I’ve been so busy and distracted that my second half-marathon kind of snuck up on me. All of a sudden, it was two days away and the reality started to set in! I picked up my race bib on Friday and those pre-event nerves started to kick in.
In true Me fashion, I had a clear, verbalized goal and a secret goal that I didn’t really talk about much. I was nervous about what my race time would be for a couple of reasons. First, the weather. Cold, wind, rain, all of these can definitely slow a runner down a bit. I run in the rain often, but I hadn’t raced in it yet. Second, I had been feeling a bit run down. My body was feeling generally tired and achy and I wasn’t sure how that would show up come race day.
So, as it stood, my verbalized goal was to stay under 2 hours. As I had managed to do this in my first half two months earlier, this was important to me to repeat. My secret goal was to beat the time in my first half and finish in under 1 hour 55 minutes.
Final Race Time = 1:51:42! Woot!
Now, I know race times aren’t the most important thing in the world, but I’m a pretty goal oriented person. I like to have benchmarks and plans and something specific to shoot for, so for me, it matters. And this particular finish mattered a whole heck of a lot.
It didn’t come easy.
Race day started off in a bit of a nerve-racking fashion. Remember how I mentioned that my body had been generally achy? Well Sunday morning I woke up to shower, dress, and prepare for my race with a seriously uncomfortable right hip, thigh, and knee. It didn’t hurt, per se, but it definitely felt uncomfortable and I was worried about how it would impact my experience.
What DID hurt were my fingers. I have this strange condition called Raynaud’s Disorder. No one seems to know what causes it for me, but it’s bad. Like, really bad. My fingers start to get really cold and then they burn. Then, they go numb in spots and still burn in other spots. They turn all the colors of an American flag and become a painful, distracting mess. Sunday morning, my friend Raynaud decided to go nuts.
So, there I was waiting for the start with my uncomfortable hip and leg, my burning, numb fingers and my nerves. Finally, we got started and I was no more than a few feet across the start line when I felt my torso get really cold. I looked down to see that the bottom zipper on my double zipper jacket had come undone. The top zipper (near my neck) was still secure. So if you can imagine, it was instantly like I was wearing a cape, but backwards. My jacket, purchased to shield me from the cold and wind and rain, was instead flying open, exposing me to all the elements. I tried to fix it while I ran, but, you see, when my fingers go numb, they don’t really work. I can’t pick things up or close them tightly around things, so it didn’t go so well. Finally, I made a decision that I was not happy about. I ran to the side of the road and had to stop completely and take the time to get my jacket fixed.
I was not happy about this. Stopping? I don’t stop during a race!
Okay, so I get going again and, at least from there, no new problems occurred. The race was pretty flat, so that wasn’t bad at all, but there sure were stretches with some serious wind gusts and rainfall. There’s something about running through all that, though, that feels liberating and strong.
Or maybe I’m just a little bit crazy.
Either way, I felt good most of the way. The route itself was quite pleasant, meandering through neighborhoods in North Portland. I passed plenty of houses with festive lights on them, as well as a few carolers along the way that volunteered their time for the race. I felt like I was pushing myself, but not overdoing it and I had the energy for a good kick during that last mile.
Finding out my finish time was fantastic. Seeing that measurable improvement over my first race, combined with the actual physical change I noticed in my body during this run (less fatigue, more strength, more power) made all the mishaps of the day so very worth it.
What a great way to ring in the holidays!