Friday, May 30, 2014

Fitness Fridays: Being Okay with a Bad Race

Race Day.

I woke up so excited on my third day in Vermont (this past Sunday), it was finally race day!

I typically run on an empty stomach early in the morning, so I woke up super early in the hopes that I could eat some breakfast and metabolize the bulk of it before the race started.

The KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Relay had what I would call a late start time. 8:00am may sound early, but when you figure that most of the runners were running marathons, it really should have started at 7. Which also would have been better for my stomach!

But I didn’t plan the race. So I tried for an early breakfast – which would later come back and bite me in the booty.

I dressed for the race:

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and called my running coaches:

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Who were both still in bed – lazy bums!

I stretched. Drank water. And peed like a million times. I listened to music to pump me up. My knee felt great – I was SO ready for this race!

I met the rest of the Cabot Fit Team down in the lobby for pictures and last minute advice.

With the start time approaching, I made my way down to the start line to find my corral.

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I put myself in the 9:00 minute mile, knowing that I could slow down if my knee started feeling wonky and still keep my overall goal within reach.

The corral quickly started to fill up:

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This was a big race!

Before I knew it the gun went off and it was time to run! One of our Cabot Fit Teammates had warned us all about the beginning. You could very easily get swept up with the crowd, and I’m now kicking myself for not sticking right with the pacer.

Because that’s exactly what happened. I was carried along with the folks around me, and by the half mile mark I glanced at my watch and I was running a 8:15 pace. WOAH Marlow! SLOW DOWN!

I panicked a tiny bit, knowing that I most likely would lose steam. My training pace is right around 9:50. Just before the first mile mark, I felt a stab in my right side. It quickly spread across my front abdominal muscles. I had a stich that would last for my entire leg of the race! Darn that breakfast!!

I gripped my side. I shoved my fist down and over the cramp to try to loosen it up. I put more weight on my left foot. I raised my arms. I cradled my stomach. I took deep breaths. I tried to ignore it. I took 20 second walking breaks. I slowed my pace down to 10:30.

Nothing worked.

As you can tell from this race photo:


I was miserable.

Around the 2.5 mile mark I went to a dark place. I wasn’t even close to my goal time and I was in serious pain. My leg of the race was only a 5k – I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I felt defeated, and worse, I felt like I was letting my team down.

And then I passed two sisters, one in her teens and one around 7 years old, who had been run/walking the entire race. They were laughing with each other during their walk break. They weren’t focused on times or paces – they were just having fun.

So I gave myself a pep talk. I said, “Self, you are IN Vermont, A truly beautiful place. And only by the grace of God did you even become a runner. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Enjoy the scenery. Smile at your fellow runners. Get over it.”

And I did. I slowed my pace again, and thought about the incredible fresh air. I sent little prayers up to my teammates running the marathon, praying that I had taken ALL the bad running mojo into my side stich. I high-fived kids on the sidelines. I enjoyed the course.

BUT I was so excited when I saw my teammate waiting for my pass-off. Katie smiled, took the blue bracelet that we had to hand off at each pass:

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and started her leg. I was finished.

38 minutes and 10 seconds. Definitely not even CLOSE to my 5K PR. In fact, my first race of the season was a full 10 minutes LESS. But you know what, it wasn’t my worst.

And at the end of the day. I still ran 3.3 miles.

5 years ago, I couldn’t even run around the block!

So while my racing brain views the Vermont race as a let down, my heart and soul knows that it was a triumph.

I could have walked that whole darn thing and I still would have been a winner. I have to look at the whole picture. I didn’t give up. I didn’t quit and sit on the sidelines. I have come so far in my journey to become a healthier person.

That’s what the Cabot Fit Team is about. It’s not about being the best. It’s about trying. It’s about putting fitness as a priority in your life, and finding the balance. It’s about doing your best.

After I finished the race, I was able to cheer on my teammates throughout the race course. We spent time at Mile 15 and Mile 26. I have never had so much fun!

Cheering and Volunteering at races is just as fun as running to me. I LOVE it! And when I saw our teammates rounding the corner at Mile 26, I was right there with them!

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That’s the other thing that I LOVE about the Cabot Fit TEAM. We all cheered each other on, and helped build each other up. Strong women rooting for each other – It’s amazing.

The sweetest moment at Mile 26 was watching a mother running the marathon stop, lift her 4 year old daughter up and over the barricade. Then, holding hands, the two ran towards the Finish Line.

Yeah, y’all know I teared up!

So while my leg wasn’t the best, I ended the day feeling so PROUD of our entire team. We did it! We ran the race. But even more, we all do IT every single day. We live incredibly busy lives with kids, family, pets, jobs, and we still find time for exercise. We are everyday athletes.

Want to read more about the race? Read more race recaps from my teammates:

Katie from Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Kelly from Kelly the Culinarian

Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food

As my other teammates write their recaps, I’ll post them for you guys.

On Monday, we’ll talk about this epic glutening:

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