ANOTHER
MOTHER RUNNER

Martini Fridays: Nope.

To make your morning as suspense-free as possible, I not only did NOT hit my goal time of 2:30, I also did NOT hit my (revised at mile three) goal time of 2:40. I did, however, finish the dang Old Port Half Marathon, which was NOT a given around mile 8 or so.

And, yeah, I’m pretty bummed.

The night before the race went as perfectly as it could have. I hooked up with BAMR Lisa, we picked up our bibs, and had pasta for dinner. I visualized a strong race and turned off my reading light at a reasonable hour.

 

Flat Adrienne is ready.
Flat Adrienne is ready.

We were up at 5:15 a.m. While Lisa TCB in the bathroom, I noticed that the sun was already up. Oh, dear, I thought. That isn’t ideal. I doubled-down on my visualizations and pulled on all of my gear. I slurped down coffee and a dry bagel on the way to the car.

Oh, dear, I thought, as I realized sweat was already running down my back just from our short stroll from parking lot to starting corral. This is really not ideal. And then I might have quietly panicked a little bit, because the sun is the Voldemort to my Hermione Grainger, who is my favorite hero if only because we have the same hair.

The race started.

I stuck with pacer (and BAMR) Erica for the first two miles and felt pretty good. This will all be OK, I thought, no matter what Voldesun decides to do. I slowed down just a smidgen when we went up the first hill. Herr Garmin said I was clocking an 11:08 mile and that felt waaaaay too fast. They’ll slow down and I’ll speed up once I catch my breath, I thought. No worries.

BAMR Lisa and I wait by the water for the start.
BAMR Lisa and I wait by the water for the start.

Only it was then that my brain realized how hot I was and how thirsty. I sucked down a GU and some water, which immediately then felt like it was going to come right back up. I slowed down to see if I was going to barf, and in slowing down, knocked the wheels right off of my race.

Around mile 6, I decided I hated running and races and all of the folks on their lawns offering encouragement. By mile 8, which is when the course makes a four-mile loop around the back cove, where there is almost no cover or breeze, I’d started just taking cups of water at stops so that I could dump them over my head and down my shirt. Every half mile or so, I’d break out in a cold sweat, feel like I was going to barf again, and wonder if this is what heat stroke feels like.

This was the closest I’ve ever come to just lying down and whimpering “nope” while all the other runners stepped over me. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so dispirited or felt so empty.

The Back Cove is the blue circular bit. It was decidedly un-fun. Scenic, though.
The Back Cove is the blue circular bit. It was decidedly un-fun. Scenic, though.

And, yet, I didn’t. Some of this is because Lisa wouldn’t have let me, unless I really was on the brink of death, which I suspect she could figure out because she is a nurse in her non-running life. Some of it was because the RaceJoy app allowed my husband to send  “cheers,” which were little sound files that went straight to my earbuds and made me smile. Some of it was knowing how much support all the BAMRs have given me, including a BAMR that we’d met in the parking lot who was about to run her second half. It’s humbling to be a part of this community.

But, really, what got me through was a runner behind me who seemed to be having as lousy a time as I was. We kept passing each other during the last five miles. At one point, just under her breath, she muttered, “I’m just so angry that this race isn’t over yet.”

Me, too, sister. I thought. I, too, am filled with rage because I’m still out here, still running, still nowhere near the end, still imperfect. Anger, it turns out, can be one hell of a motivator.

So I finished the damn race — even though the temptation to join a yoga class that had convened on the beach just past mile 12 was greater than I can describe. Not because I wanted to do a down dog but because corpse pose right then would have been amazing.

Around the last turn I saw my husband, kids, dog, pacer Erica, and Quinn, one of my college friends who now lives near Bath. Lisa, Erica, Quinn, and my daughter Maddy ran the last bit with me. They claim it couldn’t have been more than 400 yards, I swear it was about 40 miles. I collected my medal and a bottle of water. Maddy had woven a clover flower chain while waiting for me to lurch into sight and placed it over my head, which was worth more than the medal, if less durable.

