Are you sensing a theme here? My total and utter lack of motivation to actually TRAIN for a race? It’s a theme. Maybe someday it will end… that day is not today. And I’m okay with that. As long as I can run uninjured and finish the distance respectably, I live to race a PR another day. For now my races are few and far between and purely for fun. I guess my version of ‘not really training’ involves not going for a PR, I did still log around 15-20 miles a week for the Hospital Hill half.
I used to spend an unimaginable amount of money and time running in every race I could find (this was during a less healthy phase of my life) waking up way too early nearly every weekend just to go sweat with thousands of other people. Some people love that and for them it works. I’m just saying it’s not a healthy thing for me personally to do. I like (and NEED) sleep and diversity in my schedule. The point being that I run very few races these days, so you would think I would train harder for said races. Basically what I am saying is that I am far from a model runner.
Last week myself and a few girlfriends (the running lea and the running sri lankan) ran the Hospital Hill half marathon in Kansas City. I did the race for the first time last year and I really liked the course, the challenge of the inclines, that the race is in a city I love and the fact it is an early summer race to keep me motivated to run after spring races.
We signed up for the race with somewhat good intentions. To train over the winter and run a semi-respectable finish time based on our previous races, training paces, etc (we were thinking we would finish the race around 1:50). Then I had surgery, and kept getting sick, and started fertility treatments; all of which wreaked havoc on my body. My friends had different, yet equally challenging, circumstances that popped up to hinder their training. So we decided we would throw a time goal out the window and all pressure was off to run a decent time. Then before we knew it race day had arrived!
Thankfully the race day weather was incredible, especially for June. We met up with our old blogging buddy Mark (who is wicked fast but needed some slow-for-him pacing during the race since he had an Ironman to do the next week… sheesh) and began a really fun race. The Running Sri Lankan ran a fantastic race and nearly snagged her PR! The Running Lea and I stuck together with our pacing leech (hi mark, smiley faces) and we had a blast.
The bonus was that seeing how the Running Lea and I didn’t want to embarrass ourselves in front of a boy, we didn’t walk a single incline! VICTORY. Thank you for that motivation Mark! Don’t worry. We may have tried to be respectable runners but we still talked the entire race, about clothes and shopping and home decorating and our personal lives. We forced Mark into being an honorary girl for two hours. He did a fantastic job of it too. I’m sure he loved that.
The inclines were pretty rough for us Wichita (flatlander) girls but we were pretty proud of ourselves and the fact we didn’t walk (except through water stops) and finished in 2:04. Not bad in our opinion! The most shocking part for me was that my calves didn’t cramp and seize up like they are known to do during hilly races. I think our casual pace helped keep my calves healthy! Last year I ended the race in raging calf pain, it wasn’t the most fun ever. I also finished 10 minutes sooner and alone. This year wins.
I did get some mild ribbing since my running buddies weren’t aware of how I finish a race. Which is to blast out the last .5 – 1 mile as hard as I can. My theory on doing a longer race is this. Conserve, conserve, conserve… then at the end blast past all those people who you’ve had your eye on for the past hour. Especially in such an incline heavy race, where the last incline is STEEP and a total b!znit. That last incline was in the last mile, that was my “shut up, or put up” time. I slapped both my earbuds in, ignored my running pals (knowing they were right beside me and would keep up) and ran.
Not gonna lie, it may not be the best strategy, but it’s kind of gratifying. That last section of a race is THE MOST fun to me, running it as hard as I possibly can. I love that part. I think the Running Lea wanted to kill me due to lack of heads up and having to keep up with my crazy at the end of the race. But she didn’t kill me. We finished! We just giggled, took some pictures with our gigantic medals (it was a 40th anniversary race so the medals were huge) thanked Mark for the great race and continued on our way. The Running Sri Lankan finished her race and we all got cleaned up and went about a glorious day full of eating, napping and shopping. Not a bad Saturday if I do say so myself.
I would love to keep doing this as my summer half marathon! After June it’s too hot (and i’m too wimpy and too much of a fair weather runner–i mean that was the name of my old running blog) to do anything more than a 10K. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to do some summer shopping and eating in Kansas City (note: that’s the real and true purpose of doing the race, i’m sneaky that way).