Race Report: Boulder Backroads Spring Half Marathon

This race was not all that I hoped it would be… In my mind it was going to be a fantastic race, my legs would be a strong and fast, I would put together a wonderful day, and it would leave me satisfied, feeling confident that I could run 13.1 miles at a pace well below that which I hope to hold in just a few weeks during the Providence marathon. But this never happened. Instead…

I warmed up and felt nothing but cold, cold, cold! Why are my house and the Boulder reservoir 5 miles and eight climate zones apart?!? My outfit seemed appropriate when I got dressed at home but when I got out of my car at the Res, my teeth were chattering, and this continued for 1-2 miles… Once the numbness wore off and I felt my body, I noted that it felt just average. A lot of my average and even horrible warm ups end up as great, fantastic runs, so I wasn’t worried. I wound down my warm up at 4.26 miles, although Coach Liz told me to warm up for 5 miles. I had run out of time.

The race started… I tried to avoid snaking around too much during the first mile. It’s such a waste of energy, but so tempting! I settled into a pace and felt good for the first 3 miles, but between miles 3-4 I noticed my breathing was getting really labored. This was not right. I was only running a 8:45-9ish minute pace… what was the dilio? I tried to slow down but my legs were like zombies, locked into this pace, moving forward mindlessly… I made a conscious effort to slow down around mile 5 or so when I still was breathing stupidly hard and also noticing the intermittent pain I get in my butt/piriformis was really screaming at me. Why today!? Why now? At the turnaround I felt certain things would change, as now the wind would be at my back. This was not to be, however. It felt like no matter which way the course went, the wind was in my face. And try as I might to tuck in behind a tall person, it didn’t seem to do much good. My legs had bought a one way ticket to Slow Town. Now I wasn’t really breathing hard anymore, but I just didn’t have that extra gear. Around mile 10 I was getting sick of myself and my lackluster performance and I told myself “Get it together and run like you know how to run.” So I picked it up a few notches, but according to my Garmin I couldn’t make my engine go faster than about an 8:30 pace. I was tempted to just turn my Garmin off but I feared that I would later want the data on my splits and wish I had left it on. At this point, I haven’t bothered to review my mile splits, so I think it would have been better to just shut it off because it was annoying me.

The highlight of the race was during the last mile. From about 100 meters away, I could see a taller person standing just like Dan stands and a smaller person, together, holding neon signs. It couldn’t be anyone other than Dan and my friend Lauren!! I waved hesitantly, and they waved back enthusiastically. I waved bigger and harder, and they in turn began shouting my name and waving neon, glitter signs that read “Pam! Go Pam” with glee. How wonderful it was to experience this outpouring love and signage!!! Their signs and cheering helped me give a final push for the last quarter mile to the finish chute. I finished in a time of 1:54:06, not my best time and not much of a confidence boost, and I still had a little over 2 miles to run so I could get in my 20 mile run. Lauren, my dear friend, who doesn’t really run, ran about .25 miles of it with me, (Yay, Lauren!!! You and your little red shoes!!!). Dan was a trooper, and was willing to keep on chugging, despite the fact he was wearing jeans and a pea coat. He kept me company for all but the last .5 miles of my cool down, which was so awesome because I really really didn’t want to do it at all.

So the good part is I got in my 20 miler, and I had two awesome cheerleaders, just for me! The other good part is Coach Liz thinks in the scheme of things, my training is progressing just fine and this race is not the be all end all, so I need not give up on my 3:40 marathon goal. The final good part is after the race we came home and made tacos with ground bison. My question is, do you set up a taco bar in your kitchen every so often? Because if you don’t, you should. It so EASY and GOOD. Don’t forget avocados.

One thought on “Race Report: Boulder Backroads Spring Half Marathon

  1. Ralph Dosser says:

    For what it’s worth your mediocre run was better than some people’s best run ever. And to have people you love cheering you on at the end like that – it must have been like fireworks in the sky of your soul.Great post.

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