It’s a bummer. I feel like I let the team down, even though I know this team supports me no matter what. I feel like I let myself down, too — but I also know that Wineglass is in a) October in b) Upstate New York and c) is largely downhill. There is always another opportunity. Coach Christine is devising a plan and, on the whole, my failure-to-success ratio, with “success” defined as “finishing,” remains high.

On the upside, I got to run with Erica and Lisa, who are full of grit and moxie.
On the upside, I got to run with Erica and Lisa, who are full of grit and moxie.

I never did get that pie, because the barfiness took a good long time to pass. But next time, there shall be pie.

My daughter’s flower chain was worth more to me than the medal. What is your personal running-related prize?

37 responses to “Martini Fridays: Nope.

  1. I appreciate you sharing your story. We have all had tough days and you stuck with it and finished which is a huge accomplishment. I hope that can give you some peace. Keep running girl!

  2. I have to say that I enjoy these kinds of race recaps WAY more than the ones where the writer is all “I shaved 3 minutes off my original PR and didn’t even try!!!” Or even the ones that are like “I made my goal and it was awesome”.

    Why would I say that? Do I love watching people suffer or what?!?! No…actually, I like that you are REAL and I like that I can RELATE. I swear I have always had the same thoughts and feelings during a half marathon – even when I got my PR in the half (as woefully slow as it is) my main thought through the entire race was “people just weren’t MEANT to run this far!!!!”

    I like that I see ME in YOU. I like that you aren’t like all the other runners that are out there killing it. I like that you have doubts and struggle. I like that you are brave enough to share that with all of us so that we know that in our own suffering, we are not alone.

    Thank you!!!

    P.S. – I’m very sorry you didn’t make your A or B time goal, but I know that you rocked it and will continue to do so!!! Keep sharing the journey with us, you BAMR, you!!! 🙂 <3

  3. I’ve run this half twice now; it gets increasingly worse each time. The heat and humidity in July in Maine can be unreal, and that back cove just sucks the life out of you. Good job in finishing, and you’ll catch that A goal soon!

  4. I saw you at the Old Port Half and so wanted to come over and say HI! But you were with others so I walked by. I ended up finishing about 20 minutes slower than my normal time as well – and was miserable through the heat. It was a beautiful course though! Great job on getting it done – and if you do it again next year – you should try the yoga festival that is going on the same time – I took 2 rolling workshops that day after the race and the next day felt like I never even ran on Saturday!

  5. Sorry to hear you didn’t reach your goal, but not surprised. It’s hard to PR on hot days. Wine glass awaits !!!

  6. Congratulations on perservering to the finish! I like to ¨handicap¨ like they do in some other sports. If it´s a super hot day, I give myself a handicap cushion of extra time.

  7. BRAVO to you for finishing in such CRAP! I had a similar experience this spring: got a coach to try for a PR in a half marathon, chose a flat & fast course, worked my ass off, prepared for everything….everything except the horrendous heat that came out of nowhere. Every single person in our group bonked, including myself. 10 min off my goal time. My best prize other than a medal? – it was the very first time that I was in a race and I didn’t beat myself up the entire race — for being too slow, for looking ridiculous in spandex, for not being enough. All the other races, I had PR times. This time, I bonked, but I felt like I won. I wish you MUCH luck in your fall race!!!!!!I will be following you 🙂

  8. Adrienne!! It’s me Veronica, from the parking lot! First of all I want to say, DON’T be down on yourself for that race. The important thing is, you didn’t lay down and give up, you finished!!! That may have not been your plan A or B goals, but you did it!! Having ran that race…it was BRUTAL!!!!! As you know it was HOT, HILLY, but BEAUTIFUL. My legs hurt for days after and it was more from the down hills which were just as bad as going up the hills. Just remember, you cannot control all the elements, you put in the hard work training and this will carry you to the Wine Glass. Thank you for your inspiration and making me feel part of the BAMR community!!
    ~Veronica

  9. Thank you for the sharing the good (love the flower chain), the bad, and the ugly of your race. My most recent HM I set a time goal, something I hadn’t done in a while. I knew it was attainable. My body could put in the performance. So . . . then my mind lost focus and I missed the goal. And went into a running funk, really questioning why run. Thanks to my running tribe and a shift in focus, I’m coming out of the funk. Best non-running prize – my first marathon and what felt like a failure on some levels – two of my children joining me on the course as I walked, as I limped, and as I jogged and sobbed my way through the final miles. Best experience ever!

