Was I overtrained? Yes.
Did I carb-load enough? No.
Did I peak too soon? Yes, for my PR in the Hurricane Half Marathon three weeks ago.
Was the course unexpectedly hilly? Yes.
Does that explain why it took me over 4 hours to run 26.2 miles? No.
Why not? It was mental.
My inner psyche took a real beating and when things started to get tough on Sunday, I gave up. Gave in. Whatever.
I ran a race in more time than I’ve run 28 miles in training. I’m not going to re-visit my training for this race, because I think it was clear I was over-trained (two marathons and a PR’ed half-marathon too close to race day will do that to a gal). Nonetheless overtraining, along with not enough carbs the day before and some unexpected early hills does not explain why I couldn’t maintain my slowest training pace throughout the race.
The few days leading up to the race went well; I tapered, rested and thoroughly enjoyed my time with family in Spokane (also my birthplace). My last few runs went really well, and I felt like I should be able to PR on race morning. I even felt good the first few miles, but after the first hill, my quads were burning.
Just like normal.
Except that I couldn’t get around it. I remembered how my quads burned in my Yasso 800’s 10 days before the race. How they burned in my super easy 6 miles last Sunday. Decided they were a case of overtrained quads, and couldn’t get over it. I couldn’t even zone out and run, like I might in a long run.
At mile 10, my quads still burning, I knew the race was over. I almost quit right then.
If my uncle had been at the halfway point, as we’d planned, I would have quit. Luckily, I didn’t see him until mile 18. I ran the straight and downhill portions of the race, and walked the uphill parts from mile 16 on. By mile 18, I knew that a DNF would affect me even more negatively than this failed race would, so I committed to stick with it for 8.2 more miles.
And I did.
In the photos from the finish I’m smiling because I’m done. No injuries. No mental scars I won’t get over.
I never hit a “groove.” With the first hill, I decided I couldn’t do it, that a BQ wasn’t possible. I focused on my quads, and then my shins, and then my glutes, which I thought were telling me that this was too hard. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy, mile after mile after mile. My confidence in my training, running, and myself was missing.
It was a good day. A good day for a race. It just wasn’t my day.