In hindsight, I might find my title a tad dramatic but as I sit here slathered in diaper cream with my elbows propped out I stand firm.
In Ottawa it was Race Weekend, thousands and thousands of people flock downtown to run varying distances starting at 2 k and heading upwards to 59.2 k. This was going to be my first PB one year after my epic and tearful joy of crossing the finish line in 2016.
I started the training off with what I felt was a reasonable goal of 2:30 (last year was 2:55 after hot weather and a long bathroom line wait). As I missed a couple of key long runs and started to experience some calf tightness I thought 2:45 was still a solid goal.
Sunday morning, I lined up at the back of the crowd, and took in the excitement as the giant Canadian flag passed overhead. I was nervous but no matter what the race distance I always had those butterflies. The gun went off and after a slow walk to the start I was off. The first couple of km’s felt light and easy not very usual for me because usually I trudge through the first 3 – 4 k before my legs remember what they are supposed to do. It was so hot. Not cancel the race hot but the sun was in full force with no cloud coverage and I was sweating. I took the opportunity to run through every sprinkler and dumped some water on my head at every water station at about 8 k. Which was probably my downfall.
Last year’s Race Weekend, everyone knew it was going to be hot. There was talk about canceling the race, so that tempered my expectations. I went into it knowing that no matter what it was going to be a PB and I was going to take it easy because I didn’t want to be the one on the side of the road. This year it was going to be warm but it looked manageable. I even went with a water belt instead of my trusty water backpack.
At about 10 k I started to notice how uncomfortable I was. There was definitely some rubbing happening. As a plus size runner and avid dress wearer I know chafing. I am armed with an array of supplies to help keep it at bay but this morning I had failed to prepare. I thought I was safe wearing an outfit that was considered tried and true over multiple training runs. I was wrong. My arm was getting raw from rubbing on my shirt, underneath my bra was beginning to cause such unpleasantness that I took to tucking in my t-shirt below it, my legs ached in a way that made me think I forgot to wear pants.
What was happening?! Why was I falling apart like this? I would try to run for several minutes only to slow down to try to ease the discomfort I felt. I watched my time goal slip away.
Less than 3 k left to go. I looked at my watch and saw if I could run the last bit I could at least beat last years time… I rallied for a bit but it wasn’t enough. I accepted what was happening and moved as quickly as I was physically able to the finish line. I was just over 3 hours. Looking at my pictures, I can’t believe I crossed the line.
Crossing the line, I was so angry with myself. I replayed every thing I did wrong in the last 16 weeks. I wasn’t eating as well as I could have. My practice run was a disaster clothing wise. I hadn’t nailed down a solid nutrition plan. My mental game wasn’t in check after two weeks of bad runs. I wasn’t stretching or foam rolling enough.
Going into the evening I tried to shake it off. I was in a foul mood, a toddler who throws a tantrum in a grocery store. Thankfully my roommate is a truly kind person who met me at the end of the race as a surprise, tolerated my incessant whines and slow walking. Then drove me to the drug store to get the diaper cream to help soothe the chafing I experienced.
Eventually I was able to rationalize with myself. This was second half race, I had grand ideas of crushing last year’s time. I forgot that Sunday morning I got up and ran a freaking half marathon. Despite some crazy hours and life stressors I got up and ran a half marathon. In the first real heat I’ve experienced this year. I ran I half. I have to cut myself some slack.
Today, the chafing is terrible. I can barely cope with the sports bra and I’m walking like a line backer. My clothes are covered in white cream BUT my muscles feel fine. I have no residual aches, even though I ran a half marathon yesterday. I also have a second half just 16 weeks away to prepare for. Another chance to work the program to get to the goals I want to achieve.