  10. I feel you, you are not alone. I spend part of every. single. race. being angry because I am miserable and NO ONE else seems to be suffering. Which begs the question, why do I do this? Wish I knew! Just seems to be what I do, and training keeps me off the couch. And out of the fridge!
    Keep inspiring us!

  11. I love this post. It is so nice to know I am not alone. I “ran” (if you can call it that) my fourth half in February 2015, and registered a personal worst in my times by at least 20 minutes. I have been discouraged this whole spring and summer. I thought running was supposed to get easier, not harder with a few years of experience!! I find myself gearing up for my fourth Hood to Coast relay at the end of August, and fighting the negative thoughts on every run. THANK YOU for finishing and pressing forward, you have EARNED your BAMR title… and so will I! My personal running prize was given to me by my daughter who was in Kindergarten at the time I finished my first Hood to Coast. It was a card that read “grALAtnn (congratulations) mommy you DiDa grAt (great) joB”. She’s going into fourth grade know and I still keep a picture of this on my phone for inspiration ❤️❤️❤️

  12. I stopped running in October 2013 after my first half marathon. I had a very similar experience as you, Adrienne…except I also ended with the joy of a stress fracture. I’ve been afraid to run since then (it was my second stress fracture and I’ve had other running related issues). I even stopped reading this blog, put away my “run like a mother” books and “badass mother runner” tank top, and generally threw myself a gigantic pity party. My celebration included a lovely weight gain as well.

    Seconds ago I downloaded Hal Higdon’s novice half marathon training program. Then i came to this site. And this was the first article i’ve read on this site in almost two years. Perfect timing. This is beyond inspiring. Thank you for being so open with your thoughts and experiences that day. And so I will start from the beginning and in 2016 I’ll do that @#$# race again. Thank you.

  13. Love LOVE love the Voldesun comment. I am with you on that one — am also a huge Harry Potter fan — I am also “afeared” of the sun: I met a really nice EMT during one half marathon because it was too hot and humid for me. Add in that I burn even thinking about sun, sunscreen or not, and you have a cocktail for Voldaster…HermHell….you choose. I applaud you for sticking it out. You have more than earned your martini, your pie, your BAMR status. If you are ever in Philly area, let me know so we can go for a run — I would be Herhonored.

  14. “This was the closest I’ve ever come to just lying down and whimpering “nope” while all the other runners stepped over me.” While I hate that you had to write this line, I have to tell you that it made me smile. What the race lacked in good conditions, you made up for with wit. You need to give yourself credit for running a half in July. I did RnR Chicago in 2010, and the last miles were a flipping death march. The frozen ice treat (my writers know the more common word is a trademark) at the finish never looked so good. Best wishes for a great Wineglass!

  15. Adrienne – you don’t know how much I needed this story right now. Your description of mile 6-8 which could have been a transcript straight out of my head. Especially the “so this is what heat stroke feels like” thoughts. I ran a 10k that same day that didn’t start until 10am. 10am in JULY!! Down the shoulder of a highway with no shade until km 9. What were they (I) thinking?! I need a decent 10k time before Aug 4 for the Disney Wine & Dine so options are limited. Not only didn’t I get a “decent time” but I have been questioning whether I even want to continue running. Good thing I’ve already paid my race registrations through the end of the year.
    But at least I no longer feel like I’m the only one who had this experience. And if you can make it 13 miles in that and continue to run, (I guess) I can too. Maybe our training will pay off eventually. Though maybe not until fall weather rolls in. 😉

  16. Was definitely thinking of you and hoping that the gods were sending cool mist-filled breezes your way for the race duration. I’m sorry you missed your goal. You trained hard. There was one year at Twin Cities when I trained. My. Ass. Off. I went in soo ready, only to be met with scorching heat and humidity. Like you, I was sweating before the race started. Yeah, the race goal got seriously adjusted; I was just trying to make it across the line alive. It totally sucks, but I tell myself that if I hadn’t trained that well, there was no way I would’ve finished that race.

