A blizzard, an upset stomach, copious rolling terrain… these are all things that a runner could face on a daily basis. How do you handle it during a race though, when it comes as a complete surprise and you have 18 miles in front of you? This Sunday I found out…
While I was somewhat prepared for the upset stomach and poor weather, I have only been training on flat terrain. Sunday’s course had a total of two flat sections of maybe 400 meters, and those were in high-speed wind. I knew it would be a tough day, but still ended up having a
total baby tantrum mental breakdown at mile 14.
Yep, we got it on video:
I also knew the race would be fast, there were over 200 participants and only 35 of those were women. For those of you that are used to large, friendly, gender-balanced races in the US this may come as a surprise, but the truth is that running (especially long distances & competition) is still dominated by men, especially here in Europe. Ashley at Never Homemaker just wrote a great article about this that you can find here.
So while I was somewhat prepared to be one of the last people crossing the line, I was not prepared for the constant hills and crazy wind. I went out a little too fast and by the second 10km loop, I was ready to quit. Alexei told me, “no way,” and cheered me on. The next time I saw him at mile 14 I was begging to quit and he gave me a push on the back as I ran away crying.
In the end, I was glad I didn’t quit (and that Alexei was there to tell me I couldn’t). Despite a slow last 5 miles and feeling pretty frustrated most of the race, I was proud of myself in the end for pulling through. In the end I ran under 3 hours at 9:26/mi pace. Not a fast day. Also I was 4th in my category (of 8). So in the end, the way I see it I just missed the (imaginary) podium. I believe it was good pre-marathon training and am going to try much harder smile and stay positive, no matter what the conditions, in upcoming training & races.