My slice of humble pie

July 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The first half of the Queens Half Marathon was mental torture, and the second half was physical torture. So overall, it sucked.

It was obscenely hot already when I left the house at 5:30 on Saturday morning. A few Team R2R members met before the start, and we were all sweating just as we stood in our corral waiting to begin. We struggled as we tried to get going. Sara, Tricia and I decided to take a bathroom break after the first mile – the pre-race lines had been way too long. But these lines were too long too. We waited 6 or 7 minutes – which felt like 6 or 7 hours – until we realized that there was almost no one left on the course behind us. So we gave up on the bathroom line and forged ahead.

I mean, really forged ahead. I became obsessed with not being in the back of the group. I ran too fast for my own good, especially on a super hot day. I was angry at the people who cheered for us as we passed by because it felt condescending to me (which, of course, it wasn’t). I kept trying to tell myself that it’s not how far back you are, it’s just whether you finish, but my body refused to believe my mind. I felt embarrassed and angry and, especially, hypocritical. Who do I think I am? Shouldn’t I be able to practice what I preach?

By mile 7 I was moving pretty well and had made up some time. I was happy because I was passing people, and sad that that made me happy. That’s not the spirit at all.

And then my foot started to ache, and, at the same time, the course changed from shady park terrain to tree-free blazing-sunshine next-to-the-highway terrain. It was nearly 9 am by that point, so the sun was getting high in the sky. It’s impossible to describe how hot it was, and combined with my foot – it was almost too much. My mantra became “please just get me to the end. Please just let this be over.” It was all I could do to just put one foot in front of the other. I walked a little bit, but for the most part I ran, soley because I needed to be done fast as possible.

Luckily, I caught up with Tricia during mile 12, and we were able to run those last two miles together. I don’t think I could have done it alone. The course became a bit more comfortable, but we were already so exhausted at that point, and my foot hurt so much, that it didn’t really matter. We just dragged ourselves along until we finally, finally, finally reached the end. We drank 400 glasses of water and hopped in the car as fast as we could, and blasted the air conditioning the whole way back into the city.

I’m disappointed in myself. Not because of my finishing time – which, for the record, was 2:32 – but because I even cared about the time. Because I felt embarrassed to be at the back. Because I couldn’t just accept that it’s fine to just do my best. It’s one thing to want to improve, and it’s another entirely to beat yourself down for having a bad day. So, shame on me.

Moving on.

In happier news, today is my vegaversary! It was a year ago today that I quit meat. And it has been a really, really great year. More on that tomorrow.

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4 Comments »

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  1. Dude! You finished over a half hour before me! You were NOT in the back! But I indeed struggled with the same issues during this race. I knew I just couldn’t push myself any harder without risking injury or sickness.

  2. it was just a really, really crappy race 😦

  3. Great post to put things in perspective. I have a half marathon coming up in a few weeks that i’m undertrained for and I’m thinking my experience may be like this. I really needed this post to remind me to have the right perspective and make the most out of what I can do that day…and try to enjoy myself. Thanks again!

  4. Thanks, Mike! And I’m running the Bronx Half on Sunday and I’m definitely going to try to go into it with a much better attitude. Good luck with your race – let us know how it goes!


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