Today was Gina and her husband Steve’s first half marathon, in Irving, Texas! I was honored Gina asked me to be at her first half! It was such a joy to me to hear about her training, and watch her fall more and more in love with running. She (and Steve!) worked so hard for this race and I knew it was going to be a success for them both.
Um, it was a success, but not what we expected. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this disappointed after a race. And not for me – for them. Ugh. But I’ll start at the beginning.
Gina had a sub 2:05/sub 2:00 goal and Steve had a 2:10 goal. We planned to start together (two warmup miles) then Gina and I were going to go ahead.
Awesomely, Steve stuck with us! There wasn’t much talking though – we were pushing it! And we had some challenges with tiny inclines and some interesting weather. The forecast was in the mid 30s (my preferred running temps!!!) but with some loco 18mph winds coming from the north. The course was a bit of a loop (with out and backs) and a little under half of it was head in to these winds. Blah.
I felt good for the first half though, keeping us on sub 2:05 pace. We got to a paved trail midway through and I started to have these “Ugh, why do I do this?!” feelings. Of course, I was undertrained and overfed (in January – ha ha) and still dealing with chest congestion. I was happy to be pushing low 9:00s at all!
But something was worrying me. From the beginning, the mile markers were off. A tenth or so, but we got to “Mile 8″ when my watch said we were at 7.4ish. Gina and I talked about it – I just hoped the mile markers were in the wrong spots and there’d be some realllllly long mile at the end. Um, nope. They got further and further apart. I started to fade at (my) mile 10, so I told Gina to take off at 10.5 and I’d stick with Steve. Only I dropped my glove and had to run back for it so I ran the end with Steve in my sights and Gina ahead of us. I kept yelling for Steve to push it and I was pumped Gina was ahead of us.
Then I saw the finish. And knew the race was going to be quite a bit short, and my spirits fell. And I was confused that the finish was marked by a traffic cone – what happened to the timing equipment and arch we’d seen at the start? We later came to find out it blew over because of the wind, and it seemed you had to tell someone to write down that you finished… which we realized five or so minutes after we finished. Sigh.
I’m so not one to complain about races, but I… just have to for this one. I was extremely disappointed that the race was short. At first we just noticed our watches were off – I got just over 12.5 miles (as did many others). But later “research” (from other people’s posts on Facebook) shows that there were two course maps*. So someone must have been confused when they marked the course, and had a turnaround a street too early. Ugh. Easy mistake to make, but what a bummer. And what a bummer that is what this post became mostly about.
My watch says I ran the course in sub 2:00. Come on! In this shape?! And my “official” time is 2:08?! I knew I was on track for 2:05 (I was using a pace band). If they’re going to have the wrong time and a short course, can they at least have one that makes me look faster?! Ha ha.
But this isn’t even about me. This was about Gina and Steve. It was supposed to be a 13.1 mile celebration. It turned in to a letdown. A new PDR by .5 miles. Whooooo hoooooo. D-e-f-l-a-t-e-d. Ugh. Just ugh. We were in low spirits when we left and it took a few hours to snap out of it.
I normally wouldn’t care, but I think for your first half, you would want it to actually be 13.1 miles. A lot of people are commenting on that Facebook page that they loved it as their first half and many were excited about the huge “PRs.” Ha ha.
The race did do A LOT right. Great volunteers and traffic control. It was awesome to have it at a convention center, with bathrooms and somewhere warm to stay (Steven and Luca hung out there during the race!). The course was decent. It was nice to have the road/trail mix. People were upset about lack of jacket sizes at packet pickup, but that didn’t bug me. And I like the medal. And am excited I got to race in Texas!
And we did have a good time. Any day I can run is a blessing and I am grateful for that. We talked to a few people on the course (one guy also did the COOL 10K!). And man, Gina and Steve were kicking butt. I just wished they could have kicked for .6 more. The whole time during the race, I was thinking the mile markers were just off, and was super pumped to have them be so proud and ecstatic all day. I am SO proud of them. Just bummed, too.
I think a redemption race is in order. Something with a better reputation! Gina and Steve are coming to Chicago to run the Soldier Field 10 Miler in May. At least I know we can rely on Fleet Feet to put on a good race!
*For my notes, we should have gone to O’Connor and not turned at Fuller, in the first mile.