I am the kind of person who forks out a couple hundred dollars to register for a race, just for the sole purpose of forcing myself to run on a daily basis. Is that just me? Yeah? Okay. I enjoy running, but I won’t run consistently unless I have something to train for. Ergo, the Modesto Half Marathon.
After my less-than-perfect performance at the Disneyland Half Marathon (read the race recap here) back in September, I was determined to redeem myself. I signed up for the Modesto Half Marathon with about 12-weeks to train, which already seemed like a step in the right direction (pun intended).
I had an aggressive 8-week training schedule mapped out on a calendar, courtesy of my dad, which seemed foolproof. However, I didn’t really take in to consideration all of the traveling that I would be doing during the month February—I went from England, to LA, to Missouri and back all within 20 days (it was exhausting). I ran when I could, but that put a real damper on my training. Towards the end of the month, when things finally slowed down, I was able to really hone in on my longer runs and kick things up a notch. Running 10-miles felt good, and I was confident that this race would put me back on the radar for hitting a PR in 2017.
Then came the taper. I have always loved tapering, both in swimming and running, because it’s sort of like a vacation after all of the blood, sweat and tears that comes with training. You’ve already hit the peak of your training, so the idea is that you’re toning down the mileage and taking it easy until race day. Well, here’s the thing about tapering—you actually have to do it. After my last long run—the 10 miler—I stopped running for a whole week. It’s unclear whether I lost motivation or gained too much confidence, but either way you can chalk it up as a fail. The week of the race I did a few easy 3-mile runs and felt really out of shape. My lungs were tight, my hips were even tighter and I had a really bad feeling about the half marathon that was rapidly approaching.
Come race day, I was still feeling really discouraged, but figured if I could make it through the Disneyland Half Marathon, I could certainly make it through this.
The first eight miles went off without a hitch. I was running at a really comfortable pace and was feeling good about hitting my goal time. At mile eight, I stopped at an aid station to grab water, and, well, I couldn’t get moving again. I hit a major wall. My hips were in so much pain that it hurt to walk. I tried running at a slower pace, which only made it worse when I had to stop to walk again. So, I walked. I walked the last five miles of the race. And not like a fast, power walk—it was slow and miserable crawl.
I wanted to die, and cry. I was so disappointed in myself that I wanted to quit the race altogether. I finally finished, in the absolute slowest time ever— almost one whole hour slower than my personal best. This race was actually worse than my Disneyland Half, which I didn’t think was physically possible. Turns out, it was.
Needless to say, I am taking a break from half marathons for a while until I can get my training dialed in. That excruciatingly slow race was a big wakeup call.
So for now, I am trading in my race belt for a swimsuit and goggles. I am hoping that swimming laps 3-times a week, combined with consistent runs, will help get me back to a PR pace by the beginning of fall. Someone hold me accountable for that.