I like my race reports to be positive. Uplifting. Reflective of the accomplishment that is completing any race distance.
But my recap of the Wisconsin half marathon won't be like that. This recap, in fact, will be down right shitty.
After all, when you lose three minutes for a port-a-potty stop at mile 4 to take a dump you tried to take before the race, a runner lacking confidence in herself can let it define her race.
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The Wisconsin race takes place in Kenosha, starting in Harbor Park with beautiful views of Lake Michigan and winds through gorgeous neighborhoods, a lakefront park and to Carthage College before returning. There are some small hills but the race is perfect for a PR on a good day. And a good day it was Saturday. Though I had been worried it would be chillier than I had packed for when we arrived Friday, race day was a crisp day in the 40s with an overcast sky and a breeze - not gusts. Perfect running weather.
Bobbi, Kim and I arrived in Kenosha about 45 minutes before the start and quickly began the meets and greets. I finally got to see Marcia in person, as well as some of the Chicago Running Bloggers contingent, and I chatted with nuunie Lindsay for a few minutes. (Please note: My teammate is a Bodypump devotee. #winning) The race is a big small race (if that makes sense), and it was easy to find people in the crowd.
About 20 minutes till the gun, I decided to hop in the potty line. I was feeling good - having had two decent eliminations before leaving the house - but I had some cramping in the car on the trip up. It could have been period cramps but I didn't want to risk it. When I finally got in to the stall 5 minutes before the start, my body had nothing to give - no matter how much I tried. So I gave up.
I quickly exited and hopped into the mass of runners. There weren't corrals so I just sort of got in the middle and hoped for the best. I later saw some pace signs to help give people a guide but I was already walking toward the line after the gun by that point. Two minutes later, it was time to run.
Thoughts from miles 1-4 (9:04, 8:36, 8:33, 8:33)
Oh, I am not positioned in the right place. Dodge, weave, dodge, weave. Wait. Stop the dodge, weave, dodge, weave. Don't waste energy. Relax. Soak it in. The lake sure is beautiful. These houses are big. I want one. First mile just around 9. Perfect. Water stops and port-a-potties already. No thanks. Man, there's a lot of turns. I don't mind but I bet some people are bitching. I wish I didn't keep my hoodie on. Can I take this off mid-stride without throat-punching someone? Winning! I can. Oh. Shit. I should have gone to the bathroom. I wonder when the next water stop will be. Not at mile 2. My legs feel good. No potties at mile 3. This could be bad. Stay steady. Will the poop away. The mind is powerful. Will it away. Maybe not. I'm prairie doggin'. God I love "Little Miss Sunshine." For the love of heaven, there's a port-a-potty ahead. And a line. But there's no time to be picky. Stop watch. Must know how much time was lost.
Thoughts from miles 5-9 (8:31, 8:52, 8:49, 8:58, 8:40)
Restart watch. Well, there goes any chance for a PR. What should I do now? I could still finish sub-2, maybe. Or I could take it easy. Easy sounds fun. You didn't come here to be easy. Hi, Lindsay! Oh, I like the lake. So pretty. I don't like this hill but it's not as bad as Lexington. There's the front-runners. And is that a guy juggling? While he runs 6-minute miles? That girl looks way too prancy to be running so fast. And happy. I want to shank her. Oooh, there's Kim. She's looking strong. I need to stop being a pansy. Buck up buttercup, you can be strong, too. It's Sarah! Hi, Sarah! Time to turnaround. Turn the beat around. Start spotting your peeps. Bobbi ... cousin Chris ... cousin, Kristen. This is fun. I need more peeps to spot. Mental note: Make more friends.
Thoughts from miles 10-13 (9:17, 8:57, 9:00, 9:45)
I liked running down this hill; it's sort of dumb to run up it. I am ready for this to be over. I think I can finish sub-2 even if I completely blow this. Let's just get this over with. Wait. If you run faster, it will be over faster. Turn it over. Turn it over. OH, there's Kim again. Is she already done? She must have smoked it. Why is she running more miles? Wait. She's not. We have another damn out and back turnaround thingy. This is stupid. I really don't like this anymore. Where is the damn turnaround? A water stop - thank heavens. I can walk. Just to that trash can. OK, the next one. Slow the sips. You can walk as long as you drink.
Thoughts from finish (8:07 pace, MOTOACTV read 13.3, probably because I weaved so much in beginning)
Time to be done. You can do this. Sarah! It's Sarah! "Don't let me finish like an asshole," I told her. Oops, I might have passed her. That was a dick move. I might as well pass someone else. There's that girl I've been jockeying with. She's so special in her cheese crown. NOT. Kick it. Kick it real good. Dun, dun, dun. Damnit, she's kicking it. Bitch. Harder. Bitch. Find more. Bitch. Oh, shit. She crossed first. Stop watch. Stop it. What does it say? 1:58:07. I'll take it.
As I chatted with Sarah and found Kim (near 3-minute PR) and later the other Kim (who almost snaged a pregnant PR) and Bobbi, I was happy with how it turned out. I had ran some strong miles and even some faster at PR pace. It wasn't until I saw the official results, with a chip time of 2:01:10, that I got upset with my race. Not the race - because I have nothing good things to say about it and would highly recommend it - but how I handled it. I didn't stick to my plan and I gave up mentally. I'm fairly confident if I could have stayed mentally in it that I might have been able to squeak under 2 officially.
Even more upsetting is that I've let this affect how I viewed the experience. All the beautiful things I saw, bonds I strengthened and miles I ran were forgotten the moment I saw the official time. And though it's important to set goals and reach for them, it's not the only thing. It's not only succeeding or failing. There's always something more.