My Dopey training took me to Bachman Lake in Dallas. It is hosted by a small race company and faithfully runs multi-day races multiple times a year. I truly admire those who are able to run multiple half marathons or full marathons in a row. One day maybe I’ll be fit enough to be one of them.
This weekend really tested me, mentally and physically. For many reasons, we had to drive in to Dallas with the cats. They’ve really accepted long car rides as a part of their lives now. It was an 8 hour drive door to door. When we arrived, there was a hotel hiccup that ultimately resulted in us having to move to a different hotel altogether during the half marathon. (Tip: Never stay anywhere near I-35 and Walnut Hill.) Packet pickup was located at the Embassy Suites, which was very close to the race. It was a breeze and I think it was hosted by the race director herself.
There are a few benefits to running these races:
- No time limit for half or full (but they do reserve the right to shut down at sunset)
- Chip timing to keep participants honest
- Enough participants to meet the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs/50 Staters threshold
- Looped course means consistent support and opportunities to visit your car
- Easy access to bathrooms
- Not a lot of trip hazards. There’s one area with some old train tracks where the cement has broken off around it. It is easy to run/walk over if you are careful.
There are two distances on each day: half marathon and full marathon. To meet my Dopey simulation week requirements, I signed up for the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday.
This weekend reinforced a lot of things for me…The harder the race, the better the story. Of course bad races make good blog fodder. However, the bad races are the fun stories we get to recap with running friends during future happy hours, dinners, or whatever. Also, another lesson learned — It can be very difficult to discern the difference between your mind wanting to quit and your body trying to quit. One mental move I surprised myself with was thinking about what was making the run hard, why I was wanting to quit the race, and what would make it better. If something could make my experience better, it was a potentially good idea to continue the race while finding ways to improve my experience. In this case, a few things went wrong simultaneously. First off, my fueling strategy was completely off. Second, the temps had dropped and the wind kicked up earlier than anticipated. Third, something was wrong with my shorts and I felt some chafing coming on. Since my husband was finishing a few hours ahead of me, I asked him to pick up some vaseline, chap stick, warm pants, a full-calorie Coke, and a scratch off lottery ticket. (The scratch off lottery ticket was for fun, perhaps something to look forward to, but alas he could not find any nearby!) With those needs met, I was able to finish the race standing upright and in somewhat decent spirits.
So, the moral of the story is — Before giving up, you should try to mentally unpack what is making you miserable, in what ways you feel discomfort, and strategize how to decrease the level of misery. Once you decrease your level of discomfort, see if that alleviates your misery. If not, then re-evaluate.
Half Marathon Recap: 3:28:44
I really enjoyed my half marathon. Like, really enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a half marathon the way I did in a long time. I’m not sure if it was just because I was revisiting an old race course, or because of the comedy of errors from the night before. It was a peaceful, overcast day. Got a little windy towards the end of the course. I had a lot to look forward to the rest of the day. My energy levels were great and overall I was really satisfied with how I felt towards the end. I felt like I easily met my pace goal of staying ahead of the Disney 16min/mi requirement.
Full Marathon Recap: 9:01:14
I felt pretty beaten up mentally and physically at the end of this race.
Miles 1-3: Could not get comfortable with my shorts and leggings.
Miles 3-6: Did you know that lip balm can be used as an anti-chafe balm? I also discarded my leggings here. Yup, just stripped off my pants next to the timing mat. I had my running shorts on underneath.
Miles 6-12: Got really hungry so I grabbed a bag of goldfish and tried to eat some waffles. Wondered if I was feeling sluggish because of a lack of caffeine or sugar.
Mile 13 – friend!!!! 🥰 with a bag of Disney goldfish!
Mile 13.1: After runner math I realized that I miscalculated the number of loops I had left.
Mile 13.2-15: Erik and I kept missing each other on the course. Most likely ran past one another while the other was in the bathroom. Checked Find My Friends a few times to make sure he was still on the course. Eventually we find each other and are able to chat during his final 1.5 miles. I still had 3 laps (9+) miles left 😭😭😭😭😭😭
Miles 15.01-16.5: Seriously thought about pulling out of the race. Couldn’t tell whether I was mentally or physically checked out. I thought out loud with Erik beside me. What would make this better? Under what conditions would I want to finish? Did this even matter? Were these real, genuine thoughts or was my lizard brain trying to get me to pivot to survival mode? A few moments before the timing mat, I asked Erik to take it slow so I could meander up the hill to get his finish line video.
Mile 17: I ask the lady at the timing mat to confirm the number of laps I had left. They said 3. I died inside. She said I looked good because I was walking. I lingered for a bit and suddenly I started walking again towards the course. I asked Erik to get some pants for me.
Mile 18: There was still time to pull out since Erik was going to meet me at the boat landing? Dam? I asked for a full calorie Coke (very uncharacteristic of me), chap stick, warm pants, and a lotto ticket. He was unable to find said lotto ticket but I felt like I struck gold with the track pants anyway.
Mile 18.1: Some runners from Team Beef were out cheering on other runners. They asked how many laps I had left. I said 2 and even they looked dejected.
Mile 18.5: A Pomeranian on a Sunday stroll passed me. I WAS WALKING SO SLOW THAT A SMALL DOG PASSED ME DURING A MARATHON.
Mile 19: Wondered how much I would regret quitting at this point. How would I feel about this two months from now when my IVF injections restart? I’d effectively be couched. Would I think of this moment fondly or would I shake my head in disbelief?
Mile 19.5: I think I was passed by everyone who was wearing a Marathon Maniacs jersey at this point. They passed me saying things like “you look great! How do you feel?” To which I answered “I’m good!” Insert Maury Povich meme “it was determined that it was a lie.”
Mile 20: Delirious karaoke. Random fits of crying. I wondered if I remembered to take my bipolar meds the night before. I did. #stillirun
Mile 21: I thought about how lakes are dumb and how much I never wanted to see one again.
Miles 23: Erik was at the timing mat to see if I was ready to leave or if I could muster one more loop. Someone at the finishers chute thought I was done and tried to hand me a medal. I told them I had one lap left and even they looked sad.
Mile 23.01-25.8: I’ll never look at this lake again. I’ll never have to carefully step over these trip hazards again. If someone were to accidentally shoulder checked me, I would’ve fallen over and just taken shelter for the night.
Mile 25.9: Flipped open Instagram and saw a meme that said I wasn’t running and that I looked like a croissant. Oddly accurate.
Mile 26.1: Decided to try to run to the finish line. Miraculously was able to pick up my feet from the shuffle. It felt like I was running pigeon-toed. I looked down at my feet and they were pointed straight ahead. I kept running and looked down again and they were still pointed straight ahead. Bodies are weird.
Mile 26.2: Erik was at the timing belt there to record my finish. I got a big hug from who I assumed was the race director. They urged me to take as many snacks as I could fit. In my hurry to sit down in the car, I left my leggings behind but cared very little about them.
Post-26.2: Am I ready for Dopey? Did this set me back? Why did I register for a 50k? Could I go 4.8 additional miles from this course and even finish upright?