The Not So Cold Too Cold to Hold Half

Do you ever sign up for a race and then realize it probably wasn’t your smartest idea?

In all fairness, my primary motivators to register for the Too Cold to Hold half marathon were running with my friend around White Rock Lake, and the medal (which fits with a race in July). A PR, two weeks after the Houston Marathon, was out of the question.

I still expected to be ready to take on 13.1 miles, but as race day approached I still wasn’t sure what my plan was for running it.

In Texas, when you register for a race in the winter, you can expect to either be wearing long sleeves or a tank. Earlier in the week, it looked like it was going to be cold, but race morning ended up being rainy and just under 60 degrees at the start.

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I stuck to my usual plan: stay around a specific pace for 5 miles at a time, then bump up the speed. The first five averaged 9:05 pace, but I felt fine. I enjoyed the view of the lake. Through mile 8 I continued running close to 9:00 miles. Then there was a steady gradual incline between miles 8-9. It didn’t look like much, but it sure knocked my pace off and I could feel it in the effort. I am always amazed at how quickly I can lose speed running up a hill. Around mile 10.5 I felt a strange cramping in my lower abdomen. I’ve never had that happen before, so I slowed to walk until it subsided. It could’ve been due to my diet changes the past two weeks or something I ate the night before. At that point, I no longer cared running under two hours, so I just ran/walked my way through the finish. I was glad to be done and was ready for some chocolate milk.

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I found my friend and then we gathered our post race snacks. It was on the way back to the car that I realized my mistake in parking at Flagpole Hill. That uphill was a bit rough on the legs, but it was finally cooling off because the cold front had blown in. Just in time, right? Thankfully my friend’s husband was at the top of the hill with coffee for her and chocolate milk for me. Awesome!

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In trying to figure out what to fix for next time, I came up with a couple of excuses scenarios of what happened:

1. I haven’t been sleeping well due to some stresses with one of my children. This text from my friend sums it up: You do need a break. When you consider 13 miles in the cold rain a break – you’ve had a tough week.

2. The same child that came down with the flu the day of the Dallas Marathon got sick again that Wednesday and didn’t start feeling better until Saturday. It was probably the flu again.

3. I overhauled my eating habits the last two weeks and I lost 2.5 pounds, but I questioned how to fuel the day before a race. More on that in my next post. This change may have caused the cramping, or it was due to the renewed strength training.

4.  It was warm and humid – based on the amount of salt residue on my skin.

5. My brain quit before my legs. I need to work on my PMA and stinkin’ thinkin’. I also need to find my Zig Ziglar books. Self doubt is getting me down lately.

6. I ran a marathon 2 weeks ago. I need to cut myself a break.

I sure hope this post doesn’t come across as whiny. I wanted to make sure that I was still enjoying myself out there. I tried to encourage other runners – benefit of an out and back course – and thank the volunteers as well. It was a well run race and I’m looking forward to getting the medal in July at the Too Hot to Handle 15k.

I saw this quote last week, and it resonated with me and my feelings about the last couple of races. I’m going to focus on what I can change and try not to worry about what I can’t.

 

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