I am the new me. Rotating Header Image

The Race Course that (almost) Broke me.

When you set a goal that is to simply ‘finish’ a half marathon, that seems perfectly reasonable & within your grasp. It should be pretty simple really, especially when it is your 6th half marathon in 6 months.

But when that half marathon is the ONLY race out of over 25 races you’ve started, that you did not finish, that weighs on the back of your mind.

You tell yourself “the only reason I didn’t finish last year was because I was injured” but you don’t listen. All you know is that last year, at the 8k mark, you had to ask a race marshal for a ride to the finish line because you couldn’t take another step. All you know is that after this race, last year, you were out of the game for 8 weeks and that recovery was long and hard.

You distract yourself with friends and fun and hot cocoa, and go to bed.

The next morning you go through the familiar pre-race routine. Eat the right breakfast, pack the right things, lace up the shoes and head to the start line.  At this point you’re on auto pilot. Pin on your number, sip some gatorade, strap on the fuel belt, walk to the start line.

The next thing you know it’s “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO” and you’re off.

Then you come around the first corner, and you see that first hill, and all of a sudden all you can think about is last year, and you start feeling phantom pains in your ankle.  But there’s nothing wrong with your ankle, you haven’t had pain there in MONTHS. That injury is long since healed, and you are in the best shape of your life. So why are you feeling this pain, why is your ankle doing this to you?? Is it the course? Is that what causes the pain? Is the course too much for you? Are you going to drop out again this year?

Soon, you settle in to a rhythm, tunes in your ear, running buddy at your side, one foot in front of the other. You zone out and get in to your groove, counting the markers as each kilometer ticks by. The next thing you know, you’ve passed that point where you dropped out last year, and you are that much closer to conquering this race!

You finally start to have some confidence. You finally start to believe you will conquer this race this year, you’re on the home stretch, finally off of the trails and back on to the road. You pass the 18km marker and you think you’re home free.

You were wrong.

Apparently this is where your will to finish this race will be tested. This hill that leads you to the 19km marker is the hardest hill you have ever run in a race.

I have to tell you, I have never in my life wanted to just quit a race and just sit on the side of the road as badly as I did on this hill.

If it wasn’t for my running partner, beside me, reminding me that we were just a couple kilometers from finishing this race, I would have just sat down on the side of the road and quit.  And that feeling was one shared by many of the runners around us on that hill!! That was one heck of a hill to have at the 19K marker of a half marathon.

Until the hill from hell, I had been entertaining the idea of finishing this race under 2 hours. After the hill from hell, I just wanted to finish.

After a minor break down, I pulled myself together, and started off again, up and over the rest of that hill, then downhill for a bit, before the last up hill stretch of the race. Once the 20km marker was in sight, it was all down hill to the finish, where Jen & I crossed, hand in hand, victoriously, at 2:01:03.

Just after the finish, we were greeted by our speedy friend Rebecca, who we had last seen at the start line. She came with Rice Krispie Squares in hand, and I instantly forgot the agony of that hill, and celebrated with my friends.

It was a hard one, but I finished it.

That was my 6th half marathon in 2010, and my 9th since March of 2009.

Now, who’s going to join me for Half marathon #10?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

6 Comments

  1. Skye says:

    Good job Kirsty! A great post about how so much of what we have to conquer in distance running is mental.

    1. iamthenewme says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever had such a mental struggle on a race like I did on Sunday. I just wanted to stop right there ont hat hill and give up!

  2. Bri says:

    Yay good for you for not letting that hill beat you! Will you be doing the Cobble Hill half?

    1. iamthenewme says:

      Cobble Hill Half?? I don’t know of this race. But the way I feel right now, the answer would probably be no. I think that I am mentally drained from Halfs this year. Not sure how motivated I am to run another.

  3. SeaBreeze says:

    What race are you doing for #10?

    1. iamthenewme says:

      I have one I’m leaning towards, but I am still too beaten down from last week to commit!