Race Recap: Bayshore Half Marathon

I ran this same race last year in 1:57:11, which I wrote about on my old blog if you are interested in reading about it.  This year, I ran a full 20 minutes slower at 2:17:12 (net time).  I can’t even compare the two races though because my circumstances were completely different.  Last year, like this year, I was hurt leading up to the race, but last year, I ran three weeks over 40 miles and many in the 30s in the months leading up to the race, whereas this year I have only been able to run two 20-mile weeks in the last six months.  Last year, I was looking to run a very ambitious 1:45, whereas this year I was hoping to finish.

So, I was wayyy less fit, some might say injured, and generally feeling unprepared for this race.  There had been a few periods leading up to it when I didn’t know if I would even be able to run the race, and it was actually still up in the air until Friday afternoon.  Given all of that, I am very happy with the way things went.

Matt and I drove up to his grandparents’ cabin the day before the race.  We arrived at around 3pm, visited for a bit, and then I decided it was time to see how my hip was feeling (I had taken the previous 9 days off running because it had been bugging me).  We went for a short 20-minute jog and I felt spectacular, even adding two strides onto the end.  That is when I finally decided I would be able to run the race.

We then drove into Traverse City about 45 minutes away to pick up the race packets, which was a breeze.  We had no trouble finding a parking spot and there were no lines, which is a huge difference from last year.  At packet pick-up, they were selling previous years’ shirts for $5, so I bought last year’s half marathon shirt in a size up from the one I got last year.  The shirts run small, but I didn’t quite believe them and I ordered a small that year, which looked like this…

The 2013 Bayshore shirt in a small, oops...

The 2013 Bayshore shirt in a small, oops…

The medium fits great. 🙂

I went to bed around 10:15 on Friday night and wake-up was at 4:15am.  Somehow, I woke up at 4:14, before any alarms had gone off, which was pretty convenient.  I got dressed right away and sat down with some black coffee.  I also spread peanut butter on a plain bagel to bring along and eat at 6am.

We got out the door at 5:15 and Matt’s mom drove his dad and me to the half marathon start 45 minutes away so we wouldn’t have to take a shuttle, which eliminated a lot of stress.   We stood around in the park chatting for quite a while, then I warmed up and it was time for the 7:30 start!

I started with Matt’s dad (Bryan) between the 9-minute and 10-minute pace signs, but quickly fell off.  New to the course this year is an uphill section before joining the main road.  I went out in what felt like a conservative pace and handled the hills just fine–I wasn’t tired at the top and felt better than a lot of the people around me sounded–yay Ann Arbor hills!  After that section, I decided to continue not to push things and hung back, losing Bryan ahead of me for the rest of the race (he ended up finishing about ten minutes before me).

I ran the first 5k in 30 minutes and I was entertaining thoughts of going slightly faster, but that quickly went downhill as the course did.  The course is a net downhill and by mile 5, the fronts of the bottoms of my feet were becoming incredibly painful from sliding forward in my shoes.  I have had this problem before in training, but it has never been quite this painful.  It felt like the bottoms of my feet were on fire and between miles 5 and 8, it got so bad that I felt like I was running on knives.  I’m not exaggerating when I say every step was a mental battle and I thought I might pass out from the pain.  It was a struggle to make it to the halfway point, after which I started walking quite a bit.

So there I was, around mile 7 or 8, walking (which did not hurt) and contemplating.  I could either not finish, I could walk the whole rest of the way, or I could suck it up and keep going.  Sucking it up wasn’t an option, but I didn’t want not finishing to be an option, either.  Well, I am a forefoot striker, and I realized that if I completely changed my stride to heel-strike, kind of like a quick walk/jog, I could run and I could finish.  So that’s what I did.

This is the closest I have to a picture of me.  Mile 9 - I'm in the yellow singlet in the background.

This is the closest I have to a picture of me. Mile 9 – I’m in the yellow singlet in the background.

I ran the last five miles alternating between walking and my awkward heel-strike method.  I would run a mile, take a little break, and then run again.  It felt like it took forever, but this finally got me to the last mile.  I told myself I would run the whole last mile, but not very far into it, I gave up and started walking.  As soon as I did that, a lady about my mom’s age came up from behind me and said, “No, I have been following you this whole race and I am NOT going to beat you.  Come on.”  I started running again and we ran all the way to the finish on the track together, where I pulled away in the last 50 meters or so.  Even though it took a push from someone else, I am very proud of how I finished as strong as I possibly could (and held on for a lot longer than I usually do).  I was in so much pain at the end, from my feet to everything else that comes with being undertrained, yet I was able to push through it and finish literally as fast as I possibly could have in that situation.  I had absolutely nothing left at the end.

My official results

My official results

I don’t have a picture from the finish line because I was a lot more concerned with getting hugs and eating food, but I promise I was there ;), and even though the journey was rough, I’m really glad I was able to complete this race.  In time, I will get back to the level I once was at and then beyond. 🙂

(And in case you were wondering, my feet are perfectly fine, just blistered.  No injuries here.)


14 thoughts on “Race Recap: Bayshore Half Marathon

  1. I’m so impressed that you pushed through! Thankfully *knock on wood* I haven’t yet experienced a truly painful run, and I’m honestly not sure I’d be tough enough mentally to get through it. Way to go!


  2. Ok that woman who came up behind you is awesome! Seriously, I love hearing stories like that…just reminds me of how awesome runners are 🙂 You are a beast for this one girl! Injured going into it, blisters in the middle…I hope you’re proud of yourself 🙂


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