My disappointment on Sunday was replaced by fury yesterday, when the Brighton Half officially acknowledged the distance error and made time adjustments. I know many fellow runners were happy but I wanted to scream when I saw my adjusted time of 2:00:24.
This was my 6th half and my 4th where I was trying to run a sub-2. If the distance had been correct I would have known how close I was to the 2 hour mark. I would have pushed even harder to the end. But I chose to trust the mile markers and when I hit 11 miles I believed I had missed the sub-2 already. And I know it made a difference to how I ran the last part of the race.
2:00:24 would have been a PB for me, but I just don't....can't....WON'T....think of it as one. I can't help thinking about how things might have played out differently if the distance had been marked correctly. True, maybe I still would have just missed it. But I FEEL like I'll never know. For me, this will always be a 2:03:21 for a 13.42 race.
I admit, my fury is probably down to the fact that my time was so close to a sub-2 AND because I've been pursuing it for so long. Would I be as upset if I had run a poor race and my time was no where near 2 hours anyway? Or if I had blown away the sub-2 mark even at the longer distance? Or if it had been my first half? Probably not. But for me, the circumstances of Brighton Half ended up as perfect storm for anger, frustration and disappointment.
The morning after my fury has dissipated. Stepping back and looking at the race (without considering the distance mistake), here are my thoughts:
- It was a tough race for me. In general, the race just felt tough. I didn't have as much energy as I thought I would, and my legs didn't feel that fresh. Around mile 7 my legs really started to tighten up, and I didn't feel like I had enough left to push it for the final 3 miles. I actually felt much better running the Southern California Half when I was tired and jet-lagged! We have good days and bad days...and for some reason it wasn't my best.
- I need to re-think my race strategy. My plan for this race was to stick as close to 9:09 pace as possible from the start, and then push the pace if I could starting at mile 10. But my legs really struggled and I wonder if this plan is counter to how I usually run best. Slow start, pick up in the middle, strong finish. Perhaps I should be starting underpace the first 3-4 miles, build up, and end up faster than goal pace the final 3 miles. Thoughts on this appreciated.
- I have to work on my mental toughness. I did get flustered when the mile markers started to go wrong. I had been keeping pace better than I had in other races....so I just couldn't understand how I was actually behind when I hit the race mile markers. Instead of pushing through and fighting harder, I think I let it affect me more than it should have.
- I am nearly there. I've never been THIS close to a sub-2 (my PB is 2:01:43), and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed to have missed it again. Wouldn't you be? I've tried 4 times and I've been working hard, and yet somehow it still eludes me! BUT after this race I should have no doubts in my mind that I can run fast enough.
So I've learned a lot from this race. I'm going to put the Brighton Half behind me and dive back into my training. Lots to work on and more hard work needed because I just can't give up now. Not ever.
And of course I'm already itching for my next race, if only as a release for any residual anger. If you are racing and see a small ball of fury go by.....IT WILL BE ME!
I know we all say it, but the Twitter Running Family is amazing. Thank you for sharing in my anger and frustration, letting me wallow and whinge, and reminding me to stay positive!