Sunday, October 27, 2013

2013 Monster Dash Race Report

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that yesterday didn't go as well as I had hoped.It was a really rough race for me, mentally and physically.My goal of finishing under 3:00 didn't happen, I came in at 3:03:41 (my first half was 3:01:20).

Yes, I finished.Yes, I ran with an amazing team and helped raise money for 26 people.Yes, I ran while I was fighting a cold.Yes, I am still frustrated and a little bit sad.....and if I have learned anything while working with our therapist over the past couple of months, it is that I am allowed to feel the way I feel, even if it isn't the way I "should" be feeling.

When you train hard for 12 whole weeks and put in the work to improve your time and then everything your body knew about running seems to completely vanish at the start of the race, it is a hard thing to accept.

I was prepared, but for whatever reason, it just wasn't my day.

I don't know if it was the Sudafed I had to take just so I could breathe out of my nose, the fact that I was fighting a cold, or that my head just couldn't seem to get in it yesterday, but it was rough.

Around 6:45am I headed downtown to park and walk to the Cathedral for our Team World Vision (TWV from here on out) picture.I was really thankful when I realized that I was pulling into the parking garage right behind a friend and fellow TWV runner.We walked the .6 miles to the Cathedral and found a place to hang out hidden from the wind and watched the sun come up over St. Paul from the steps of the Cathedral, it was a great way to start the morning.Members from TWV slowly started gathering and eventually there was a whole lot of orange on the steps.We lined up for a picture followed by a pep talk and rally clap.I LOVED being part of this team - it was an honor to run with people who run for a reason.

Here is the entire TWV group

After the picture, we still had quite a bit of time to kill before the race.I saw some of my fellow White Bear Lake Campus team members and chatted with them for a bit before heading to the bathroom and bag drop and eventually into the starting chute to start mentally preparing myself.

I found the 3:00 pacer and planned to stick by him for the first half of the race.8:30 finally came and I was ready to go, but there were issues with the timing mat so the start was slightly delayed and we didn't get going until 8:45.I WAS FREEZING!I should have waited a little bit before dropping my jacket or worn more layers that I could shed because I never warmed up.

As we crossed the starting line, I tried to keep the pacer in sight.I was being so intentional about staring slowly and felt like I was doing a pretty decent job since I was staying with the pacer and I was also behind a woman that I remember following for most of the Minneapolis Half Marathon (she has a very distinct stride so I remembered her immediately).We hit the 1 mile mark and I glanced at my watch and my pace was around 12:30, which was faster than I wanted to be at that point.I thought I slowed myself down, but we got to mile 2 and I was still right around the same pace.2 miles in I already had to pee and I was really thirsty and I started to feel a little bit dizzy, I checked my heart rate and it read 208 (my average for long runs has been in the 147-157 range)....I knew then that this was going to be rough.I'm blaming the Sudafed for all of it.

I grabbed some water at mile 3 and contemplated stopping to use the bathroom but the line was really long and I didn't want to wait, I decided to keep going and hoped that the crowd would be thinned out a bit by the next stop and I wouldn't have to wait as long.We headed to mile 5 and the down hill portion was underway, I should have been feeling good, but still had to pee and it was all I could think about.There was another water stop and restrooms at mile 5...again, the line was REALLY long and I didn't want to wait so I kept going.It was at this point that my lungs started to burn and my calves started to cramp.I have never cramped while running before.I slowed it down a bit and kept running, knowing that James and the kiddos were going to be waiting around mile 6.I spotted them from pretty far behind and fought back the tears as I got closer.I gave some high five's to my sister and her husband and gave the kids a hug and told James through tears as I left, "I started too fast, pray".He gave me an assuring, "you'll be fine" and I continued on my way.

I made it to around mile 6.25 before I completely hit the infamous wall.I stopped to take a brief walking break because I started to feel like I was going to puke and was still feeling really dizzy.There was a water/potty stop around mile 6.5 and I finally decided to stop because the line wasn't as bad as they had been and I needed to refuel.I had a few of my Honey Stinger Chews while I waited in line and I watched the minutes go by on my watch while the line didn't move.After waiting for four minutes with very little progress in the line, I decided to just keep going and stop at the next one.

The next 6.6 miles were filled with tears, frustration and defeat, but there were still some moments of beauty where God decided to remind me that he was still with me even though I felt as though I had entered some layer of hell.I am quite certain that if I hadn't been running this race for a bigger purpose and as part of a team, I would have called it quits somewhere along the way.Around mile 7.5 a man in a clown wig came up next to me and started talking, I pulled out my ear buds so I could hear him and realized he was talking about my orange shoelaces (the reward for raising $500 for TWV) and how great they were.I glanced at his feet and realized that he also had them.He didn't have a jersey on, but this guy was on my team.He gave me a few more words of comfort and wisdom, told me to have a great race and was on his way.I put my ear buds back in and Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) was on.I immediately knew that God had orchestrated that moment.I knew that all across the course, there were runners before me and runners behind me that were all part of God's army, maybe not angels, but all there for the same purpose.My path was filled with love and grace, no matter how horrible it got for me.

