I’ve got some humble pie left over if you want some

Part of my recap for my training this past week includes a half marathon race.

I’ll start there.

The Gilbert 1/2 was an anticipated race because it’s local–like less than two miles away from where I live. This being the case, the route was along roads and canals that I frequent making the course advantageous to me in some ways.

Yeah, uh huh.

I woke up and got ready, dressed in shorts and my run club shirt. I packed an extra set of clothes in case I wimped out being so exposed. (Yep, I later redressed in my car.)

I met up with my run club amigos near the start and we talked about how silly we were for being so cold–considering those in the east coast were suffering through record breaking snow.

I chit chatted with Harry (who ran a 1:34!) and he pep-talked me into running the race hard. I had been going back and forth between treating the race more like a training run–considering I’d run a marathon 4 weeks earlier) or taking advantage of the familiarity of the course and attempting another sub 2 hour–maybe even PRing.

I decided on the latter.

The first four miles were great. I was feeling pretty good and well under the pace I needed to sub 2. I made a mental challenge to try and continue to keep my splits under 9 minutes. The next 3 miles were pretty darn close but still successful.

Then I started feeling twinges of pain in my groin around mile 8 and felt myself slow down considerably. I felt that I was still on pace to get a sub 2 though and didn’t let my spirits falter despite registering the next 2 miles well above 9 minutes.

I don’t know what the hell happened to mile 11 and it wasn’t until after the race that I saw it had been an almost 10 minute mile!Somehow, I had missed hearing the beep of the split and failed to see how much my pace had slowed. To me, I felt like I had still been maintaining pace (funny how that happens huh?)

I attempted quick math in my head to see what I needed to do to finish strong but saw again, for the millionth time in my life, how much I struggle with simple addition and subtraction. I decided to just finish as strong as I could so when I saw mile 12 approaching, I began to speed up.

And that’s when my calves awoke. The worst calf cramping I’d ever experienced joined me on that last mile. I cursed and swore and yelled at myself (in my head) that there was no way in hell these cramps were going to keep me from sub 2ing.

I hopped, tip-toed, skipped–did whatever I could to cross that finish line without stopping, trying my hardest to not lose that sub 2.


My official time was 2:00:16.



Seventeen seconds people. Seventeen seconds.

And I have absolutely nothing and no one to blame but myself.

I had been so confident that I had that sub 2 in the bag, I let it run away. The race wasn’t finished at mile 8, when I had comforted my concerns at having had 2 miles so close to the necessary, required pace. The race wasn’t done at mile 10 either, when I again eased any fears at having registered two miles well over the necessary time.

Waking up at mile 12, by then it was too late.

When I crossed that finish line I was so upset at myself. I was upset that I had let myself run that race so badly. I was upset that I wasn’t celebrating with my friends who had subbed 2’d.

I was upset that at mile 7, I had already been celebrating.


I have no idea where I was here but I apparently was still in high spirits.


It took a few minutes for me to regroup and set aside my own frustrations to focus on my friends, several of whom had achieved a major goal of sub 2ing for the first time. They had been training long and hard and it really was no surprise they’d done it. They’d trained and ran a smart race (unlike me). I took several pics with them and helped them celebrate a well earned PR. I sincerely was/am happy for them as they truly deserved that accomplishment.

When I walked back to my car, I sent a message to my husband to call me as soon as he could. He’s been out of town the country for several weeks and it’s been so hard without him. I really needed him at that moment.

He called me and just like I knew he would, made me feel so much better. He let me know what a dummy I was but told me that this was what I needed. That I got much more from this race than what I would have gotten had I actually subbed 2.

And he’s so right.

When I got my sub 2 earlier this year, I had worked so hard for it. I put months of training (this was 6 months after having my second baby!), studied the course, practiced my splits, thought about it constantly. Crossing that finish line at 1:58:11 was seriously one of my biggest accomplishments ever–even surpassing running my first marathon. I was so emotional and so proud of myself.

I didn’t deserve this sub 2 and now, a couple of days post race, I’m really glad I didn’t get it.


The rest my training week prior was somewhat uneventful–well, kinda.

On Monday I met up with my co-workers and did more stadium drills. On Tuesday I ran 4 miles with my run club at half marathon pace (ja!) and I took a rest day on Wednesday.

Thursday was the last Adventure Run my local shoe store was hosting so a bunch of people from my run club met up to run it. A lot of us were taking it easy considering we had the race that following Saturday.

I was happy with the 3 miles we mapped out but as we were reaching the end, my throat felt scratchy. Then I started to feel my palms itch. And then my legs.

I was having another allergy attack.

I was able to finish and I sat down to organize my tickets for the raffle and hoped the symptoms would just fade away.

They didn’t.

I told a friend I was feeling an attack coming but that I felt okay enough at the moment to drive myself home. I promised to text her as soon as I got there. As soon as I got home, I took some Benedryl and lay down.

The race on Saturday looming, I wondered whether or not I should run it. But yeah, we know what happened lol!

I’m frustrated that these attacks keep happening and that I’ve never gotten a clear explanation on what causes them. The doctor said it was just Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis and that there are really no preventative measure besides not running. (Yeah, no.) He suggested I take allergy medicine prior to each run but I don’t like that idea. It figure it’s just something I’ll have to deal with. It doesn’t happen every time I run or exercise and luckily I can feel the symptoms as they arise and take care of it as soon as they come. It’s just scary and frustrating.

