Monday, November 05, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Battleship Half Marathon

The Battleship North Carolina

Yesterday, Nathan and I ran the Battleship Half Marathon. I'd been blogging about my training pretty regularly, I had completed a really strong 13 mile run two weeks ago, and I was feeling good about my chances of setting a new personal record. (Time to beat: 1:58.) My hopes were high.

Pre-race, back when hope existed.

Because of all those long runs, and all those high hopes, the report that I must share is all the more disappointing. Friends: it was the worst race of my life. I'm not sure what happened. I know that it was warmer than we anticipated, which the time change did not help. I know that there were more hills than I expected, and that my training severely lacked any hill work. I know that I was frustrated in the first two miles, because I got stuck behind so many slow people, but that later, all those "slow" people passed me and left me in the dust while I struggled (and failed) to hold on to a ten minute pace. I know that I basically gave up at mile five, after a particularly short but brutal hill, and ran/walked the rest of the race while swearing off endurance events for the rest of my life. Not my best moment. 

The course itself wasn't the problem. We ran over three bridges, which was neat. We ran around Greenfield Lake, which I love. We ran through downtown Wilmington, and were cheered by a respectable number of people. The problem was not the race. The problem was me. 

My excuse for a running a poor race, for giving up, for having a bad attitude? I didn't train enough. I did enough long runs, sure, but I wasn't consistent with speed work. I didn't seek out the few hills in Wilmington and practice racing up them. I fell into the trap of doing too many short, easy runs, because it was (in my defense) all I had time for. Which is really what it comes down to - time and expectations. The fact that I thought I could PR during the busiest semester of my life, when I'm a full time grad student, a teaching assistant, working 18 hours a week at a wine store, writing a novel, planning a wedding, and maintaining some semblance of a social life, shows just how delusional I've become.


Lessons learned from the Battleship Half Marathon: finishing a race right now is accomplishment enough. Not every race needs to be a PR. Setting up extravagant goals can ruin an otherwise perfectly pleasant experience. And if I want to be competitive, I need to reassess what I'm capable of at this moment in my life, and shift my expectations accordingly. Easier said than done, but after this race, by dog, I will do it.

On the bright side, the medal is awesome, my unofficial time - 2:17 - is still something to be proud of, and now I have a benchmark to try and beat for next year. Not bad for a Sunday.

21 comments:

  1. Chrissy, you did a whole lot better than you give yourself credit for. It was a tough hot day on a very difficult course, and your time is more than respectable. You've got a lot on your plate, and preparing for an event such as a 1/2 marathon was a tall order. So pat yourself on the back, and we'll see you next year! I've been running for over 25 years, including a number of marathons, and was well prepared for this event -- still I found it very very difficult to complete; about the only thing that kept me going was trying to catch up to my 22 year old son who was somewhere way ahead of me!
    cheers,
    Nick Levintow

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a kind comment, Nick! Knowing I wasn't the only one struggling out there makes me feel a lot better. I'm already looking forward to next year. Hopefully it'll be a little cooler!

      And congrats to yourself on finishing a tough race! I had fun yesterday, despite this downer of a recap. Running is full of surprises! :)

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  2. Yeah, you've got a lot going on, so I wouldn't worry too much about one "off" day. I'm definitely on the slower trend, too. I plan on training more after the wedding, heh.

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    1. Life will be so much simpler after this whole wedding business is over!

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  3. The medal is really cool! I admire your honesty in this post. You are a very ambitious person, and I think you'll always be tempted to pile your plate high with goals and projects. That's a good thing! But I think it makes total sense that you also had to prioritize, so your training wasn't quite as intense as it could have been. It's okay. There will be more races and more chances for new running goals. xoxo

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    1. You are right, of course. Sometimes ambition gets the best of me. :)

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  4. I'll take your 2:17 any day...or even the ability to run for that long. :) I know how disappointing it can be to hit the wall during a race, but at least you slogged through it--that shows a lot of heart. Plus, now you know! Right? I mean, it can only get better from here on out? Hope your legs have held up after working post-race & I hope you can take a nice break soon!

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    1. Thanks Jes! I think working was actually good for my legs - I felt fine the next day. :)

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  5. Sorry you had such a tough race! Of course running should probably take a back seat right now when your life is so busy with everything else, but I know that doesn't make it easier when your race execution doesn't match the time you hoped for. Nonetheless, finishing is DEFINITELY something to be proud of! I am looking to try to get back into some longer distances myself (10K and maybe a half) now that I'm recovering from injury, and I suspect I'll be clocking some slower times for a while, too. I am going to have to try to embrace the finisher's pride, myself :)

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    1. Finisher's pride is well deserved and much earned. Good luck getting over your injury and getting back out there!

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  6. I don't know you but this race was my personal worse. I felt EXACTLY the same way you did. I walked and ran and HAVE NEVER done that. I finished the same time as you, nearly 23 minutes under my personal record. I have been pretty bummed but must hang on:)...so you hang in there:)

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    1. i meant over my personal record:)

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    2. I'm sorry you had a bad race, but glad I'm not alone! We'll redeem ourselves. Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon, perhaps? ;)

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  7. hey, congrats! More than I could ever do, for sure. I'm notorious for having more on my plate than I can handle...sometimes we have to remember that we can't just do it ALL at once :)

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  8. Congrats on getting out there and running the half. I understand how disappointing not PRing, or not having a good race, but you still got out there and did it, which is awesome.
    And just reading everything that you are juggling right now made ME feel stressed out, haha.

    The medal is awesome though!

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    1. Thanks lady! And good luck in the Philly Marathon!

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  9. Good job putting a disappointing day into perspective. I did the 5K that morning - best race I've ever run in terms of pacing and effort, worst time I've ever run by over 2 minutes. Definitely NOT a day for fast times. If you've got the time / energy, try the Wrightsville Beach half in March - nice and flat and, hopefully, cool. :-) If not, take it easy and remember that your best distance running years are still ahead of you.

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    1. I didn't realize you were running the 5K! We should have met up. Maybe at WB - I'm planning to redeem myself there. I ran part of the race with Lucy last year, and it seemed like a much more forgiving course. :)

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  10. I remember the worst weekday in cross-country was the day we would do our speed work-outs. Up and down the huge sand dunes on the north end of the island. It used to be every Tuesday. When people started skipping Tuesdays on purpose, our coach started mixing up our speed day so that we'd never know it was coming. It was EXCRUCIATING, but damn if it didn't have us passing tons of runners on beach races and on hill races in central Texas. I see now how much it benefited us but I will likely never do a workout like that on my own. I envy you for fitting in ANY speed/hill workouts, no matter whether you think you're doing them often enough.

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  11. I remember thinking that your weekly mileage was a bit low and that you had a lot of cross training, but maybe it was just a bad day also, this is possible. Kudos, you complete the race !!!

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  12. Sorry the race was so miserable. That reminds me of the Pittsburgh Marathon. I just felt miserable and swore off long races and wanted to quit. http://scrapandrun.blogspot.com/2012/05/pittsburgh-marathon-part-1-5612.html

    At least you finished. The lack of hills around here make me think I won't even be able to run any hills in the future at races. I guess that was a perk of Pittsburgh. There were always hills.

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