It has been 3 weeks since the Glass City Owens Corning Half Marathon and I am still struggling to write this recap. I would love to give the excuse that life has gotten so busy and I haven’t had time (and I have been busy, so that wouldn’t be a lie) but it is honestly because I don’t really know what to say. I don’t feel like I did after the Yeungling Shamrock Half Marathon in March… I’m not full of excitement, wanting to share every little detail of how everything happened, and how I accomplished a goal I did not expect to accomplish. I feel like I should be… after all, it was a fun weekend and my performance was awesome, but there isn’t the same fire within me about this race as there was about Shamrock. I need to be authentic and share how I really feel, because I know I am not alone, and maybe my experience and feelings surrounding what should have been a race I was really excited about could help others feel like, “Hey, it’s not just me!”
I think the biggest influence on my feelings about Glass City was my performance at Shamrock. As happy as I was with my performance in Virginia Beach, it was sort of jolting. My plan was that I was not going to get a PR. I didn’t think I was capable of a sub 2:30 half marathon yet. I planned to use the 6 weeks between Shamrock and Glass City to work on speed once I knew that I could do the distance without intervals. I hoped I would be able to PR then, and maybe even smell the 2:30 half. So when I accomplished ALL of those things at Virginia Beach, I felt a little lost and really scared.
Scared? Why on Earth was I scared? Because we runners put a lot of pressure on ourselves to always get better. If we are racing, we are racing for a personal best. Whether it is running without intervals, or getting a better time, there’s always that push to be better. I am not a competitive person by any means, not really even with myself. I usually don’t set lofty goals for this reason. You’ll often hear me say that I don’t have any goals at all. That we’ll just see what happens. But there’s always that little voice in my head, questioning, wondering, pushing – “don’t you think you might have just a little bit more in you?”
The weekend ended up being a lot of ups and downs for me. I had a lot of fun with my friends, I got a PR, it was one of my best race performances, the weather ended up being great, and physically I felt great after the race. But I felt like a flop as an ambassador – I was late for the expo because I forgot about the 5k on Saturday, I didn’t end up in the group picture on race morning, and overall throughout the whole experience I just never felt good enough. On race morning I was running late, I stepped in so many puddles trying to get to the group picture that my feet were soaking wet, and I was waiting in line to do my bag drop until the very last second.
The feeling that overwhelmed me that weekend was the feeling of not being enough. This is such a common feeling amongst people who suffer from anxiety and depression, and it really reared its ugly head with this race. I didn’t feel good enough to be an ambassador. I didn’t feel like my performance was good enough. I didn’t feel like a good enough supporter because I missed some of my friends finishing and I nearly missed many, not getting any pictures or anything of them finishing.
As far as the race went, like I’ve said a few times – my performance was great. I started off slow, probably slower than I needed to, but I didn’t run my fastest mile in mile one like I usually do at races. My first mile was 11:45. I almost managed to run negative splits the entire race – most of my miles were within less than 3 seconds of each other. My last mile was 10:28. I ran the whole thing without walking – I barely even walked at any of the aid stations, more like slowed to a very easy jog. My A goal was 11:20 pace, my B goal was to PR even by a second, and my C goal was just to have a damn good time. My official finishing time was 2:28:09, an 11:18 pace. I accomplished my A goal… my friends said they were so proud of me and that I finished so strong… so why wasn’t I happy?
I just still didn’t feel good enough. I felt like I could have done better. I felt like I didn’t push myself enough because if I could bust out a 10:28 pace for my final mile, why weren’t most of my miles closer to an 11 minute pace? Even writing this now, as I am acknowledging how well I did, how proud of myself I should be, I can’t bring myself to feel good about that race. And it is really unfortunate because almost all of my friends that were there that day got a PR. Had awesome performances. We all had such a great time. But I just felt like Eeyore with a little gray storm cloud hanging over my head.
I am bummed that I feel this way but have not yet been able to shake the feeling – hence why I haven’t posted this update until now. I’m bummed that a race that once held such a happy place in my heart now feels, like I said before, muted. I have to say that I am happy that I have not let my experience derail my running – I am continuing my run streak for mental health with the Still I Run community. I am following an intermediate training plan for the 10k with the hopes of getting a PR at a local race in a couple of weeks.
Although this update hasn’t been like most of my race recaps, I hope that it touches someone who has experienced this feeling I’ve had and they feel better. I know it helps me to hear that I’m not alone, that it is okay to feel this way, because I’m just being human. I am still looking forward to goals this summer – a 10k PR, a sub 30 5k (maybe a PR, too) and starting training for my next half marathon. I’ll be running the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank International Half Marathon in October and I plan to run it with an open mind and a heart full of love for the half marathon again.