty much made up my mind and asked Steph for the key for the rental car since I’d be done first. The keys were bulky and hard to fit in her shorts, so she told me if I took them, she wasn’t taking them back. So it was now or never. Fine.
I saw the turnaround point, the girls asked me one more time if I was sure I wanted to do the half, and I said that yes, I was sure.
I turned around and was happy with my decision for about 2 minutes. I’d be done soon! I wouldn’t risk injury!
Then some serious self-doubt set in. Why didn’t I run the full? I could have dug deep and done it. Why didn’t I just decide at the start to run the half and run it hard? I ran the next mile or so being really hard on myself and then decided to let it go. I was running a half that I had barely trained for–five weeks after I ran my third full. This was my 14th half in less than three years. I had a lot to be happy about and proud of, and I had come a long way.
We were running on trails, and it was gorgeous and very different to this NYC runner, so I finally told myself to STFU and enjoy the run.
Around mile 11, I decided that while I wasn’t going to PR, I could still run strong and picked up the pace. I’d been doing 9:30s until mile 9 and fell back to around 9:45 for 9-11, but from 11-13, I picked it up to my half race pace (8:50, then 8:40) and felt good.
I need to find a good half I can PR at and focus on training for it, I thought. But I’m not ready to pick that yet. I still need some no-training plan time (despite loving them.)
There was a dude I was running even with for a while, and somewhere around 12.5, I decided my only goal was going to be to pass him and finish before him. I picked it up a bit more and ended up smoking it past him. My last .13 ended up being at a 6:30 pace!!! You know, for a whole minute. But still, I was thrilled to see that on my Garmin!
I had the keys and I could have gone back to the hotel…or stay and drink beer in the post-race tent. I think you know which one I chose.
AND MAC AND CHEESE.
I’m telling you, it was torturous waiting for my friends in that tent.
But I sat down at a table with my beer and made lots of friends as runners filed in and out. And met some Internet buddies! Molly and I have been Twitter buddies for awhile, and we finally met. She ran her first half at the beginning of this year, and this was already her fourth!! Congrats! And I love your headband, obviously.
I wish I hadn’t waffled so much with my decision on this race, but I think I finally made the right decision, and I had a lot of fun and would love to run it again next year and maybe make a more definitive decision sooner than 9 miles in.
Half #14: DONE! (Edited to add: finished in 2:05.)
Have you ever dropped down mid-race? Have you ever been nearly as indecisive as me about a race?