I’ll warn you, I’m not in the greatest of running spirits right now. I had another sub-par race. I should’ve seen it coming and while I detected the warning signs, I thought I could just push through. I’ve been racing a lot the last few months.. I had a plan for the half that started with San Jose (which I never made it to), then Silver Strand (which I got a side stitch at), and finally ending in Houston (which I had a cold and had the worst side stitch ever at mile 11). After Houston I had planned on taking time off. I signed up for Carlsbad for fun, with the expectation that all of the pressure would be off. Instead I ended up signing up for Surf City just in case Houston went wrong. When it did, I had to extend my training another 3 weeks, rather than taking time off. I know now how badly I needed the time off.
The race started off fairly well. I was a little slower than ideal in mile 2 and 3, but it’s better to take it easy early and there was a relentless little grade that was pushing up my heartrate. I went through the first three in 5:45, 5:51, 5:52. Okay.. mile 4 was slow because of the big hill. I figured I’d get it back in the next couple miles and I did, running 5:46 and 5:48. That takes us to the 7th mile. I pretty much lost it mentally. I just had nothing in the tank. My quads were a little more fatigued than they should’ve been but my breathing was perfect. I just had to keep riding the line. The problem was that I couldn’t motivate myself to do it.
I tried to stay in contact with a couple runners ahead of me but I could never really catch them. Then I noticed we were all slowing down a bit, but I still wasn’t catching anyone. Heading out on PCH in this race is tough because you’re ready to turn around for about 2 miles. That’s where I was yesterday, so you can see what’s coming. I just wanted to be done. I felt myself easing off the throttle and giving up. I just couldn’t push myself and ride that line of discomfort you encounter in the half marathon. I was running alone (while passing tons of 4 hour marathoners) and that was the death of me. I dropped from 5:50 to 6:00 to 6:10. I picked it up in a few places when people caught me. I tried to pull myself along with their gravity, but I was fighting the same battle every time. My body wanted me to quit and just didn’t care about the time. That was hard to take. The fire was gone. I ran into a side stitch at 12, which I’m beginning to think is form related. I’m going to put in more core work because I think I was losing form at this point. I stopped to walk for a moment, but then shook it off. I was jogging it in until I caught up to another guy who was falling back. I said some encouraging words and we hung on together until the finish. That made things a lot easier. When I saw I was close to 1:19 I sprinted to get in under the time. My final time was 1:18:56. A course PR by one single second. The first half I ran 5:50/mi, the second half I ran 6:10/mi. It was a very defeated feeling.
But now I know what I have to do. I need a break. I’m going to take some time off from running and I’m not coming back until I feel like it. I need to get the fire back or it’s just not fun. I can push myself to the limit when the motivation is there, but when I’m burned out like this I’m a leaf in the wind. And last week I also ended a relationship, so that was mentally draining as well. The well is dry.. so let us sit and wait for the rain.