Montour Run Half-Marathon Recap

montour trail half-marathon | almost getting it together

…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?

43 comments on “Montour Run Half-Marathon Recap

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on September 9, 2014 7:10 am

DMX-CRADLE TO THE GRRRAVE! Love that song. I think that he went to jail or something…. Ps if you end up on GOMI that just means that you’ve “made it” ;D I’m sorry that you had such a rough race. But you’ve gotten it out of your system, and you will be boss the next time that you go out. And also, the humidity should be going down pretty soon, so now you will just be extra prepared.
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:34 pm

I LOVE THAT. About DMX and GOMI. So good. Thanks for making my morning with this comment haha.

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Heather @fitncookies on September 9, 2014 7:37 am

The montour half was the first half marathon I ever did. I actually didn’t like it because there were no spectators and it was so boring!! This was like 5 years ago? I think. I definitely understand how the humidity affects our runs! It’s rough in Pgh lately. Yesterday was so beautiful with no humidity! Forgot what that was like. Do you run that section of the montour trail every week? Do you like out there? I like at the complete other end, lol, but run on the Montour Trail all the time!
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:33 pm

YESTERDAY WAS AMAZING. I loved it. Best run in a while. I do live out there! Let me know if you want to run together sometime!! :)

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Sarah on September 9, 2014 8:44 am

The humidty has been bad lately. Too bad this race isn’t later in the fall for better weather conditions since it’s a “flat” race for Pittsburgh. Oh yeah, listened to DMX all the time. Last I saw there was a video of him riding a rollar coaster. LOL

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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:28 pm

That’s good to know he is still alive and having fun haha! Last week one morning I swear I could smell the humidity…

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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:27 pm

I think he is in jail now, actually….

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Sarah on September 9, 2014 10:31 am

That humidity was no joke. I don’t blame you for mentally struggling but you finished which is what matters! I still think you did a great job, PR or not. And as for GOMI, don’t even get me started. When your name shows up on there it’s the worst feeling in the world (and they’ve said a lot of the things you mentioned here about me), but it doesn’t make any of it true. You are still awesome, you ran a tough race, and you crossed that finish line because you’re STRONGER than you think. We all have those races we aren’t thrilled about and didn’t necessarily execute well, but they are learning experiences and we can only move up from there. I still think you did a great job :)
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:26 pm

I just wish I had as much free time as all those mean girls on GOMI… I barely have enough time to do things I like, let alone go around talking crap about other people!

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Courtney @RunningforCupcakes on September 9, 2014 10:43 am

The humidity has been killer lately! Just think about how much faster we’ll be when the humidity lets up and the cooler temps start rolling in! This race was a great mental challenge for you which is sometimes just as important as a physical challenge. You’ll get that PR soon and even though you didn’t get it this time you still ran a great race for the conditions you were in! You should be proud!
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:25 pm

Monday morning the weather was perfect and I felt great and my run was so fun… if only that were Saturday lol!

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Kelli @Hungry Hobby on September 9, 2014 10:58 am

I’m not nearly as experienced as you so I’m still impressed! I know that doesn’t help but maybe this will… the thing I always remember when I have a bad run or race is the worst runs make the best ones in the long runs. Or the activity that you hate the most is the one you should be doing because it’s the hardest. We make gains when we complete things we think we can’t or that are the hardest. Oh and I’m using your playlist because apparently I can’t find time to make my own and DMX is my kick in the pants song too :)
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:24 pm
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Jessica on September 9, 2014 11:41 am

Haha, you’re SOMI!

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Humidity complicates being active, especially if your goal is to run a half-marathon in it!
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:08 pm

I love SOMI!! Thank you for that haha!

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Lauren @ ihadabiglunch on September 9, 2014 11:51 am

Humidity during a run is the WORST. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re breathing maple syrup. Yuck. I love your dad’s attitude :) I sometimes quit but this morning I didn’t! I ran four miles with no breaks (usually I sneak one or two in there). This is big news for me, as I’m just starting to get into running again. I love your post-race pic! It shows how hard you worked – congrats!
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:09 pm

That’s awesome – 4 miles is a lot! Congrats, girlie!

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Ange @ Cowgirl Runs on September 9, 2014 12:03 pm

I don’t “do” humidity. At all. Nope.
It’s taken me a loooong time to learn that not every race can be, or should be, a PR.
Shake it off, turn on some DMX and get ready for the next one :)
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:04 pm

SO. TRUE ->> not every race can be, or should be, a PR. Thank you for that!

