Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let's Move Half Marathon Race Review

So, I'm still not sure how I feel about Saturday's race but here's my best attempt at breaking it down.  

  • The weather was beautiful - sunny, not too hot, capris and tank top weather - perfect!
  • The race was .4 miles from my parent's house - no wasted time parking in the morning :)
  • It was in my home town and I talked my parents, mother-in-law, sister and niece into participating in the smaller races.
  • It was a flat race.
  • My favorite restaurant was at the finish line - yum chili cheese fries :)

  • The water stations were out of cups until mile 6 or so.  Soooo Thirsty.
  • There was minimal crowd support.  minimal.  like no one along the course unless you count the people standing at the water stations without cups.
  • There was no water near the GU stop.  Yuck. 
  • Of the few spectators there were (read: sheriff dept at cross streets), they were silent and didn't cheer you on or even acknowledge that you were there.
  • The finish line was so empty - granted, I finished after 2:30, but still - maybe 50 ppl cheering you in.
  • The volunteers at the finish line were just standing there talking with each other.  I had to ask for a medal even though there were 5 of them standing there with them in their hands.  I had to grab a space blanket from the pile that was all folded up and hard to get while all the volunteers stood there and completely ignored me.  There was bottled water, but no food.  I was pissed.  
  • Race photos blew.  They only had a photographer at the end.  The website is a wedding photographer.  Get your shit together and hire a race photographer.  ok now I'm being a brat.

My time
I'm thoroughly disappointed in my finishing time: 2:34:32.  I was really looking forward to beating my last time of 2:33:53 from the Grosse Ile Half on March 20th.  The conditions were perfect - weather, locale, flat, family there to cheer me in.  I really wanted sub 2:30.

I think I put too much pressure on this race and assumed it would go so great without being mentally prepared.  The first 6 miles felt great - I was floating on air and didn't seem like I was pushing it too hard or went out too fast.  I was in front of the 2:30 pacer and felt wonderful.  However, after the lack of agua and the incredibly thinning group of racers, I was fading fast after that.  The 2:30 pacer creeped up behind me around mile 7, ran with me for awhile and then took off after the mile 8 marker.  

I didn't feel like I was really slowing down that bad or lagging, but I got to the point that I couldn't come up with anything positive in my mind.  By mile 9, there was no one around me running and I was fading fast in my head.  Thoughts like "what the hell am I doing here?", "I'm not a runner", "how the hell do you think you can run a full in October, when you can't even get through a half", "I'm going to let everyone down when I don't finish this", and so on and so on.  It sucked.  I had placed this race on a pedestal and it came tumbling down. 

When I turned the last corner to the finish line, I was so excited to see the huge chute of people cheering the runners in like in every other race.  This was not the case - a disappointing 50 ppl maybe.  I saw my mom right away and that was so exciting.  My sisters and my niece were spotted just after that and had home-made signs in their hands!  That part was awesome!!

Even with this, I was still mad that the finish line was so bare and then I snapped at my niece cause I was pissed with my time.  I did apologize later, but still.  

I think this is my huge problem:
I've always been envious of runners who have a huge support crew cheering them on at many places of the race and meeting them afterward.  I've never had that before and was so excited to have it this time.  Overall, I was disappointed at the people I invited that didn't show and then was annoyed with the ones that did come support me.  I think my problem is that they all knew nothing about running and it annoyed me.  I don't know how to explain it.  

Perhaps I'm so salty about the whole day since running has always been 'my' thing.  me.  by myself.  I go to races solo, run solo, walk back to my car solo and drive home solo.  I blog about it, but that's it.  I don't talk to any human being about them cause I don't have anyone in my life that gets it.  So, that's my race routine.  

I thought it would be great to have family there, but in reality, I don't think I'll do it again. This is where I feel really bad.  Does this make me a bad person?  They just don't get it.  My sister thinks I'm a runner-snob now and I truly hope that's not the case - but it's how I currently feel.  

This whole weekend still leaved me with a bad taste in my mouth and I still can't pin point why.  I mean, I ran 13.2 miles (the course was long), have no pain and got some sun in the process, I should be happy about this accomplishment and I'm really not at all.  
I'm kinda hoping I snap out of this soon.  It already feels good just to get it out.


  1. Hmmm....sometimes races just aren't what we expect. Your race report sounds a little like mine from Sunday (well minus the awesome weather). It just was a bad day to race for me. No worries....your next race will be better!! Crowd support defnitely makes a big difference. Due to the weather in OKC this weekend there was virtually none at my race either. You will still be fine for your full marathon in Oct. You still pushed through and got it done!

