So life is hectic. Last week I was became overwhelmed. The crazy pace I usually keep went completely off balance. My paperwork load doubled. I got a jury summons for finals week. My brain was not gelling on my school work. Time was crunching. The girlios were crabby, and I joined them. Sleep has not been easy. Too much on my mind. On Friday I took my first rest day in 34 days of running and felt guilty about it. That's just wrong. I needed a break. For me, a race is a break.
So yesterday, I ran my first official race of the year. It was my second half marathon this year. (Our running club did a DIY half in February. Didn't get a chance to blog it. Bad bad blogger.) I did the South Shore Half Marathon a few years ago. I didn't really decide to run until race morning. My dog won't let me sleep again until I've fed him if my alarm goes off. I had been texting Kim back and forth about going the night before while staring at my studies. So after feeding the dogs I headed up to Milwaukee on Sunday morning to register and race. South Shore is normally on Saturday which means it conflicts with my husband's track schedule or our soccer schedule. This year it was on a Sunday. After talking to my husband about it, he put a twenty on the table and said, "Go run." He's such a keeper. One of the great things about South Shore is that it's 20$ race on race day. It can be as low as 13.99$ if you sign up early. There are no medals and no shirts. You get snazzy running (garden) gloves, chip times and snacks from Aldi. And a great out-and-back rolling course along and near the lake.
I was so excited about the diet cola because I had been craving a diet coke all week. When I had it later in the day, it was the worst diet cola I've ever had. It tasted like a melted watered down diet cola Slurpee. Ook. Yes, I still ended up drinking it. It took me a few hours, but I drank it.
I met up with Kim and two other bloggers, Jessica and Rachel. It was pretty windy and in the low 40s when the race started. I knew I was overdressed for the wind at my back. Wind and I are not friends. I sported my Ruu, which got a lot of looks, and I felt really bright for an overcast day.
In retrospect I guess I did have some goals. Secretly, I wanted a 2:15. Last year at this time, I came off an injury and ran a 2:27:32. Midsummer, I ran 2:14:49. I wanted to feel like I've make some strides in speed and strength. I also wanted to leave it all on the course. I run happy and generally, that doesn't involve emptying the tank in a race. I genuinely wanted to end this race tired.
It was pretty clogged on the trail at the beginning. I'm slow so it doesn't really bother me. I'll pick a person to pace behind for a while and either let them go or pass them depending on how I feel. My legs felt like lead which I didn't expect because I had taken two rest days, the first two rest days in over a month. Generally, I don't bring music to a race. This time I was going to listen to tunes on the way back after the turn around. However, I put them on between mile 3 and 4 and took off running. My pace increased substantially. There were some puddles on the course and in going around one of the big ones on the way back I soaked my socks and shoes. Blah!
I didn't wear a watch so I had no idea how fast I was going. I did know that I was exhausted on the second half. The tank was emptied early. The wind was making my eyes water, and I may have had red eye. I've had a lot of eye allergies lately. Sometimes when I run in the Savannah my eyes get bloodshot, and I don't know until I've stopped at the bathroom. Then I realize why people I've passed look at me funny. The second half of the race was a struggle to run happy.
Two awesome parts of the course were when a little boy ran to meet his father at mile 11.5, and the song that came on when I saw the finish line. The dad picked up his son while he was running, and the whole family, including mom, had smiles on their faces. It encouraged me on the course. So cute and special. It reminded me of when my girlios ran me in for my first marathon. When I saw the finish line, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" came on. No explanation needed.
I finished with a clock time of 2:18:36 and an official time of 2:17:05. I'll admit I was a little disappointed. I worked hard. My body hurt. I tried. Looking today, I was 20th in my division. For me, that's decent. I left it all on the course, and today my knee is still angry. It's also a good baseline for the Wisconsin Half next month.
Here's the group after pic, including Alyssa, who was doing 20 that day. They went off to lunch (super jealous), and I came home to return to my world of studying, laundry, dishes, groceries and girlios with a half marathon under my belt. And homemade mac-n-cheese, thanks to hubs.