December 7, 2013

One of the most boring race reports in the history of race reports...with a message

another not-funny post on the anniversary of my second time running CIM 
in honor of it being CIM weekend again. 

The Prologue

After blowing up at CIM in my first marathon, I didn't run for 6 months. I hated all things running and never wanted to do it again. Then I got the postcard from Team in Training in June and I knew a redemption run was in order. We'd be training for the same race.

I didn't want to run faster. I wanted to run better.

I had a great training cycle with the exception of the moving violation I got on the way to a group run. And I had the wisdom gained from the experience of my nuclear meltdown the year before. Again, I went into the race with no time goal...I just wanted to be able to drive my boyfriend's little stick-shift pickup truck home without crying after the race AND still love running. I devised a race plan based on these objectives.

From my years of experience in racing and time trials testing, I knew that steady usually has a more favorable outcome than fly and die...especially over the long haul. So taking my previous marathon finish time from the year before, 3:49:20, I calculated the pace per mile to be roughly 8:45 (we didn't have McMillan back then...I'm not even sure there was an internet and if there was I didn't know about it).

It was rainy as fuck the day and night before and the morning of...not quite as bad as CIM 2012 but pretty close. Driving to the shuttle parking lot was terrifying; the rain was parallel to the ground because the wind was so strong and it was coming down in sheets. I kept thinking "Do they ever cancel races? Cuz this would be an excellent time to cancel a race." But then I remembered running is an outdoor sport :) I parked my car, put on my Hefty bag and headed to the bus.

Again, I was struck by how fucking long a 26.2-mile race is. They let us sit in the bus for a little while and then we had to stand outside in the rain. About 10 minutes before the start, the rain stopped and we all started laughing and joking.

The Race

The race began and people were mincing around the puddles. The rustle of Hefty bags was loud.

Mile One: 8:45 according to my trusty Timex...and the sky opened up and dumped HEAVILY. I laughed so hard. No more worries about puddles!

The rain didn''t last long and I shed my Hefty bag around the half...nailing 8:45 each and every mile. It  felt so easy. And if I had been all hung up on analysis and PR's and shit like that, I definitely would have pushed it harder (my mile repeat workouts were hitting between 6:05 and 6:11...but not because that was some target time, that's just what they were) but I wasn't so I didn't. And there were two pitstops totaling about 5 minutes because I just can't help myself.

I had the happiest 26.2 miles ever.

At about 18 miles in. I looked like this the whole way.
I'm not sure if my happy chattiness helped these guys
or irritated the living shit out of them but since we ran
together for about an hour before they needed to slow
I'm thinking it was a good thing.


The Epilogue

Though this race happened 16 years ago today, I remember vividly feeling so great because I paced it so evenly. It helped me remember what I love so much about running. A slower time than the year before but a redemption run, for sure.

The part where I try to explain the message

It makes me sad sometimes that people (bloggers in particular, I think) put so much pressure on themselves to hit a certain time. We're pretty much all just hobbyjoggers doing it because it's fun and we love it and ENDORPHINS!!!!  My takeaway from life as an elite athlete AND life as hobbyjogger is STOP TAKING SHIT SO FUCKING SERIOUSLY. It's one thing to be serious about your training...dedication and discipline...good stuff. But obsessing and over-analyzing and Garmins and setting workout paces based on goal times and not on where you all makes no real sense unless your livelihood depends on it. Okay, it makes sense if you're achievement-oriented, but then stop fucking whining about it when shit blows up.

Have you ever whined about a race not going the way you wanted it to?
–of course I have. That's why I'm qualified to be all judgy about people who do it.

Have you ever blamed shit on your Garmin?
–no...this one I haven't done. Sometimes a course is longer or shorter or the device can't get a's not an infallible system. It's a TOOL.

Is the first thing you do at the end of a race look at and stop your Garmin?
–when I race with one, yes. Soooo guilty of this.

Do you set your workout paces based on your goal time or on your REAL time?
–you know I keep it real. ALWAYS. (lies...all lies)

Did you check out my HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE???


  1. This is why I like ultras. No one even knows what a good time should be. Hell, even I don't know haha

  2. Please shout some obscenities on my behalf at CIM today. You know I take nothing seriously. Least of all running. WTF am I gonna do with these damn egg white chips??

  3. I wanted to run my second marathon this year exactly that way - no time expectations. I told everyone who asked and people kept commenting that they thought I'd run a certain time. In the end I'd absorbed so much of their expectations that I put expectations on myself. I had an incredibly crap race (for a multitude of reasons) and ended up being way slower than I ever would have thought but was strangely satisfied with the result.

  4. Nice to meet you today!

    Jen, K, and I spent about half the drive up discussing this topic today -- it totally bums me out when I see people letting their hobby make them miserable.

  5. I don't think I've ever blamed my garmin for things, but I've definitely complained about it. I'm 100% sure I'm one of those freaks who can't wear watches because their body chemistry some how destroys them. I've never had a garmin work for more than a few months.

  6. You gotta keep it really real, otherwise the only person you are lying to is YOU!

    LOVE the old running pic though, so cool.

  7. My races often don't go the way I want them too

    I not only watch the Garmin, I watch the km route markers, I love to know just how far I've run and how much to go...

    Yes I look at my Garmin, but it's for the time!!!

    Goal time or real time, that would depend on the session, some are at Goal time...

    So I had a look at your Holiday gift list and without pictures of you modeling the Undies I just can't comit to them...

  8. Well, I can cop to taking my training to seriously and running specific race paces in training…and getting hurt, too. And sucking the joy out of racing. And I am changing that in the future. I am truly done with it.

    But I will say--I at least don't race with a Garmin. Still sticking with my old Timex. May I be sanctimonious about that?

  9. –Yes I've whined about a race. It was one in which I threw up at mile 10. And then I ran 3 more miles and finished.
    –No, I don't blame shit on my Garmin, that's stupid.
    –The first thing I do is stop my Garmin, if I remember.. I actually didn't look at mine for a few minutes on Sunday because I knew I broke an arbitrary time goal and I didn't care by how much.
    –Workout paces are just guidelines and based on current fitness. If I run faster, awesome! If I run slower, try harder next time! Hitting certain workout paces helps me determine realistic race goals. Workout paces based on goal times sets you up to break yourself.

  10. Yay, you look so happy in that old-school marathon photo! No lie, I'm here today because I am seeing some traffic from you and I'm wondering, what the hell did she say about me? Did she hear that the Dallas Marathon was genuinely canceled on Sunday or does she think that's my excuse for not hitting my self-imposed, old-age high-bar time of 2:58? Instead I slept for more than 10 hours, that is a PR in itself.

  11. Good post indeed - yea most of us could probably take our running a little less serious. Honestly I've only whined about races that I did back in high school - when I was less mature about how to handle race preparation and results. Since then, I've had zero problems with any race I've done. I'm a very achievement based person, but since I've been injured on and off for maybe 3 years now - I basically just want to get healthy and then see where my running takes me. Eventually I want to set a PR, but that is after I'm healthy.


Say it. But if you can't own your shit, don't dump it on me.

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