    Hitting your race goals is awesome when it happens, but the ones I remember the most are the shitty races where I really dug deep to get across the line. You are a bad ass through and through, Martini.

  17. I realize this is possibly not comforting at all, but this post is the opposite of letting the team down. In many ways, I think a post like this is even more inspirational than a glowy “I hit my goal!” post, because you’re saying that this race sucked the big one and you did it anyway. Not only do we support you no matter what, we support you (and each other) because you are us. We’ve all been there, all had that shitty run that made us want to quit and then preferably die. The fact that you did neither of those things just cements your status as a BAMR. Also, I am so freaking excited to (hopefully) meet you at Wineglass!!!

  18. Crappy races are the worst, especially when you’ve been training for a specific goal and it doesn’t work out accordingly. Proud of you for sticking through it, not giving up on yourself and for recognizing what the “real medal” is all about. You are inspiration to us all.

  19. Ugh. I’m sorry you had such a nasty race. I’ve only done a half marathon once. I chose one in November, thinking it would be nice and cool. It hit 80 around the time I crossed the finish line. Add in a tremendous hill at mile 9, poor marking so I ran extra, you get the idea. I feel your pain, sister!

  20. This course was brutal! I totally agree with you, but don’t think you emphasized how surprisingly terrible that first hill was. I am running a half in every state and Old Port was my 40th state. The good news for others that want to run this one, is that Portland, Maine is an amazing city to visit. The restaurants, shops and atmosphere are worth the trip. Stay a few days so that the race is just a small part of the adventure.

  21. I completely hear you on heat/sun being Voldemort to your Hermione. I hate heat (seriously, I break out in hives at about 78* F regardless of what I’m doing), I burn in five minutes, and it was HOT at my half and I was really quite pi$$y about it at about mile 7 when I first bonked. But hey, heat happens, we get through it, and you DID it.

    My favorite non-medal prize? From my first 10K. My not-quite-three-year-old-son on video, yelling “Good job Momma!”. Can’t beat that!

  22. My “I hate all things running related why in the hell am I doing this I want to crawl into a bar and sleep under the craps table” race was RnR Las Vegas 2012. I didn’t even have a goal; I just wanted to have a good time and to finish, and for some reason, it SUUUUUCKED. My hubby ran the full at the same time that I ran the half, and I knew that when he was texting me, he was having an equally crappy race. Neither one of us can really pinpoint WHY, but there is no denying that it was the absolute worst.
    I think it sucks that you didn’t meet your goal, but especially that you feel bad about it. But I think it’s kinda cool and a little badass that you have a “that race was horrid and I wanted to die” story now.

  23. Way to hang tough and finish under crappy conditions! I just adore you and your column! I find you so encouraging – and funny – and you always make my day! Thanks for being your authentic self and putting it all out there! Congrats on finishing – that takes a lot of mental grit!

  24. I have run that race three times. Every time I run it I swear I will not do it again. Because it is July and hot and hilly. But notice I have done it three times, so my resolution is obviously not fabulous 🙂 My point being, that is a tough course and a tough race at a tough time of year. Finishing it is an accomplishment! And I can sincerely say that the grit needed to finish that race will serve you oh so well in the future. I truly believe the tough ones we finish have much more value than the easy ones we fly through. So congratulations!

  25. Every finish is a win in my book. You trained well, sounds like your night before the race was “tits-on” as my husband likes to say, and you successfully controlled what could be controlled that day. As many times as I’ve tried to force a time knowing that I am ready, but the conditions weren’t, I’ve felt like I’ve come up short and somehow didn’t respect my training or let all the people supporting me down. This is absolutely not true and in my opinion, if you reach your goal the first time or even the second time when you attempt it, it wasn’t hard enough. You’ll get it — I know you will.

