When we last left, I had just finished race two, the US Air Force 10K, of the weekend. Now I need to get ready for the third and final race.
I quickly make my way to the baggage claim to pick-up my half marathon badge and shirt. I wave off the photographers because I lack the time for that. I hurry to get to baggage check. I hurried so much that I actually passed up the tents. DOH! I head back and pick-up my bag. I make the quick change and recheck the bag in the new number.
Heading Out Finally,
By the time I made my change and got back out, the half had been started 10 minutes. I head back out and cross the start line for round three. It looks like I just made it and catch the crowd rather quickly.
I Didn’t Think This Through
I did reach the crowd rather quickly keeping a 11:30 min./mile pace. I had calculated that I might be late starting and was mentally prepared for that issue. What I had not calculated was the walkers are in the back. A late start meant weaving through the crowd. These were individuals that did what they should and started in the back. They were there to enjoy their race and weren’t accustomed to having “faster” racers passing them. The start stop of working through the crowd took a mental toll on me. By mile 5 I was tired from the other races and bike commute, my mental status was beat, and I decided to walk.
This is new for me.
I have walked for a short distance in other races but I have never walked for any distance in a race before. This was my first time in the back of the pack. I will admit the decision was right for me on that day but I really struggled with the decision. Even though I knew better, I really struggled with feelings of failure for walking. Please understand, I was not judging anyone else. I was ONLY judging me. I felt like I should or could have pushed harder and kept running. I felt inadequate for “giving up” and taking it easy. This really plagued me mentally every time I passed a spectator who was cheering us on. The shouts of “looking good” and “finish strong” were becoming taunts inside my twisted mind.
The Mental Battle Continues
I can’t tell you exactly how many races I have run at this point. I can tell you, this is the first time I have seriously considered quitting. That thought crossed my mind multiple times in the back half of this race. The struggle of walking and fatigue played havoc inside my mind. I wanted to just quit. I couldn’t do that though.
I dug deep and concentrated on my little buddy Sterling. He is the young man who I dedicate my running and biking too. we connected through I Run 4 online. He is such a blessing to me and I could not let him down. I must continue.
The Foreign Gel
I had decided to just take whatever gel they served in the race. That was a bad choice. It was also one I knew better but wanted to go light. I still regret that choice. They were serving Cliff Shots gel. I had switched to Honey Stinger gels in the beginning of 2014. I took the gel and ate it. It was at that moment I realized that just how much I loved my new gels. The Cliff gel was just so thick and did not go down as well. I really wanted my ginsting.
The Finish is Here
As I come to the final stretch I kick it in gear and run in to finish strong. This race completes my US Air Force race weekend. I get my final medal and head to the food tent to celebrate with pizza and chocolate milk. Oh boy, that drink will be so wonderful. I have worked hard and deserve, no need, that recovery drink with the scientifically tested 4-1 carbs to protein ratio. My legs are screaming for that drink. NO CHOCOLATE MILK!!! You can’t be serious. I don’t want Gatorade G2. I want my chocolate milk.
What have you done when your race didn’t have your go to recovery drink?