…AKA contemplating the DNF (did not finish).
I ‘ve been eyeing the sub-1:50 half-marathon for the past few months. I’m less than three minutes away, what’s 10 seconds off your mile when they are 8:35 miles? Not a lot in the scheme of things. Something I’m capable of doing.
My marathon plan had a half-marathon in the plan for this past weekend which conveniently also fell on the Montour Run Half-Marathon. I ran it last year (my first real blog post) and decided to run it two days before. Last year I just ran it to have fun as a long run and that’s probably how I should have treated it this year.
So, this race. Basically you have a mile downhill then the remaining 12 is out and back on the trail. The trail I run on a weekly basis. Last year I took the first mile too slow – why not just ride the downhill? This year I probably over-corrected and ran around a 7:30 first mile, which I did intentionally incase I had time I needed to make up later on. My second mile was right around 8:20 which is what I wanted to be running. From there, it was bad news bears.
Living (and running) in Pittsburgh has taught me one thing – to check the humidity. It could be a perfect 70 degrees out but with 84% humidity at 8 a.m., you’re just done. Around mile three, I started to feel it. My legs felt tired. I started to think running 12 miles in the preceding 36 hours was a dumb idea. I looked at my watch, saw my pace and mentally gave up. I just didn’t feel like running anymore if I wasn’t going to have a good time. It’s a shitty attitude, trust me, I know. To add insult to injury, if I had ran the time I wanted I would have placed third in my age group. I came in 10th in my age group, which isn’t terrible, but it also isn’t third and isn’t a PR.
A lot of my friends have been telling me they know I’ll be able to finish the marathon, even if I have to crawl across the finish line. I’m one to contemplate giving up but I won’t actually give up. If I’m anything, it’s resilient. I kept trying to force my legs to go faster but I would look down at my watch and just be frustrated with what I was seeing. I was confused, I was disappointed, and above all else – I was just angry. Angry at myself, angry at the humidity, angry at everything in my life that was weighing on my mind.
I read my other half-marathon recaps from this year – Pittsburgh and DC Nike Women’s Half – and realized I just ran this entire race like an asshole. I needed a gel earlier on because my legs were fatigued from the humidity but I wouldn’t “let” myself have one until mile 6 (I wanted to wait until 7 but seriously could not lift my legs up any longer). I tapered even less than usual because I’m so obsessed with running X-number of miles in a week.
Then “Party Up” by DMX came on my playlist and I had a new lease on life. Just kidding. Kind of. This post was getting heavy. I had to get some comedic relief in here somewhere. But seriously, what ever happened to DMX?
At the finish, I told my dad that I thought about quitting in the middle of the race which he responded to, “If you wouldn’t have finished I would have kicked your ass” in his best Pittsburgh Dad accent. In high school I was having a bad race one day, took off my uniform top (inspired by Richie Tenenbaum taking off his shoes and one of his socks, of course) and told my dad I was done running. He responded by telling me to get back out there and finish. One thing I’m not is a quitter, even when I really, really want to.
Chat with me:
Am I going to end up on GOMI where people talk about what an untalented, entitled brat I am? Are you a quitter? What do you do to get through tough situations that you don’t want to be in (i.e. running a half-marathon in 84% humidity)? Do you know what happened to DMX?