The day started at 4:30, because for some reason I thought that was plenty of time to get up, get ready, drive an hour and a half, park, warm-up, check gear, use the bathroom, and start a race at 7:00. No, it actually is not enough time for all of that.
So I ended up frantically hunting for parking pre-race (mostly because I refused to pay and wanted street parking), finally finding a spot quite far away with just 25 minutes to the start. I couldn't run to the race, because I needed a port-a-potty SO BAD OMG, which also means I was totally dehydrated (halfway through the long drive I was regretting all the coffee I drank, and didn't dare drink a sip of water).
Arriving late has some benefits: most people were already done with gear check and bathrooms by the time I arrived. I easily checked my bag, but the national anthem was playing before I even got to the front of the port-a-potty line (which, props to the directors, was not long thanks to the adequate number of units). I ended up vaulting over the fence into the corral, into the waiting arms of a total stranger I talked into catching me (poor dude).
I was freezing cold, I wasn't warmed up, and I was having tummy issues already. It was in the 30's with a "feels like" temp of below freezing; I knew the sun would warm things up, though, so I was in tights and a sleeveless shirt with gloves. I had to take the gloves off early because, oddly, the volunteer at the very first water stop poured Powerade all down my arm and soaked my glove - and then high-fived his friend and said, "Baptized!" - uh, calm down, fellow.
|Louisiana Running Company once again providing great photos!|
The gun went off and we started running downhill. The first miles are a slight decline, yet to my horror, my Garmin beeped WAY WAY WAY slower than I thought I was running the first mile. Like, fifteen seconds slower. Huh? I just was working way too hard. My muscles felt fine - although cold - but I was struggling to get any speed at all. I hammered the first six miles away at 7:06 pace, which was already a little slower than the 7:05 I'd need to run a 1:33, and then I just gave up. I started really just jogging and I felt so tired. Around about mile 11, I realized that about a million people had passed me and thought, "Well, that's not cool", so I ran a 7:04 and a 7:03 for the last two, but - ugh. I just struggled the whole way. 1:33:53.
Worst part: I wasn't sore later, so you know I didn't do my best!
I am really annoyed that I ran basically the same time as last race - and it actually felt much harder. Am I getting slower? Honestly, my fall half (1:37) was a much tougher course, so I kind of feel like I haven't seen any improvement at all since I got back to running this year. I am sort of wondering if it isn't time to hang it up. Yes, I can have a great long run, but honestly - what good does that do without the speed? And the speed is what's missing.
And I still have runner's knee - not that bad, but nagging and annoying.