This is going to be a mixed bag of things (part race report, part social commentary, part me waxing philosophical about life among other things). Consider yourselves warned.
Mile 11: Best signage ever.
Now that I have wrapped up with the Surf City Half Marathon, my sixth half marathon to date and consequentially the anniversary of my first half marathon ever, a few conflicting feelings rose to the surface. The race was such a great experience that I immediately looked to sign up for another immediately. Not only that, I started looking at more half challenges (4 half marathons in 5 weeks to level up in Half Fanatics).
Only a few months ago after the Malibu Half Marathon (the tail end of a string of four half marathons scheduled extremely close together) I told myself I was DONE with racing like a maniac. It had gotten to the point where the races almost weren’t exciting. Even though my times were improving from a major fail post injury, I didn’t feel like I was physically accomplished after a race.
So I asked myself the “WHY” for racing. Why did I do it to begin with? Why would I want to do a high volume when I did? Why don’t I want to do it now?
Whenever I think of conflicting feelings, I usually equate them to dating analogies, since anything involving matters of the heart are usually the hardest to figure out yet the easiest to illustrate… (don’t judge me)
Surf City 2009: Don't let the face fool you, happiest moment ever!
The immediate answer was Surf City 2009, my very first half marathon. I can still picture every moment as soon as the finish line was in my line of sight, the tears, elation, adrenaline rush, complete awe, my heart even skipped a beat I was so happy. It was kind of like falling in love for the first time. Everything is just perfect. The next day, the race was over and it was gone. Post race depression set in. “How am I ever going to feel that way ever again?” I know… run more races! As many as possible!
I started running half marathons every few weeks. And every half marathon race looked good to me… I was completely boy crazy (to continue w/ the race/relationship analogy). And much like irrational boy craziness, every race had left me a little empty and with a broken heart. Didn’t hit goal time, didn’t PR, didn’t feel good afterward, they ran out of small tech tees at the expo, etc. I desperately kept looking to find that feeling I had when I ran Surf City the first time and kept coming up empty. I even opted on upping the ante and running my first full marathon – still, nothing really compared to the first time. Every running playlist might as well have had “Total Eclipse of the Heart” play on an infinite loop it was so bad.
Disillusioned with myself, my performance, lack of real improvement, amount of money I had been spending on races, I swore it off for a while. December and January were all about “training for Surf City round 2″ – when race day finally came around, my feelings towards racing went back to neutral. I also had no expectations going in on how it would feel to finish.
When I crossed the finish line, something magical happened. I ran the race faster than expected (would have PR’d if I had tried) I remember crossing the finish line thinking, that’s it – wait did I really just ask myself that?! Immediately followed by OMG is this what it feels like to be in shape?! My heart flatlined. It wasn’t like puppy love it was like “this love is serious” love.
I fell in love all over again with racing via Surf City. This happened because I treated it like something special from the get go, it wasn’t “just another half” it was something I talked about a month in advance, anticipated, prepared for (mentally) and eventually absolved myself of.
Allison Burbage and me Surf City 2010: I had no clue what I was in for...
Even now as I am typing this, I simultaneously wonder “how am I ever going to feel that way again?” I started looking at the half fanatics page. “Hmmm 4 races in 5 weeks would bump me up a few planet levels.” But, first things first. For now, I am going to try to be as conservative as possible with race picks and not do them every month (as it stands I’m not doing another half till July – SF Marathon). My ultimate goal is subbing a 2 hr half marathon. I also have a side goal of 4 marathons in one month (consecutive weekends) – but not till after the sub 2.
Even then, with having these goals, all I really want to is give some sort of reason to my madness. If I could race with a bird hat on and feel accomplished so be it. And, I still want to do my 4 half marathon month tour de force, as long as I can mentally wrap my brain around the goal/accomplishment. I just hope that I don’t end up racing around town like a hussy and looking for runs in all the wrong places.