Why My 6th Half Marathon Was the Best and Worst Run of My Life

Alright.

It’s been two weeks, I think it’s time to talk about it.

Back in April I wrote a blog post telling you guys I was training for my sixth half marathon and that Caitlyn (my running buddy) and I set our first time goal. Our fastest time for finishing a half marathon was two hours and 20 minutes, and this time around we wanted to finish in two hours and 15 minutes.

May 21st rolled around and we found ourselves at the starting line and eventually crossing the finish line BUT…it was the worst run I’ve ever been on, but the lesson I learned from it is why it was also the best race of my life.

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Here’s a rare photo of me smiling out on the course, clearly it was before I thought I was going to die.

We didn’t finish in two hours and 15 minutes, but we did finish in two hours and 18 minutes which means we still broke a personal record, just not the one that we wanted. On the bright side, our splits were pretty impressive compared to our other races. Our first two miles were under 10 minutes and for the rest of the race we remained pretty consistent, staying between 10:06 and 10:30. So that’s not exactly why it was a flop. 

Let me start off by saying, I didn’t train properly for this race and man my body was not very forgiving out there on the course! I’m typically really strict with myself when it comes to a training schedule but this time around I had more on my plate than I could balance. Between my wisdom teeth removal, finishing the last month of my college career, graduation and the attention required for car shopping and moving to another state…well let’s just say my runs were very far apart and not very long at all. In fact, the farthest I ran in my training was 7 miles, which isn’t very close to running 13.1 miles.

During the first two miles, all I could think about was how long this race was going to be. I knew I would finish, but I also knew I wasn’t going to finish feeling strong. I ended up being right, but that mindset didn’t provide any kind of help for me.

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By mile five my ankles and feet were starting to hurt, which for me is a really bad sign considering that pain doesn’t kick in until usually mile 10. As soon as I noticed the pain I thought “Well aren’t we in quite the pickle?” And I’m allergic to pickles, so it didn’t end well.

Nonetheless I kept running as fast as my body would let me and while it was tough, I didn’t get a taste of just how impossible finishing seemed until mile 10.

It was a downhill slope and I crashed to the bottom.

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I think Caitlyn was happy enough for the both of us when I started crashing!

Usually Caitlyn hits a wall at mile 10 and I cheer her on for the remaining 3.1 miles to the finish line, but the roles reversed this time. She had the big smile on her face and I had the scowl.

My entire body hurt and with every step I took I felt the urge to vomit growing stronger. I was angry and incredibly disappointed with myself for not following through with my training plan. For the last three miles I was telling myself I could do this on one step, and that I couldn’t with the next.

I’d like to say crossing the finish line put a smile on my face, but it didn’t. It only made me more annoyed because I realized I didn’t break the PR I wanted and I knew it was my own fault.

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Can you tell I was dying and Caitlyn was fine?

What made this even more difficult to swallow was everyone waiting for us at the finish line. Usually the only person waiting for me is my dad, but, two of my friends and my boyfriend were there this time as well.

There’s something more unsettling about failing in front of other people as opposed to failing when no one’s watching. I’m embarrassed to say it, but this gave me even more of an attitude and made me feel annoyed that they were there.

I just want to make this point so we all understand how unreasonable I was being. These are people that have never made me feel that I needed to impress them. They have always accepted me at exactly where I was. Did any of them care that we finished in 2 hours and 18 minutes? Obviously not. They were just excited to be there supporting us and thought we were total badasses.

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Look at my friends not caring that I didn’t run as fast as I said I was going to!running a half marathon, never-mind six of them!

I was a little snippy with everyone for a while. This is awful, but I didn’t even thank them for coming until 20 minutes after crossing the finish line. After we ate I perked up the tiniest bit and was tolerable to be around again.

Sorry for being a jerk, friends. I love you for showing up on race day and every other day.

I’m still so embarrassed about my time that I’ve put off writing this. But I learned a huge lesson from this last race.

Not every run is going to be a success. They won’t all leave me feeling new again and ready to take on the world. Expecting every run to be better than the last is just setting myself up for failure at some point. Instead, you should expect to always show up and work your absolute hardest and give it your all. Life happens and it can get in the way of training.

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Check out that sweet medal!

Running is hard sometimes, and so is life. What I experienced during this race was incredibly human. I did the best I could at that point and I still finished with a PR.

It’s necessary to be disappointed in ourselves sometimes. You learn an incredibly important lesson from it and it’ll make you work even harder the next time around. So don’t be afraid to fail, okay?

Get out there and give it your all. No matter if you fail or succeed, you’ll grow either way. That’s what life’s about. Don’t forget that.

Well that’s all I’ve got for you today! Stay connected with me on Twitter and Instagram so you can watch me win and fail, sometimes with grace and sometimes without it.

Talk to you guys soon!

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The Superhero Half Marathon

If you told me when I was in high school, or even four years ago for that matter, that I would become obsessed with running and that I’d run a half marathon I would literally laugh in your face and call you crazy and proceed to skip gym class. I am so uncoordinated and off-balanced I almost have no business running, but I do it anyway.

Here I am though with not one but five half marathons under my belt, all of which I’ve ran in a year and a half time span which is super crazy and I’m really proud of.

What’s even more exciting than that is I’m doing it all over again for a sixth time! Caitlyn and I are running Morristown’s Superhero Half Marathon on May 21st. Seriously, we love you Morristown and you’re our favorite place to run. This is an exciting one because it’s my last race in New Jersey before I finally move to Florida (another blog post for another time!). 10294484_1000010790063606_1491567970831890772_n

This is my last race with Caitlyn for a while. Probably until we run our first full marathon during Disney’s marathon weekend in 2019, so we’re going all out for this one. We’ll be sporting super cute and sassy Popflex outfits and for the first time ever we’re setting a time goal! We finished out last half marathon in two hours and 20 minutes. This time around we want to get to the finish line in two hours and 15 minutes. All we have to do is hold about 10:15 pace per mile which sounds like no big deal right?

Wrong! Here’s why:

Race day is less than five weeks away and I’ve hardly trained aside from my usual three to four mile runs three to four times a week. Bad Kerry.

There have been some setbacks in the training period this time around.

  1. I’m in my last semester of college (!) and that alone has been the biggest time sucker for various reasons that make my head spin.
  2. I had my wisdom teeth removed! It was tragic and awful and kept me from running for two and a half weeks. I have no pain tolerance and have never had any kind of procedure/surgery before so I pulled out all the theatrics for the occasion

I’m sharing this with you for accountability purposes of course. I can’t skimp out on trying when I’m telling you all my goal.

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The face of a runner that held race-day pace for 5 miles!

Since race day is rapidly approaching I added an awesome countdown on my side bar so we can count down together! Feel free to message me something like “Hey, enough of the Cadbury chocolate! You have 10 days until race day!” or “Run like your student loans are chasing you!” or “If you hit your time goal I’ll buy you Hamilton tickets!” at your leisure.

I especially like that last one. While I’m out there running like my life depends on it, someone please make that happen.

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