Monday, March 28, 2016

Race Report: Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon 2016

(I mean to finish writing this and post it last week, but then I went to a funeral and a wedding - more on those soon - and now this race feels like a million years ago. Still, I'll do my best to write a report, because I like looking back on them and also old habits die hard.)

On Sunday, March 20th, I ran the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon for the fourth year in a row. And for the fourth year in a row, my training was abysmal. Just now, I skimmed my previous recaps (see?!) and this seems to be my pattern. Sign up for the race, become overwhelmed by life, forget to train, and spend the weeks leading up to the event feeling guilty, unprepared, annoyed at myself, and swearing that this race will be my last one ever.

Then I run the race, it's not nearly as bad as I feared, and I promise that next year I'll actually train, run an amazing race, and smash my PR. Thus the cycle continues.

This year, a few things were working against me. I've now been working an office job for just over one year, and sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week has definitely had a negative impact on my workout routine. I reserve my early morning, pre-work hours for writing, which means I have to exercise after the workday ends, which only happens about 50% of the time. Basically, fitness has become a necessity, whereas running used to be one of my main hobbies. I'm comfortable with this shift, except for when I'm standing at the start line in the cold rain at 6:30 in the morning, staring down 13.1 miles.

All of which to say: it really wasn't that bad. I forgot to charge my Garmin, so I ran by how I felt rather than time, and this was perhaps the best accident I could have made. I stayed with my running buddy Katie for the first three miles, but then she pulled ahead and we promised to count all the dogs on the sidelines (but didn't decide where to meet after the race, which was perhaps my worst accident.) (Also, I counted 37 dogs - an excellent turn out, especially in the rain!) At around mile six, I felt someone grab my butt and turned around indignantly, only to find my husband. He'd worked an overnight shift the night before and got to the race a few minutes late, so I hadn't seen him before we started running. Nathan was also running an easy race, so we stuck together until about mile 10. Then he pulled away and I finished on my own. During training, I'd run two 10-milers, but nothing beyond that, and my body knew it. Miles 11 to 13.1 were pretty ugly, but I got it done and crossed the line in 2:06:12, with an average pace of 9:38. My slowest time on this particular course, but not my slowest time ever. I'll take it.

As for lessons learned: none, really, considering I keep making the same mistakes. I'll probably make them again next year - stay tuned to find out! 

And, just in case you're curious, previous race reports here:

Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon 2015
Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon 2014
Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon 2013