  26. Yay! You finished! I think that we should not set time goals and PR goals in humidity….. You just can’t account for how much it will slow you down. I made myself a “mother runner” necklace with the birthstones of my kids from the amr website….a nice gift to self:)

  27. I totally fee that feel you and your frustration on weather and unexpected events at a race. My first half was supposed to be “scenic, with rolling hills”. It was not. It was hilly and hotter than Hades. I finished but felt no joy, just exhaustion. My solution. Although that race is very convenient to my home, I am NEVER doing it again. Bad karma. Moving on and moving forward. The Wineglass sounds like it is made for you! Go for it!

  28. I want to be your friend! With all your Harry Potter references, I know we’d be great friends. Even though I’m in Slytherin. Voldesun slays me too. You need to use a shield charm maybe!
    What is worth so much more than my marathon finisher’s medal is that my husband surprised me by arranging for some friends to get our kids and bring them to mile 20. (He was running the half) I was struggling at that point and didn’t even recognise them. I read one sign that said “Go supermom, running her first marathon!” and I thought how sweet that some child did that. Then I really looked and recognized that it was my family! Absolutely better than any medal.

  29. Sun, heat, and humidity are the devil! I swear they almost killed me during a 15k race on July 4th a few years ago. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? You pushed through the awfulness and finished and that is awesome!! Everyone has a race that doesn’t go well for one reason or another. It’s important to learn from those experiences. Like never sign up again for a 15k race that starts at 8 am with limited shade on July 4th, just no.

    Hopefully Wineglass will be so much better. I’ll be there as well, running the half. So the weather better not be hot and humid! I’ll be training and spending the weekend with some of my BRFs, so I can’t wait!!

  30. I am so sorry your race didn’t turn out as you hoped…I have had a couple races where the sun and heat totally messed me up. I find myself getting slower and walking more starting in July and I get so discouraged, and then I realize this happens every summer with the heat and humidity and it will be better as soon as it is cooler. Wineglass should hopefully be a much better experience!

  31. I believe you just described my last half. I’d trained for sub 2:30 – and finished well… it was so bad I don’t even remember it. Hot, humid, miserable. But do not be discouraged. We never know what our body is going to do the day of… I will say that just because we have a plan, we follow a plan, we rock those training negative splits doing 10:30 miles at mile 11 – on the day of our body has its own agenda. Finishing is not failure! And considering you finished, you kicked Voldesun’s butt!

  32. You sound way too hard on yourself. So it didn’t work out like you thought. It was miserable. I’ve checked feeling miserable during a race many times. The fact is that you stuck with it. And even though you might not be pleased with your physical performance, you gained mental strength. Gutting it out and not quitting is huge. That’s one of the lasting benefits of endurance events. Mental toughness that will spill over into all areas of life.

  33. Like everyone else is saying, no matter what, this one is a finish. Everyone has bad races sometimes. If you run enough, its bound to happen. The weather gods, the running gods, the blister gods, someone isn’t going to be in alignment with your plans at one point. The strength here is you got through it. You had the moxy to finish. That part will always be part of you.

    Still thinking on the running related prize-I might add in the friends I made while running my first Ragnar. They’ve been a prize that has lasted a lifetime.

  34. But you finished and the next one hopefully, you will enjoy more. I don’t “get” the being angry the race isn’t over thing….the longer the run the better for me (IF I have trained properly it only makes me happy!)

  35. I serious laughed out loud to your references to Voldesun and running off the course to do a corpse pose. I’m so glad you stuck and it out and finished the race. You are such an inspiration to all of us mother runners, especially newbies like myself. But this post also reinforces my desire NOT to run a half during the brutal summer months. Just praying the September race is a bit cooler. As for rewards, at my last half marathon, my family rewarded me with a Krispy Kreme donut. I honestly don’t remember tasting it as I inhaled it.

  36. You finished. That in itself is an accomplishment. I have noticed the sun is becoming more of a detriment to my running lately. And, Wineglass will be your race.

  37. Sun and heat slay me. Every spring as the heat moves into the area, I go from feeling like a strong, well trained runner to feeling like a mile is more than I can handle. Great job using your anger to fuel your finish. Sometimes we have to use whatever resources are available to get us to the finish line. And if a race knocks you down? There’s always another race…

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