This report is one of three in a series that I should call, “Why we don’t race three weekends in a row”.
Earlier in the year I kept seeing discounted race invites in my email. So I kept signing up. Last night, I hit the first of three consecutive weekend races: The Howloween 1/2.
4 pm: I drove over to the Provo Towne Center Mall parking lot and found a small cluster of people. This would be a small race. Only two hours earlier, I drove my family around part of the course and noticed there were no aid stations anywhere to be seen. I mentioned this to Wendy and some of my concern.
5:45 pm: Went for a 1/2 mile, slow jog, to get a little warmed up. There was only one other guy on the road, warming up- in a Where’s Waldo outfit. Halloween.
6 pm + miles 1-3: We line up and receive an explanation for why money won’t be awarded after the race- the race director’s bank account was charged with fraudulent expenses and he had to work for hours, today, to get it resolved. A countdown begins at 10 and then we are off. I immediately throw out anything I’ve learned over the last year and try to keep a 0:7:40 pace for a few miles. Of course this will backfire. But I ignore wisdom and go for it. Why not PR? (The answer is upcoming.)
Miles 4-7: It was actually kind of fun running down Geneva and toward my house. I felt a bit comforted, knowing every inch of this road, because it was getting dark. When we turned down 1390 North, there was a slight elevation drop, plus I could actually see my family up ahead. So I yelled out “Roxie! Reagan! Lucy!” Immediately I heard some shrieks and my kids started cheering. It was really cute. Chris Tubbs was with my family and I think he asked me how I felt. I can’t remember what I said, but it was typical of Chris/Nathan banter. It would be the highlight of my run. My wife cheered me off and I was gone. Running by the girls’ school and our church was fun. It’s not often you get to race through your neighborhood.
As I ran down Lakeshore, I thought of the many times that I’ve passed through the area on a run. It’s very comforting to be familiar with an area when racing (for me). It feels like there won’t be any surprises and that you’ve already proven that this is doable. At some point, I overheard a couple of guys wondering where they would turn next. I told them that the light at the end of the road was their turn (North Boat Harbor Drive). I’ve run on this stretch hundreds of times.
It was somewhere around this time that I wished I’d brought a light or worn a glowstick. It was very dark and it was incumbent upon the runners to stay safe. Then we turned left onto Center Street. Somewhere on this mile I’d started running with two other guys. One was dressed in a Kiss outfit (his name was Will). He complained that his makeup was running (should have been funny at the time, but I don’t think that either of us got his unintended joke.) He had a friend with him. For the next few miles we would take turns leading and pushing. I imagine that this is sort of what it’s like being an elite racer- except that you’re running much, much faster and, preferably, sans-Kiss costume.
I forgot to mention a critical mistake. At some point down by the lake’s entrance, I hit up an aid station for a Gu-like product. It was lemony and tasted ok, but would possibly prove my undoing (along with going out too fast for the first few miles.)
Miles 8-10: I am strong. I am fast. I feel fine. I am still running with my friends.
Miles 11-13.1: Hmm…my stomach hurts a bit. I’ll just keep pushing. Huh. I have no energy. I’ll keep pushing. It’ll work itself out. (It won’t.)
I crashed at mile 11.5. Just flat out fell apart. The wheels came off. The wings ripped off. Ran out of gas. Fell of a cliff- whatever.
From here on, it was all about just keeping my feel moving. I kept thinking, over and over, that this was a 1/2 marathon and nothing to fall apart over. But I was. I watched as my pace went from a 0:7:50, down to a 0:9:30 as I crawled across the finish. I even walked for a few seconds. It was like I’d never trained for this (or run St George only weeks earlier.)
I gratefully crossed the finish and immediately started to feel worse. As I drove home, I could feel things going bad. My stomach hurt. My brain was fried. When I finally reached home, Wendy and I ordered some food from Wingnutz (one of my favs) and then Wendy left to go pick it up.
At some point I fed Jackson. At another point I ended up in the bathroom, on the floor, pleading for the sweet, sweet release of death. It was bad.
I ended up falling asleep in my bedroom, not touching the food that Wendy brought home. It was bad.
I don’t know what went wrong. Was it that Gu-like substance that I didn’t take with water (a no-no)? Was it just a bad race? But it really wasn’t horrible, because I ended up with a third fastest time in the 1/2 marathon. I don’t know. I just want to put it behind me, concentrate on my next race (an uphill 10k) and get ready for the SaltAir 1/2 in two weeks. Hopefully I can be smarter in the future.