  2. I get what you're saying too. It's disappointing when there's something you're passionate about that nobody else around you seems to care about. Plus, you put all this work into training and running hard... and for what? "Volunteers" who don't even notice you crossing the finish line? How frustrating!

    Just like we have bad runs, I guess we all have bad races. Try to shake it off... and not register next for it again next year! ;)

    And your time goal- keep chipping away at it and eventually you WILL be able to beat it!

  3. The things that make this not a great experience should give you confidence! I mean, if you were able to come close to your goal time despite a lack of water, no crowd support, no finish-line buzz... well, things will look a lot better then when you do have those things.

    I will say that you must try not to make too much of this with regards to a marathon. You will train to become a marathoner and I know that all of your doubts will be set aside with all of your training runs. So just chalk those negative thoughts to the race experience and try not to let them linger.

    And I still think you had a good race and that you should be proud of your medal! And most of those non-supportive people probably couldn't run a half marathon if you gave them an 11-mile head start!

  4. Hey.

    Take your time to wallow. Whatever you need.

    When you are done, forget about it.

    Next. Remember the reasons you started running in the first place. Focus on that. Was this reason for you? You alone? Good.

    While running can be a social activity, it is inherently selfish. When it comes to talking to others about running, keep celebrating! Your accomplishments are incredible, and you are allowed to yell from the rooftops!

    Do you ever have to listen to someone talk about their golf game? No different.

    Now. Train for you marathon. Run your marathon. For you.

    Ok, bye


  5. hey lady...

    ugh...i've so been where you are now... the fun of running together 2 weeks back really helped me out of the funk of my first Half..

    was this the events first race?
    if so, I'm sure they were just as mortified. if word gets out, and it is, no one is going to want to run it again...

    how many runners were supposed to race it?

    it's tough too coming from exceptionally led races(sounds like the Grosse Isle one was) and assuming all will be held like that...

    Definitely allow yourself time to wallow...and don't feel bad about a big cheer squad...

    usually it's just the bf whose there supporting me. my fam couldnt be bothered with getting up that early to support me. it saddens me every time I think about it but sports etc have never been a huge thing in my house so I can't really expect it to be otherwise.

    can't wait for our run on Friday so I can chat it out!


  6. Wow! I'm sorry that I missed you at the beginning. I was looking for you but did not see you. I had a little different version but then I finished sooner so they did not run out of water or food. I would have been really pissed if they ran out of water or food. Please keep in mind it's the first race so they need to learn from their mistakes. If you look on their Facebook page, there was LOTS of complaints about the water running out. I'm sure they won't make that mistake next year. If they do, nobody will sign up for it again. I do agree that the crowd support through the race was terrible. There were lots of police but they just looked at you. and most of the volunteers were no help. I had one officer say something to me "great job" but other than that, they just stared. I made a joke to an officer(at 11 miles) that I thought this was the 5k, he says "that was earlier" - No shit! One volunteer thanked me for running(and I thanked her back) One girl was ringing a cow bell. That was about it during the race. When I finished, there was probably at least 500 people at the finish line with great support and it really stinks that they did not stay around to cheer everyone on. I'm going to keep that in mind when I volunteer for a race. Also, There is NO excuse to ask for your medal - you earned that!!! You are right about the photo - they sucked! I agree, get a sports photographer for God's sake! Check out Runmichigan.com. They took some photos as well at the end of the race that were much better. I will probably do the race again next year but they NEED to fix these things for sure.

    Unfortunately, most people don't understand that don't run. Don't worry about it - do it for yourself. I have had family at some races and it is nice to finish with them there but most races I'm alone. I do run with a running buddy so at least we can talk to each other about our races after. Get a friend into running races(Rebecca?) so you can go to a race with someone. Ask one of your running blog followers to go to the race with you(I will). I'll even pace you if you need me to. Keep up the great work. You can do the marathon - I know you can!

    I don't know what marathon you are planning in October but if it's for Detroit, keep in mind the last half(except the end) does not have lots of support. I only signed up for the half because it's the best part and support much of the way. You have run Crim - great crowd support! I'm not expecting huge crowd support for my marathon in Traverse City but everyone says it's a great race. My plan(if I do another marathon) is to run NYC - 1 million watching you!

    NOW - finally, are you a runner?? OF COURSE!!!! You just ran 13.1 miles and you can't do that without being a runner!!! Be proud of your accomplishments! E-mail me with what some of your upcoming races are! Take care!