Monday, May 6, 2013

Capital City Half Marathon - Race Report

I signed up for the Capital City Half Marathon the week following my 2:00:22 running of the Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon.  Given the hilly nature of east Tennessee, I figured I could run sub 2 on a flat course and finally put that goal to bed.

In any give half, 13.1 is rarely the distance from start to finish.  Between wide turns (very difficult to run the tangents even when thinking about it) and passing people along the way, I always seem to pick up an extra tenth of a mile or so along the way.

 I knew the 9:09 pace wouldn’t be good enough for that reason, and set the goal to run this race at a 9:00 pace. Going into the race I had no doubt I was physically ready to run a sub 2 race, but I was struggling mentally.  After all 9:00 is practically 8:59. 

And I don’t run distance races in the 8s! 

I became even more intimidated when I arrived at the race starting line.  My projected finishing time had landed me in corral B, while the slowest of racers would start in corral F.  The sizes of corrals C-F were the same size of corral A + B.  My projected race of 1:5X:XX would put me finishing with the top of racers.

I’m not a top racer!

The race organizers asked us to load into the corral at 7:40 for an 8:00 start.  Thankfully Jay and MIL were able to stand close by, and I spent most of the time dancing around and acting goofy in an effort to embarrass him.  I chatted with a couple of my fellow corral Bers, the Mayor addressed the crowd, then the Race Director spoke.

The National Anthem was preceded by Sweet Caroline and a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. I started to tear up, knowing how blessed I am to be a part of such a great community of runners.

With the sound of the gun we were off.  A lot of runners passed me in the first mile, and I told myself it was because I was in the wrong corral.  I didn’t deserve to be that far forward in the pack.

Mile 1 - 9:01

Along the course, we hit a few inclines to change up the flat terrain.  I certainly wouldn’t call them hills, but my body reacted to them as if they were.  I noticed on the incline portions I slowed, but didn’t gain any speed on the decline portions.

Mile 2 - 9:22

Throughout the race, the crowd never really thinned.  When the quarter marathoners split off, the roads seem to get narrower.  Passing was never easy and I was always surrounded by people.  The benefit to the large race was the amount of spectators along the roads. 

Mile 3 - 9:07

Early in the race, I started battling with my mind.  I saw my slow 2 mile pace and kept telling myself the pace wasn’t good enough to meet my goal.  Somehow I morphed it into ME not being good enough.  I settled into a comfortable pace, afraid of not being able to sustain more over the constant flat terrain.
Mile 4 - 9:21

Mile 5 - 9:14
Mile 6 - 9:16
At this point I knew I was losing the battle in my mind and needed a distraction.  I turned my iPod on and tried to concentrate on running with the music.  My next few miles reflected the wisdom with that decision.

Mile 7 - 9:05

Mile 8 - 9:04

Mile 9 - 9:01

Jay and his mother were looking for me around the 8/9 mile point of the race.  Never has a girl be so happy to see her mother-in-law, and their cheers brought a smile to my face.  I waved at them and pushed on.  Around the next corner the wind was pretty strong.  I appreciated the coolness of the breeze, however, so I accepted it as the gift it was.

Mile 10 - 9:08

Mile 11 - 9:02

Mile 12 - 9:02

Mile 13 – 9:00

I had seen a “Boston strong” poster along the side of the course, and decided my final few miles would be for those who didn’t get to finish their race due to the bombings.  I pushed through to finish strong.  My efforts (and sharpie) were rewarded as I received several cheers-by-name in the final miles.

0.1/0.25 - {8:31}

With the finish line in site, I gave it one final push.  The closer I got to the clock, the more disappointed I became.
Garmin time: 2:00:47
Chip time: 2:00:52

Son of a Bitch, I tweeted while waiting in line for bottled water.  I grab my snack bag and filled it as I went down the finishing shoot.  The finish line was so crowded; we were corralled in all the way to the after party.
I was PISSED.  I wanted to yell, scream, and say ugly words, but there were too many children waiting around the finish line.  Jay knew I was upset and tried to tell me what a great job I did, but I wouldn’t listen.

I had come to Columbus to break 2 hours.  And I failed.  This race was a failure.  I was a failure.  I AM a failure. 
I really haven’t had a chance to scream, cry, and cuss like I wanted.  Jay rarely gets to visit with his family and I didn’t want to make the weekend all about me.  Intellectually, I know I shouldn’t be disappointed with this run – I barely trained, I didn’t push myself during the race and yet I still ran a 2 hour half marathon. On some level, I know how awesome that is.  Eventually I’ll get around to being proud of how far this former 2:44:5X half marathoner has come.

But for now, I’m pouting.  Pouting because I drove all that way for nothing.* Wasted 2 hours running.* Have a really cool medal and tech shirt that piss me off at the thought of them.
*Once again, intellectually I know this isn’t the case, but it’s how I feel.

My head beat me out of a sub 2 hour time.  I’m open to suggestions regarding mental training plans to keep this from happening again.
Finally, here are my stats from the race.  Not too shabby at all for a race I half-assed.

Overall: 2822/8107 (top 1/3)
Division: 195/863 (top 1/4)
Female: 1056/4722 (top 1/4)


  1. I get 100% how your head can frak up a run. I'm still proud of you. Know why? You had pretty much given up at the 1/2 way point but you came back and finished very strong. I know it wasn't the time you wanted but you still ran a very good race and have come leaps and bounds from that 2:44 half marathoner you once were.

  2. IN order to train mentally for any race you have to rid the negativity from your head that surrounds your running. If you truly consider this race a failure and think you are a failure or that you wasted the 2 hours running and a trip out of state for it, then yep.. it was and you should totally hang up your running shoes. Afterall, why keep running towards a negative goal?? What do you have to gain from being so negative? I know you said you know that intellectually you should be proud but you're not and that's too bad.
    Last year I ran a downhill half marathon in hopes of getting a super awesome PR only to finish the race much slower than my previous 2 half marathons. I was disappointed but it wasn't waste. My body ran 2 + hours downhill in crappy weather while people at home laid in bed and did nothing. Was I happy about a non PR race? I wasn't happy for about 5 seconds then remembered what I had done that day.
    What I'm trying to say is don't focus so much negativity on one non PR race. You're going to NOT PR every single race. Maybe you won't even get sub 2 on a half this year, but being pissed off and mad or feeling like it is a waste isn't going to get a PR either.

    If you believe you can, you can and you will. But you honestly have to focus on the positive and believe you can. Is any of that what you want to hear? Likely no because it's been said before. Just focus on the positives because it goes much further. :)

  3. I'm not a runner so just running and finishing is impressive to me. Ending where you did is awesome! Don't kick yourself - you are amazing!

  4. I hate that you felt like this was a terrible race (I also hate that 50% of the race is mental.) You had such a finish time, though. Those are times I only dream of. :)

    Once you've had a few days to process the bad feelings, I hope you'll step back and realize how great you did!

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  6. I am the QUEEN of not pushing myself during a race and convincing myself it wouldn't matter anyway.

    I'm sorry you didn't hit your goal time, but that goal is TOTALLY within your reach. I just know it.

  7. I am so proud of you! you are STILL running! you could have quit (like me) when life got too crazy... Sorry you didn't get your goal time but it is SERIOUSLY right around the corner. :)

  8. I can totally understand your frustration -- and especially with being so close! But it's okay -- just know that on the next race, not only will you beat your 2 hr time, but you'll beat it by several minutes, too!! =)

  9. No matter what you tell yourself, I am super proud of you! You did absolutely amazing! You were off your goal by less than a minute -- less than 5 seconds per mile, right? Seriously?! That's amazing!! YOU are amazing!