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Caitlin on September 9, 2014 12:11 pm

ooof girl, I heard this was a rough one for everyone. Only one person I know who did this had a good race….everyone else said, “welp that sucked, I’m recording it for mileage sake, but I never want to think about it again” so you aren’t alone. The humidity was awful last week, too, and that makes such a difference. I think you should be incredibly proud of yourself for pushing through this even when you didn’t want to. You FINISHED despite the sucky conditions and not wanting to be there, so remember that and use it when things get tough in marathon training and in your race. You already pushed through this, so you know you can do it again!
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:03 pm

Okay, that’s totally good to hear. I just recorded it for mileage sake and washed my hands of it haha. Why wasn’t Sunday or yesterday’s weather Saturday’s weather?

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Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness on September 9, 2014 1:18 pm

Lol- seriously wtf happened to DMX?! personally, im very impressed with your race and um yeah- humidity is killer!!
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:03 pm

Thank you!!

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on September 9, 2014 2:07 pm

Sorry to hear that the race was rough! That is a good question about DMX though…
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:03 pm

Sadly, I think he is in jail…

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Annmarie on September 9, 2014 2:22 pm

Really, what ever did happen to DMX? Haha, seriously though I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself! YOU FINISHED! Also if it makes you feel any better I totally peed my pants during a 5k race this past weekend and contemplated just stopping because I was so embarrassed. The stubborn girl in me though pushed on but it was not easy.
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Cassie on September 9, 2014 3:02 pm

I would have been dunzo haha. Good perseverance!

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Farrah on September 9, 2014 4:31 pm

I grew up in CA for most of my life, but for the past almost-four-ish years, I’ve been out on this side of the country and oh, humidity…I’m definitely not a fan–especially not for a run! I’m very much a “contemplate-quitting-but-will-try-to-do-it-even-if-I’m-dying” sort of person too. :x It’s good and bad, haha.
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Jen @ pretty little grub on September 9, 2014 7:52 pm

Good for you for going even when you wanted to quit. I know I have definitely had those moments in races before!
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Matt @ Runner Savvy on September 9, 2014 8:10 pm

Awesome job finishing!
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Amy L. Cercone on September 9, 2014 8:35 pm

I’m looking at your glass as half-full! I am so impressed by your effort, by your ability to fairly critique your performance while drawing on your prior experiences and for your ability to inject some humor as you reflect on this. Continue to feed your passion and NEVER give up… No matter what you’re going after.

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GiGi Eats on September 10, 2014 12:02 am

Don’t tell ANYONE but…. DMX and I…. Yeah, we are working on a COLLAB! ;) ;)
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Kristen on September 10, 2014 2:28 am

Oh man, I have been there! I remember a 5k this year where I just HAD to PR. So I went out fast passing all these people and on a regular day I probably could have kept up the pace. But I was recovering from a half marathon the weekend before so it hurt, and when I saw my second mile time I just wanted to give up because I knew I couldn’t PR. My mind totally took over and I slowed down a lot and felt miserable. Tons of people passed me and I dragged myself over the finish like only 4 seconds from my B goal. It was not a good race. You are so right that our minds can mess up our races. I ran a race without my Garmin once and actually PRed, so I definitely think it’s true!
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[…] off, I want to thank everyone for their kind words on yesterday’s post. Truthfully, I wrote it while still a little angry, went back and edited it the next day, and […]

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Em Todd @ CFGF on September 11, 2014 7:57 am

This post is AWESOME. It’s hard to take a step back and realize you need to come down a few notches. Finishing a run when you’re not into it is SO HARD. I’m proud of you lady.
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Cassie on September 16, 2014 10:03 pm

I typically need to come down a few notches haha. You got me out the door this morning though, so thank you!! xoxo

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Jordan @ The Balanced Blonde on September 11, 2014 1:01 pm

Giiiirl the fact that you finished a half marathon in 84% humidity, let alone 10th in your age group is beyond impressive to me. I love to run, but ever since my ankle injury back in March I haven’t been able to do much of it. I had to walk over half of my half-marathon in Central Park last April, and I still contemplated giving up soooo many times. “I’m one to contemplate giving up but not actually give up.” Yep, that’s so me. I think you did a phenomenal job, and your dad sounds like the coolest dude on earth!

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Cassie on September 16, 2014 10:01 pm

Haha my dad can definitely be the coolest dude on earth sometimes. Have you been doing any rehab on your ankle??

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Cy on September 11, 2014 2:52 pm

I’m sorry that you had such a tough race :( But as other people here have said, it’s just impressive that you fought through it and finished! It shows true perseverance :)

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Cassie on September 16, 2014 10:04 pm

Thank you!!

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Amanda on September 19, 2014 3:03 pm

So I saw the DMX bit and totally had to comment. DMX actually lives in Spartanburg, SC. I know this because he his on the local news quite often for DUI/drug related acts. Although, he is very much alive.

And I agree that the humidity sucks. Running in the summer sucks. I would much rather run in the cold (because blisters. ugh.) … But then again I live in the south so cold= not really that cold.

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Cassie on September 28, 2014 10:03 am

THANK YOU!!! I guess he isn’t making music anymore?? Just drinking and driving and doing drugs…

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