When you run, you have good races and you have bad races. The GO! St. Louis Half Marathon was the latter. Immediately after crossing the finish line, I found myself in the med tent, but we’ll come back to that.
There are a whole lot of variables that come into play in distance running; sleep, nutrition, hydration, weather, course safety, elevation, hills…The list goes on and on.
I expected to have a good race today, but when I had insomnia the night before the race I knew I was already off to a bad start. 1.5 hours sleep doesn’t bode well when you have half marathon at 7 a.m.
It was humid in St. Louis on race day. Really, really humid. And windy. So much so that even the elite athletes I spoke to after the race said that it was a bad race day for them, too.
At around mile 4, my shoe came untied. This was a first for me – I’d never had to tie a shoe during a race before.
Then, at around mile 5, my iPhone locked up. I don’t go far without my cell phone while Nick’s deployed, so I manually restarted it mid-race.
By mile 7 when I saw my family for the first time, I was feeling alright overall, my 5K split was strong, and I’d kicked side cramps I’d developed earlier in the race.
Somewhere after mile 7 though, things started going downhill (unfortunately, not literally) when my IT band began sending sharp pains into my right knee. I spent the last six miles of the race trying to run, fighting pain, stepping to the side to massage my IT band, trying to run again, and failing.
There will be bad races just like there are bad days during deployment, and I owed it to myself and to Nick to finish the race. Nick finished an Ironman on a sprained ankle; I could finish this half marathon with painful IT band issues.
I wasn’t willing to stop.
I crossed the finish line 15 minutes slower than expected, found a medical tent, and spent nearly two hours with various physical therapists, medics and a doctor.
To the competitive runner, finishing slowly might seem like a failure or a morale-killer. But when I think about yesterday’s race, I feel good. I pushed through even when it hurt, and I finished what I started training for several months ago.
As I limped and grimaced, navigating the St. Louis airport for my (seriously delayed) flight home to Colorado last night, I proudly wore my GO! St. Louis Half Marathon shirt, my finisher’s medal at my side in my carry-on bag.
I may not always be the strongest woman in the race, but I’m definitely one of the most determined. And that’s what going to get me through whatever lies ahead on Nick’s deployment.