YOU GUYS. It’s been a while. How are you? Tell me later, we need to talk about me now.
Here’s the deal: I went to Taupo a couple of weekends ago and ran a half marathon. I haven’t told you all about it yet because I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about it, rather than hitting caps lock and using all the swear words I know.
I wanted to run Taupo again because it had been my very first half marathon, two years ago, and since it was about to become number 13 too, it couldn’t have been that bad the first time. You see, there is some logic in all of this.
So I got on the road for four and a half hours on Saturday afternoon, ran the half on Sunday morning and got back to Auckland on Sunday afternoon. In between those two car trips, I had all the emotions.
On one hand, I ran a new personal best (2:02:31). On the other hand, I learned that, if you’re an idiot like me, a personal best isn’t the best result and can actually leave you pretty pissed off. But also happy, because you know, it’s still a personal best. But not the personal best you wanted, damn it. But yay, shiny new PB! But sucks, not the goal PB. You see the mess in my head? Do you get why I waited over a week to talk about this? So many feelings! So much to bitch about!
It’s all my fault, really (as usual). I kind of set myself up for that disappointment. My knee still occasionally hurts, I knew from experience that the course wasn’t exactly a fast one and I am at the lowest point of my physical fitness since I started this whole running deal (courtesy of an injury, a fair bit of laziness and a giant bucket of stress lately). This is also the fourth half marathon I ran this year and that I’ve signed up for within two weeks of race day which, as I’ve mentioned before, isn’t exactly something I’d recommend.
None of those things are the real problem, though. I can live with being unfit and stressed – I can fix unfit and stressed. But I can’t fix stupid. Clearly.
This sort of stupidity, for example, involves telling everyone – and myself – that I’m just going to take it easy, while, at the same time, going onto an online pace calculator and writing down a goal time (1:58:59 please and thank you) to get an idea of how fast I’ll have to run to get a sub-2h. You know, just in case.
But dreams are free and all of that. The problem really only started being a problem when, that Sunday morning, while in the car on my way to the start line, I decided to get a pen out and write those goal times on my arm. If you asked me to pinpoint the precise second when things turned to shit, that would have been it. Writing those times on my arm meant a change of attitude. I was admitting to myself (and to whoever looked at my arm wondering what the hell that was) that I wasn’t running for fun but with a goal in mind. A goal I was obviously not prepared to reach.
BUT YOU GUYS. I came close. So god damn close it ended up being my best half marathon time so far (only by one minute but I’ll take it). The fact that I came so close when I’m this unfit should be enough to make me happy. So why the hell was I so disappointed when I crossed that finish line?
I’ve given this a bit of thought over the last few days and there’s only one logical explanation: I’m an idiot.
The run itself actually went pretty well, for the most part. I ran my fastest 5km, my fastest 10km and my fastest 15km, all a few seconds faster than the times written on my arm. Then, at 18km, it all turned to crap. My ITB pain made an extraordinary appearance and forced me to slow all the way down to walking pace. I had a friend waiting for me at the finish line with a chocolate donut and not even trying to bribe myself with it made me keep going so that should give you an idea of how painful it was.
I walked a few hundred meters but kept my lifelong decision to never walk across a finish line so made sure to run that final bit. And then I stopped and, for the first time, I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. So I was both.
The good news is that I’m now one minute closer to that sub-2h so all I have to do is actually get off my ass and train a bit and maybe try to aim for a half marathon that isn’t happening in just a couple of weeks. You know, the way smart people do things. I should probably try that.
August 12, 2013 at 11:55 pm
Well, now you clearly know what to do… (maybe have a plan? train?) Congratulations on the PB by the way! And 13 half marathons in two years…it boggles the mind. How do you train for them all?
August 13, 2013 at 12:43 am
Thanks, Grace! I don’t… which is part of the whole problem. Still love doing them, even if they infuriate me to no end, like this one. 😉
August 13, 2013 at 1:40 am
PS Now I must know — what is going on with your shorts? Are you wearing one pair, or two?
August 13, 2013 at 10:39 am
Haha I think it was my Spibelt pulling them up. It’s one pair of shorts but has sort of a top and bottom bit. Weird, I know.
August 13, 2013 at 5:58 am
I told you, you should have stayed with me! With 1:49:21 a minute short of my PB.
Was a great day in Taupo and well done on your PB.
August 13, 2013 at 10:32 am
You say that as if there is ever any chance of me keeping up with you! You’re insane!
August 13, 2013 at 6:39 am
Well done on your PB – that’s awesome! Forget the sub-2 bit, I’m sure that’s got something to do with half marathon #13, and with training you’ll smash 2 hours for #14! Crossing my fingers for your naughty ITB recovering quickly – how dare it play up during a race!
I’d love to do this one next year – how was the course?
August 13, 2013 at 10:35 am
Thank you Sherry! 🙂 It’s a nice course but the first 10km can get a bit boring (just along the main road, no turns). Then you run the second half along the lakefront and that’s a bit more interesting – although they have paved it since the time I had last run it two years ago. It’s got a very short but sharp hill right at the end but otherwise it’s fine. 🙂
August 13, 2013 at 8:59 am
I love your blog. So fun, which is what (I think) running should be all about. I was the same with my last half, got a PB but still wasn’t happy enough so I fully relate to this one. I too am trying to get that sub 2 – we’ll get there!
August 13, 2013 at 10:37 am
Oh thanks Kelly! And yes! Yes we will! 😀
August 13, 2013 at 9:10 am
excellent update SGG. Training soon?
August 13, 2013 at 10:37 am
chur steven! Yes. Are you heading out this Saturday morning? Keen to join if you are!
August 15, 2013 at 4:02 am
Yup sgg I am. Moving to fb to organise
August 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm
Great blog, I love the way you put it all out there. Congrats on a PB – that sub-2hr is just around the corner. I had an ITB injury a few years back and after much frustration I took several months off and it’s never come back. Have you thought about seeing a podiatrist – maybe orthotics might help even if they’re not trendy with the minimalist crowd at the moment. Or take if off-road – I get injured far less now that I do my big runs on trails.
August 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm
Thanks Andrew! Yeah, you’re right. I’ve been pretty good at sticking with the trails but, every now and then, go back to the road and get reminded of why that’s a mistake. Ugh.
August 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm
Oh I can absolutely relate to your feelings. I had all the same ones at the Gold Coast Marathon in July, although I got nowhere near a PB. I was sideswiped by a white tail spider bite and antibiotic treatment and things fell apart in the latter part of the race. I called myself all sorts of names and was so disappointed, but the lesson was that sometimes things do fall apart and we have to look at the good bits! Well done on your PB, and rehab that ITB!
August 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm
Ouch, a spider bite! That has to have been frustrating!
Thank you! 🙂
August 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm
Hahaha. Damn runners, we’re never satisfied. But I suppose that is one (of many) things that keeps us lacing up our shoes every morning.
At least you’ve admitted the problem (that’s the first step, right?), and know what you have to do to fix it. I strongly recommend a training plan. It’s one of the best things I’ve done during times when other parts of my life felt like they were spinning out of control. And you’re so close! I can almost taste that sub-2 for you!!!
August 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm
Yep, I’ll try to stick to a training plan next time! It totally sounds like something OCD-me would do too so I’m not sure why I’ve failed at it so many times before. Thank you 🙂
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