Monday, August 8, 2011

PW (Personal Win): A Race Recap of RnR Providence Half Marathon

Today I took a lunchtime spinning class.  I'm usually a huge believer in taking the day off completely after a race, but since (I think Becky would agree) we didn't exactly "race," I thought spinning would be a nice active recovery.  I love this lunchtime spin class and wish I could get to it more often (but that whole work thing gets in the way).  During the 45 minute sweat session, our teacher kept reciting the following mantra...
"It's not what you do, it's how you do it."

In the past four years I've been to many of Charlene's classes and she's repeated this line several times.  But today it had a lot of meaning to me...

Yesterday I ran my sixth half marathon in my personal worst (PW) time.  But I had one of the best times in recent memory during a race.  Because it's not about what time I accomplished in those 13.1 miles, its about the fact that I ran side-by-side Becky and finished the race hand-in-hand.  We hit many obstacles along the extremely wet course, but in the end, we had a blast.  Because as my spinning teacher says, "it's not what you do (in this case- it's not about my time) but it's how you do it (crossing the finish line with a close friend...)
Many of you didn't know I was running this half.  Hell, I didn't even know until mid-week.  I had always planned on jumping into the race with Becky to get some mileage in for training for my half-marathon next weekend.  But then Becky emailed me and told me that her mom was injured and I could have her bib.  So I figured why not?  Our plan for the race- stay together as long as possible.
My alarm went off at 4:30am and I was out the door by 5:20 only to sit in traffic getting off the exit to the race.

I parked and made it to the porta potty line 15 minutes before the gun went off.  When Becky and I met up, we tried to get as close as we could to our corral- which I believe was 7.  Unfortunately, we couldn't get any closer than the 12th corral, which meant we were starting with the 2:45 half marathoners.  Yep.  Oh, and did I mention the rain?  We stood there and joked around for twenty plus minutes before we ACTUALLY started the race. So we were pretty soaked before the race even began.

We spent the first several miles dodging other runners.  Around mile 4, Becky didn't feel so hot and I remember telling her how we needed to break this race into three parts.  5 miles, 5 miles and a 5K.  After we got through the first 5 miles, I pretty much knew we were way off pace to break 2 hours or do anything close.  I thought about picking up the pace but that would require leaving Becky, something I definitely didn't want to do.  So we soldiered on and 'had fun' in the process.  I say "had fun" in quotes because obviously looking back it was fun but I'm not sure either of was having a blast at the time.

Around mile 8, Becky told me she needed an emergency bathroom break.  And then followed that up with "If you leave me, I will walk right off this course."  Which made me giggle since we were in the middle of a closed race and it was pouring.  Becky was in and out in no time and we carried on.  From mile 8 on it was my goal to make Becky enjoy the race.  We jumped through puddles, we talked about crazy stuff, we made friends with other runners... we had a good time.  I was constantly yelling at Becky to run next to me and she kept fighting her way even if there were swear words thrown in the mix.

We saw Becky's parents at mile 10ish and it was a great boost.  At that point, we absolutely knew we were going to finish.  I had told Becky from the beginning that I wanted to pick it up at Mile 10 and finish the race strong.  But I knew there was no point.  I wouldn't run a PR, I wouldn't have broken two hours so in my eyes I had two choices: Run ahead and finish a few minutes ahead of Becky or stay with Becky and finish together.  The choice was obvious.
There we go, up the final hill to the finish line.  

Shortly after this, I grabbed Becky's hand and we ran through the line together.
(Okay okay...maybe that's not really me and that's not really the finish line, but that's what Becky and I looked like!)  Sorry Lauren, I told you I would have to photoshop you out : )

So there you have it.  I finished my 6th Half-Marathon in my Personal Worst time. 25 minutes off my personal best time in fact.  But in my opinion, it was a Personal Win because I accomplished two things- 1) running an entire race with Becky and 2) proving to myself that I CAN in fact run 13.1 miles EVEN when I'm not in the best of shape.
In the end I'm extremely happy with this race and I'm not even that sore today!

Next weekend I plan to pace Theo to a sub 2 hour finish and I'm confident we can do it. (However, after Theo's Long Run on Saturday, she may be pacing me : ) I'll always prefer running distance races with friends and I hope to have another wonderful race with Theodora in a little under a week!

Have you ever raced in torrential downpour?


  1. Thanks a lot, jerk!!!

    I mean - congratulations!! I'm glad you two stuck together and made the most of the race. And I think it's awesome that you finished the entire distance. I always knew you could do it. :) I also love that mantra from your spin instructor. It's such a great way to look at things. I think I'm going to start using it.

    Also - I know that you're going to crush two hours next week!

    And even though I'm so hurt and sad that you cut me out of that picture... I have to admit it made me laugh. :)

  2. nice work, Lizzy! I knew you could do it :) Racing with friends is always a win, even in less than ideal conditions! Looks like it was rough out there. I've raced in downpours a few times and it wasn't super fun at all - I hate when my shoes get filled with water and get all squishy.

    I did feel extra badass after finishing those races, though, and it always makes for a good story!

  3. I love that quote -- its very similar to a fave quote of mine by Lou Hotlz ("Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.") Looks like you and your friend had extra great attitudes, especially to get through that rain!


  4. I ran a half marathon two years ago in the pouring rain. It wasn't bad except that I was really worried that my ipod would die.

  5. I love this recap! I'm so glad you and Becky were there for each other and did it. I know you haven't been doing high mileage, but I never doubted your ability to finish. Great job Lizzy! And amazing attitude as always :)

    And I love what you did to Lauren haha!

  6. Can we hold hands at the finish line too, then?

  7. I love this recap!!! That race was tough and the rain was simply relentless but you gals pulled it off!! Good job.

  8. Your attitude is so refreshing! Glad you saw the silver lining, even if it was your best time. Rainy races can definitely be rough!

  9. I will never understand when you say you are out of shape! you are the most in shape person I know!! this was such a great race recap. way to stick it out with becky the entire way through. you are such a good running bud!

  10. Sounds like you had a blast just having "fun" and running with Becky!!

    And yes that is Jocelyn! Actually all those girls know kate, the blond lived with her and Jocelyn junior and senior year, and the other girl Wendy was one of kates roomates after college! Too funny!

  11. Awesome job staying there with your friend. Those are the best times to remember and shows what a great running buddy you are.

    Never have raced in a downpour. Did run in one once just to give it a try though!

  12. LOVE this post! I'm glad you had such a fun time...some races should be just about having fun after all!

  13. Sorry it took me forever to comment!

    I loved reading your recap and I loved running with you even more. I may not have had the best race of my life, but it was so awesome to have you there to keep me going...and keep me laughing! That was certainly a memorable race!

  14. This is a wonderful recap, Lizzy! I just read Becky's as well, and I am so glad you two ran together! It just shows, running and racing are about so much more than time, and when you see that firsthand and have fun running your slowest race, it really puts it in perspective. This really warmed my heart, and I'm so glad you girls had fun in the rain and didn't give up. Hope I get to see you soon - miss you!!

  15. i did a tri in a complete downpour... oh, and the ras na hirean two years ago... i'd have to say biking is worse, the rain felt like hail! but this sounds like just the kind of "race" you needed :)

  16. I almost signed up for this one, but I was afraid it would be too hot and I would melt. I would love to run with someone the whole time - sounds fun :)

  17. Just more proof that running for fun, not for time, is where your heart is. Follow it!