Anyway, how was your running weekend?

Have you ever had a character building run/race? What are some things you’ve learned from running?

36 responses

  1. Aw Helly! You are so tough on yourself! Give yourself a little credit! You have such a crazy busy life and you still balance running like a champ. I’m really proud of the race you ran and can’t wait to hear how more of your training goes. I have heard of exercise induced allergies before and they are no joke. Be careful!

  2. Ugh I’m sorry you had a nightmare of a race 😦 We’ve all been there. ❀
    I remember trying to run a PR in a half marathon in June 2013 and pretty much dying shortly after mile 7. I had PRed only a few months earlier, but figured I could do it again. It was warm, humid, sunny. I was on pace until mile 7 when everything kind of just fell apart. I never walked, but MAN did I shuffle. As much as it sucked, it taught me not to fear the day I don't PR. My previous…6 races had all been PRs. I thought that as soon as I ran a race and didn't PR, my love for running would falter, but it never did.
    I'm sorry to hear there isn't much you can do about your allergic reactions! :/ I wouldn't want to take allergy medicine before every run either though (helllllo sleepyhead)

  3. I’ve definitely had my share of character-building races…and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come, such is running haha but they’re just another version of training to make us stronger for the races to come, like your marathon! You’ll have more sub-twos and below! in your future as long as you just keep chugging along and working hard like you are:)

  4. Not all races are PR races and some races don’t reflect anything near of what we’re truly capable of. I recently had a 5K where I ran the first mile waaaaayyyyy too fast and paid for it big time with a slow overall time. I learned and used it as motivation to run a much smarter race the next time. These setbacks make the PRs so much sweeter.

  5. You know I know this feeling of being so close to something and missing it. It will just make it that much sweeter the next time you do go sub-2. Which I predict will be very, very soon. πŸ™‚ your time is amazing either way and YOU are amazing too.

  6. Wow you had a rough week 😦 I know how you feel about coming that close to your goal. My half marathon goal is a sub 2:30 and my current PR is 2:30:35. All I could think about were the stupid times I was slow and could have gone faster! But you’re right, it will make your next race so much better when you earn it! Also, good luck on figuring out the allergy thing. It’s crazy there’s nothing you can do about it!

  7. I agree with some of the others–don’t be so hard on yourself! You still ran a pretty great race, though who knows what happened with your splits. We learn something from each of our races, and there are parts of other races that we go back and live over, but that is the whole point!

  8. It’s funny, I just went back and read all my race recaps last night and realised most of my runs were terrible/challenging. 3 out of 9 or 10 races were actually great races for me and the others were just okay. It’s kinda cool to look back and see were I went wrong and except that it happened for a reason.
    Chin up!

  9. Oh girl, I am so sorry. Crazy how running can do that to you and out of the blue. It is so frustrating but remember that it happens to all of us. I think it truly makes us stronger runners to have those darn rough races and push through. You will be so appreciative of the next easy breezy race. I am also so sorry to hear about your allergy attacks. So frustrating. Funny enough this summer I was dealing with this ugly rash that started at my ankles and quickly spread up my legs. It was freaking me out. I thought it wouldn’t stop. Then I realized I was marathon training and eating more carbs than normal. I tried cutting out gluten (I usually avoid bread because it makes me feel puffy) and a week later the rash was gone after being there for 2 months and spreading. Any chance it is something random like that? So frustrating.

  10. MCM was definitely character building for me this year. I know its frustrating to miss a PR but so little, but just remember not all runs are good, and it OK! And remember it happens to all of us! We’ve all been there/done that! It makes you a stronger runner!

  11. Seeing as I had to WALK the last FOUR MILES of the Wine and Dine Half, it was amazing I didn’t have a complete meltdown. Just goes to show that when you’re running with a great backup crew, they can get you through the worst of your running times. How I ever got through my previous halfs by myself now seems like a miracle!

  12. Lady – you have just started marathon training (again) and ran a half 16s over 2 hours! That is amazing. And sorry to hear about another allergy attack – that is pretty scary. I hope you can figure out what’s going on.

  13. Seconds like that are super frustrating. I know how disappointing that must feel, but you still ran a great race, despite not feeling great through out. I’ve had some frustrating runs myself, but I try t resist labeling them good or bad and just be happy my legs are moving πŸ˜‰ Exercise induced allergies really stink.

  14. I’m impressed that you ran a half at that pace only 4 weeks after running a marathon. I think that is something to be proud of. I need a lot more time than that to recover!

    I haven’t had a character building race so much as a character building season. I’ve had to drop out of several races this fall due to an injury that just won’t go away. It’s been very humbling indeed. Now my focus is to maintain my fitness without doing any further damage to my knee/ankle. (Doc says tendonitis) Currently training for a March marathon, but we’ll see if that’s even possible when the mileage starts to go up. I had a great year prior to this crushing PR’s left and right, and then this happened. It just makes me appreciate good runs that much more.

  15. Aww Helly I am really sorry, and as much as it pains me to say it, I agree with your husband, you learn a heck of a lot more when you fail then when you succeed. I know how much that totally sucks though and its always easier to think that way in hindsight, not when its still fresh and painful but you will be stronger because of this race and you will get your PR next time because of it. Keep running strong and you still ran a 2 hour 1/2, that is amazing, especially so quickly after your full…keep that in perspective too…you are awesome, don’t forget it!

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