So a few weeks back (on August 3, to be exact), I wrote about how I had run a mere 7 miles and was upset because the half marathon in Providence was just a few weeks away. That Sunday, I got a puppy, and then I struggled to CrossFit or run, because I was getting up 3-4 times a night to take my little girl outside. Then the following weekend, I ran a mere 8 miles and struggled, and then felt more nervous than ever about doing the race.
The week leading up to the race was great. Maeby (my lovely little pup; good for you if you know the show from which I stole this name) was only getting up once a night and I CrossFitted (yes, it’s a verb) four times that week, and took a couple of rest days before the race since my left knee was bothering me.
So, any doubts I had about doing the race, I put aside. The turning point for these doubts actually took place at CrossFit, when one of the guys there told me (as we passed each other during the second mile we had to run for that WOD), “You are so doing that half marathon.” He made me feel like I could and should do it, and that encouragement was just what I needed.
Anyway, rambling aside…the race went well. Surprisingly well.
One of my goals was to get a PR for the course. I knew getting a PR and thus getting sub-2:00 (still in shock over this) wasn’t going to happen, but I thought maybe I’d do better than last year.
My ultimate goal, however, was a bit more daunting for me. I’m super competitive and especially tough on myself. When I struggled in Cheshire back in April, I beat myself up over it for weeks. I knew I could do better and the whole race seemed to drag on and was absolutely miserable. I might’ve PRed that race but it didn’t really matter because I felt crappy the whole time.
In Providence, I started off feeling good, but the hills took a toll on me and I began fatiguing fairly early on. I actually forgot how difficult this course was compared to some of the other races I’ve done; by no means is it awful but there are definitely some hills (especially that last one at the end, just before you get to the finish line…so hard!). When I think about it, there’s no way that I would’ve been able to get sub-2:00 in Brooklyn if the course was like this one; no matter how good I felt that day, this course was far more difficult. I had to walk some parts (and for the first time ever, didn’t beat myself up for it) and there was actually a point where I was enjoying myself so much I thought about just walking the rest of the course (which I obviously didn’t, because again…I’m too competitive). Anyway, the end result was as follows:
No PR and I walked more than I have in any other half (and more than I should have because honestly, I probably could’ve run the entire thing, maybe minus those hills). But for the first time ever, I didn’t stress about my time, I didn’t even care. I actually enjoyed the race for what it was.
And you know what else? Considering all the walking I did, and the fact that I didn’t run further than 8 miles leading up to the race, I am so happy with my time and with the experience. No stress, I just enjoyed it. And I didn’t feel sad or disappointed or like quitting at any time..and I definitely could’ve finished faster but I. Didn’t. Care.
My mentality was entirely different and thus the experience was entirely different.
So in the end…
My time was about 17 minutes slower than Brooklyn just two months ago (eek), but I finished just over two minutes slower than last year, in 2:14:30. And I’m okay with it. In fact, I’m happy with my time.
In retrospect, I kind of wish I had trained more, but I wasn’t sore the next day (and I attribute a lot of that to my increased strength from CrossFit), and I think this race was really important for me to do because I learned to enjoy the experience and not just make it about PRing or anything like that. With the exception of Brooklyn, this was the first race in which I actually felt good about myself the entire time and didn’t beat myself up about my time or pace even once.
So, while I might’ve been having a lot of doubts as to whether or not I was going to do this race, the extra push from friends and family (and then from myself) really made me reconsider how to approach this race, and I am so, so happy I did. It also brought back the feelings that I kind of forgot about–the feelings associated with long runs and crossing the finish line and running with a bunch of other people.
And so, don’t quote me on this (because again, I’ve been super busy and exhausted and things are only going to get busier), but I think I may do another half in September and possibly October. The running bug might be back.
tl;dr: I’ve been busy and didn’t feel like running the Rock ‘n Roll Providence Half Marathon. But, I ran it anyway, had a great time, and didn’t even do that bad. I think I may have caught the running bug again.