Race Recap: River Bank Run
Since the National Half Marathon on March 26, I’ve run a total of less than 20.0 miles thanks in large part to hurting my knee in that race. My longest run in that time was 6.2 miles.
Given that, running a 15.5 mile race today was, perhaps, not my greatest idea. If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you know I contemplated dropping down to the 10k, but I ultimately made the decision to give the 25k the old college try.
I ran with Kayla and her fiancé, Christopher (who both did so great!). We agreed to start out with the 12:00 minute pace group, but very quickly got ahead of them and into the 11:00 minute group.
The first several miles felt great! I was having fun, rocking out to my music, chatting with my friends, and ultimately enjoying the morning. The course was flat, the temperatures were great, and the rain had passed. As we neared the 6.0 mile marker, my knee started hurting, but I pushed through it as best I could.
Just after mile 8.0, we had already made the turn around back towards Grand Rapids. We were making good time and it was shaping up knock last year’s time out of the park. But, this is when the 4.0 miles of rolling hills started and things started to go downhill. My walking breaks became more and more frequent. Up until that point, I really hadn’t walked, except through the water stations. I started doing the run/walk interval method and that held up for awhile.
Then, mile 10.0 came and as I made my way towards the next mile marker, I realized that running was not happening. At all. I told Kayla and Chris to run on, that I’d see them at the finish line. Every time I tried, I could not, as much as I willed my legs and body to cooperate, run more than 50 or so feet. I knew if I stood any chance of crossing the finish line, I had to walk the rest of the course.
Somewhere in mile 12.0, I was near tears from the pain, but I had come so far that I just couldn’t bring myself to quit. Caitlin‘s “pain is temporary, quitting is forever” mantra kept running through my head. I needed encouragement and motivation that my music or mind just wasn’t providing anymore, so I did the best thing I could think of: I called my mom! I told her I just needed her to talk and keep talking, to keep my mind off the pain. We talked for 20 or so minutes, but she was grocery shopping and we didn’t have the best reception. So, I said goodbye to her and called my sister, Nicki, who talked to me until the finish line.
I haven’t run a ton of races up to this point, but out of the ones I have, this was by far the hardest I have gone through. I had to dig to the deepest parts of my determination, but I refused to let myself quit. I felt so proud crossing that finish line!
- Mile 1: 11:10
- Mile 2: 11:13
- Mile 3: 11:15
- Mile 4: 11:18
- Mile 5: 11:51
- Mile 6: 11:40
- Mile 7: 12:03
- Mile 8: 13:13
- Mile 9: 12:30
- Mile 10: 14:08
- Mile 11: 13:57
- Mile 12: 13:57
- Mile 13: 15:47
- Mile 14: 17:27
- Mile 15: 16:44
- Mile 0.83: 14:24
Garmin time: 03:32:44 (average pace: 13:26)
Chip time: 3:32:14. Place: 5195/5221 (hey, not last!)
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the PR I thought was achievable midway through the run. In fact, it was just over 10 minutes slower than last year. But you know, the thing of it is that finishing this race and earning this medal means so much more than a PR because I worked so hard to reach the finish line. A PR would have been great, but not giving up when I wanted to so much means even more.
The moral of this story? When you know you’re not ready for a crazy long race, trust your instincts and don’t try to be a rock star, doing something you know you shouldn’t. There’s no shame in dropping down to a shorter distance or even sitting one out.
(Oh, and to the guy that was spectating in those last few miles and told me I should get to running, screw you.)