“Everyday you can run with a healthy body is a good day!” –Dr. G
This morning I ran the Shamrock’n 1/2 Marathon and it was pretty awesome, but, many “battles” were over come! First, I have to give a shout out to the race course. While very challenging for a 13.1 it’s appeal falls in the many landmarks and places you run through Sacramento. Here’s part of the course description from the website…“13.1 mile run/walk that starts and finishes at Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats minor league baseball team. Runners pass several iconic landmarks including the historic Tower Bridge, the State Capital, the American River bike trail, Old Sacramento, and the bike trail promenade along Front Street.” Pretty damn cool if you ask me! I’ve lived in Sacramento area since 2009 and this is my first time running this race…so glad I did!
Today I fought hard. I was shooting for a PR (sub 1:35) and had a great plan to do so but it didn’t happen for many reasons. HOWEVER, despite realizing I wasn’t going hit a PR I mentally had to re-adjust my expectations enough to continue to push through. Like Bruce Lee says, “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” I’m glad I aimed higher. I’m glad I have expectations for myself but I am also glad I have perspective (more on this later).
The morning started really great! I saw some familiar faces and some peeps I knew running so although I did not run with them I knew I was in good company! Miles 1-7 were on target I was sticking to my plan. However one thing I did not prepare for was for the heat and humidity to shoot up as it did on the back half of the race. This is where failing to plan really took a tool on my pacing plan. I did not bring enough nutrition with me and by the time I need the aid stations there were only 3 left (5 aid stations in in total on the course and in my opinion not enough). The miles after the 3rd aid station were long and a mental battle. I could have easily started beating up on my self for not preparing enough nutrition; this was all on me because Marni gave me an excellent plan. Plus I’ve raced IM Texas 2x now and know that my body needs way more sodium/electolyte replacement in the heat-humidity than the average bear. For some reason I thought that what I had with me plus course nutrition would have me covered, but nope. Lesson learned. I kept plugging away focusing on the mile that I was “in” and keeping good form. This is where I became so thankful that I took the time to create a playlist (featured at the end of this post) for this race and decided to run with music. It kept me going and cheerful! My theme song for this race was Pitbull & Ne-Yo “Time of Our Lives”
But I still started to fade and the aid stations were not coming fast enough and most the “hills” were on the back half of the course. It was at around mile 9.5 where my playlist stopped..Nooooooo! I stopped for a sec to get it going again and this women ran by me and says “Come on Ironwoman! Keep going! I know you’re fast make me chase you!” She was a God send and although it was more like her pacing me, her energy kept me focused and feeling good. When she pulled away she would continue to wave her hand to encourage me to keep going, keep coming and keep chasing. That IS what running community is about! Helping and supporting each other…I am deeply grateful to her! (we got to hug it out at the finish:) At mile 12 or so I saw my girl Janet cheering me on and telling me “Kick kick! You got this!” I definitely couldn’t stop now. I kept running and turned the corner and I was on my way home. Right before the left turn going into Raley Field Ken and Frida were there cheering me in…such a beautiful homecoming! I came in at 1:38 and 10th AG out of 786!
I have to admit for a while little (and I mean a little) after I finished I was bummed that I didn’t hit a PR. I had a solid race plan and thought that I would be able to execute it. But it wasn’t my day and I was able to shake it off and gain perspective pretty quickly. I didn’t dwell too long on what “could” have been because there was so much more to gained from this race other than a finishing time. Back in January I had some dental issues come up that were quite unexpected. It was painful to experience and really took a toll on my body and training throughout the month. The only time you really appreciate not having a severe toothache is when you have one. Honestly since that time I have been so appreciative of having a non-toothache non-headache and healthy body. I haven’t run an open half-marathon since 2011 so one of my main goals was toeing the line healthy. I have to Thank Marni and Karel of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition for doing just that and making adjustments to my training plan! They took good care and consideration for me. I am so grateful for their patience, understanding, compassion, and support!
The mantra that came to my mind soon after the race was the opening quote “Everyday you can run with a healthy body is a good day!” At the end of the race everyone gets the same finishing medal and 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles. I am glad I have evolved into an athlete that can be dedicated and aim high but also have low attachment to the outcomes. Moreover, I’m glad I have amazing coaches, friends and community, and my hubby and Frida that love me no matter what numbers I post:) I know this sounds silly but so many times I see athletes and people let their self-esteem, self-worth, mood, or the whole day be dictated by a number, that we miss the whole point of competing- demonstrating good health and an amazing body, striving for goals, taking advantage of the opportunity to be out there, because one day we won’t be able to do this AND there are so many people wishing they had the body and health to be out there. That’s why I love the Pitbull & Ne-Yo “Time of Our Lives” song, specifically these lyrics.
“This for anybody going through tough times
Believe me, been there, done that
But everyday above ground is a great day, remember that” (ain’t that the truth?!)
The above came to mind because it’s so important that we not only develop the mental skills to handle during race obstacles but also develop a big picture perceptive post-race that allows us to learn, evaluate, and then move on. Because it’s so easy to feel good about ourselves and our bodies when things go according to plan (in life and sport), but what comes out in your character when things do not go your way despite all your best efforts…do you get down on yourself, judge, blame, make excuses, fall into unhealthy reactive patterns? or do you have compassion and kindness for yourself enough to learn, evaluate, and step back and look at the big picture in life?
Shine on, reach for your peak, and be grateful for another day above ground!
Here are a few pics from today’s race: