Sunday, September 22, 2013

Racing for Others

There are lots of reasons to sign up for a race.  Some people like the idea of running through certain cities, while others do it for the experience.  The majority of time I race for one thing - a new PR.  However, today was the the second time this year (the first being the Boson Marathon) where I lined up at the start of a race knowing that the main goal was to run with a friend.

I signed up for the Fox Valley Half Marathon in December, with the intention that it would be my goal race of the year.  I had such high hopes, and the idea of a new PR danced around frequently in my head.  Then I got sick.  I had a fever for a few days, a nasty cough and cold and couldn't breathe well.  I didn't run until Thursday, when 5 miles felt like a marathon, and my 9:16 overall average felt like a dead out sprint.  Friday I decided that I would need to adjust my goals.  I would run the race with my two friends, helping them to reach their goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon, rather than running this race for myself.

Sunday morning rolled around and I felt no pressure whatsoever.  The weather was nice and cool, made for PRing.  I lined up with my friends and our 13.1 mile journey through the western suburbs began.  I had the most fun I have ever had in a race before, and truly did not feel like I was actually in a race.  We ended up running a 1:57, which averaged out to a 9:00/mile pace.  In the end, I got my medal but more importantly, my friends got their PR.  I'm happy I could help them achieve this goal.

Life is funny.  I thought that this race was going to be awesome all spring and summer.  I looked forward to it with such great anticipation, but it was not meant to be.  Surprisingly, I am ok with that.  Because just like a lot of other runners, the first thing I did when I got home from the race was sign up for another half marathon in November.  PR's can happen at any race, but helping a friend can't.  I am glad I could help them out today.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2013: DNF and DNS

A few weeks ago, I DNF'd my first "race".... the beer mile my friends were putting on.  It was hard, and my stomach can only take so much liquid.  Rather than getting sick, I quit half way through.  My friends think I need to practice more so I don't DNF the Chilly Beer Mile, held in November.  Thus far I have done zero work in order to remedy that problem.

On to bigger issues...2013 will be the year where I have my first DNS.  As I "recently" blogged about, my training hasn't gone well.  I traveled a lot in July and August, and struggled to get quality miles in.  Last week was the icing on the cake.  I was supposed to run 20 miles and made it 1.5.  Yes, you read that correctly.  After doing some stupid training that week, including an 8 mile track workout that involved 5 x 400s at 1:23 pace and then a 5k in 21:30 Friday night followed by a 6 mile tempo on hills the next morning, my body couldn't handle it.  Not only did I have a blood sugar problem and went low, my legs were hurting from the first step I took that day.  My running friend walked back with me to our starting point.  It was at that point that I knew I would not run the Chicago Marathon.

This past week I have felt sad, and have had a "pity party" for myself.  I know I could run the marathon in sub-4 hours, but I don't want to.  I'm not in the best shape right now, and I think it would be mentally taxing on me to do the race.  I don't want to hate running, and I know if I continue to train for the marathon it is not going to be enjoyable.  It has been disgustingly humid and hot outside this week, making it hard to run.  I've been doing my fair share of sweating, and my once "easy pace" has seemed incredibly hard.

The year is 2/3 of the way over as of today.  I started the year with my best running ever, and have gotten into a major slump this summer.  I have a half marathon at the end of September that I am still doing, but other than that, I know I need to run with no goal other than to enjoy the activity.  Who knows what the rest of 2013 will bring, but I am hoping it ends as good as it started.