I will summarize my 2011 Cowtown Half Marathon experience for you: the hardest race I’ve ever done. In hindsight, it is mostly my own doing, with a good mix of physical and mental challenges that I wasn’t able to overcome. Since almost two months have passed since this race, I’m going to post wrote in my running log:
In the days leading up to today's race, I came up with an A, B, and C goal. Truth be told, I also had an A+ goal, that would've been my A goal under better weather conditions. For some reason, I started today's race as if the A+ goal was realistic. Here were my goals:
- A+: Hang with the 1:50 pace group through the finish.
- A: Half Marathon PR (current PR is 1:54:57, set at the 2010 Cowtown).
- B: Beat my time from the Denver Rock 'n' Roll Half (1:58:07, but at a mile elevation).
- C: Come in under 2 hours.
Now, I've put in the training, I think, and I really did want to push myself, so I was stubborn and started with the 1:50 pace group. My goal this morning was simply to hang with them as long as could...hopefully to the bottom of the monster hill at the start of mile 10. Instead, I lost touch with them somewhere past the 10K mark (new 10K PR of 51:31—a 3:50 PR!). By mile 8 I was dying. I didn't want to run anymore, even though we were running downhill at that time. [note: into a 15 mph headwind]
I sucked it up, and kept going, though I eventually gave back all of the time I had built up in the first 10K, coming in 31 seconds off of my PR.
The weather was the biggest culprit. The last temperature reading I saw before the start was 65F, with 90%+ humidity, and 10 mph winds (gusting to 25 mph).
I will tell you, it doesn't matter what the conditions are like, when you bust your ass like I felt like mine had been busted, and then come close, yet short of a PR, it stings. I'll get over it.
I’m still a bit torn on how to feel about this race, and it all comes down to the primary goal…
If my primary goal was 1:50, then I gave it my best, and failed—there’s no shame in going for it and failing. The only shame in the race is how easily I gave in to the voices in my head that told me it was okay to ease up.
If my primary goal was to set a PR, regardless of time, then I failed all the way around. I failed to adapt my race day plan to the conditions. Had I not been so stubborn, and backed off for the first half, there’s no question in my mind that I would’ve come in with a PR of a couple of minutes.
Reminds me of a quote I read earlier today: You cannot grow and expand your capabilities to their limits without running the risk of failure. -Dean Karnazes? At least you went for it! You'll get it next time.
Posted by Brian on 6/16/2011 9:27:50 PM