He gave me the strength I needed to keep going and I finally made it to a bathroom with only 4 people in line at mile 9.5 and decided to stop.Another TWV member joined me and we chatted for a while, trying to offer each other encouragement when it was obvious that we were both completely drained.I did my business and headed on my way after offering some parting encouragement for my fellow TWV runner.The 10 mile finish line was really tempting and I contemplated just calling it quits there, but ultimately decided to keep going.I had run a couple of training runs on the last stretch of the race so I was familiar with what was ahead of me and knew I could do it.Every time I passed a mile marker sign I checked my watch to try and figure out what I would have to do to meet my goal and every time I looked, my sub 3:00 time slipped further and further from my grasp.

I tore out my ear buds around mile 11 when I realized that my music seemed to frustrate me more than it was helping me.I wasn't able to focus and I knew that if I was going to finish this thing, I needed to spend the rest of the race in prayer.Seeing the mile 13 mark and the finish line was the most beloved vision I have ever seen in my life.I gave everything I had over that last .1 mile and finally made it across the finish line with my husband and two kids watching and cheering me on.

I walked over to the barrier and waited for my family to join me.I got a ton of hugs, those warm little bodies felt so nice on my freezing cold legs.

James knew instantly that I wasn't happy with this and tried to offer me many words of encouragement.I wasn't having any of it.He was illegally parked and needed to get back to his car quickly, so after we snapped some pictures, I told them to head home because I was just going to grab my stuff and head home.

I got my coat, headed to the TWV tent to get some food since they were out of the post-race food bags and grabbed half a sandwich and headed back to my car.The minute I got in and shut the door I started sobbing.I cried most of the way home.I knew that the minute I walked in the door I'd be greeted with excitement and congratulations from my mom and mother in law, and I just wasn't ready to receive it.I did my best to try and be appreciative of their praise but I know I wasn't very good at it.I quickly rushed into the bathroom and got into the hottest shower I have taken in a very long time.It was cleansing in many ways.

I finished getting cleaned up and James headed out to get me an Ultimate Porker from Jimmy John' always seems to be my post-race meal of choice.

After eating and sitting around for a while, I realized that I needed to get Rory to a birthday party soon, so it was time to get moving again.It was nice to just watch a bunch of 5 year olds having the time of their lives at Sky Zone and not really have to think about anything.I had a nice chat with one of my friends who also had a daughter there and started to feel better.

After the party we headed to church.Worship was wonderful and the message was great.I got a lot of great hugs and left feeling pretty much back to normal.

I have had so many people offering so many extremely kind and encouraging words about my race and they mean so much to me.It is nice to feel so much love from people during a time when I really needed it.

I hope that some day I will start setting reasonable expectations and start offering some of the grace that I offer others so freely to myself.I could really use some prayers to get there.This has been my struggle for my entire life.I never seem to be good enough for me.If anyone has any book recommendations for working through this, please send them my way!

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what my future with running will look like.After the race yesterday, I kind of just wanted to stop forever.I told myself that I will never be "good enough" and I might as well stop trying.This evening I started thinking that I kind of want to tackle that course on my own as soon as I'm healthy and see what I can do.I just feel like I need a do-over.

I'm kind of all over the spectrum in my head right now and I'm not quite sure what I want to do.Do I keep running and just cut back on distance for a while and try to work on pace?Do I stop running completely until I reach my goal weight and then pick it back up again?Do I do the unthinkable and sign up for the Polar Dash 14 Miler?Am I trying to get healthy or be a distance runner, can they exist together in my life?

I know that I definitely need to do some more work with my thinking and in my head.I am obviously still struggling with a highly distorted view of my own self-worth.I still have a really hard time finding joy and spend far too much time disappointed in myself.I don't know how much of this is just part of who I am and how much of it can be changed with time and that kind of scares me.I am who I am because I set high expectations for myself and push myself to goals, but I also am who I am because I can never stop being critical of myself.

I saw this picture on another blog the other day

It completely resonated with me.Since I never knew anything other than being overweight, I thought that losing the weight would solve a lot of the issues I have with myself.....only it hasn't.I still have weight to lose, but I know now that it isn't going to matter what I look like on the outside or how healthy I am, I need to fix something in my head before I ever call this process complete.
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