This past Sunday I ran the Race 13.1 Winston-Salem. If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few months, you know I’ve been training really hard for this one. I put in way more miles than usual and did twice the speed work I usually do. On race day, I was a little sleepy because I hadn’t slept well the night before (I’m sure other runners who race can relate!) but otherwise felt ok. For the first 6 miles, I was averaging a 6:45-6:55 pace and honestly felt great.
Then, I felt a pull in my calf. I haven’t had any issues with this in training so I don’t know if it was a cramp, the result of the compression socks I wore (although I’ve never had issues with them before) or if it was my IT band acting up. All I could think was “I KNEW I should have gone to yoga this week!” I adjusted my stride to take smaller steps and slowed my pace a little. The pain was still there, but manageable.
At the start of the race, there was an announcement that the half marathoners and 10Kers needed to pay attention at the 10K turn-around. The half marathoners would keep going straight and the 10K-ers would turn around. So when I got to the 10K turn-around and the volunteer told me to turn, even after telling her I was running the half and that they announced at the beginning we should keep going and asking her twice if she was sure (and she basically yelled at me that YES SHE WAS SURE), I turned. The same interaction happened with another runner who came up shortly behind me. And when I saw the next mile marker, I knew she was wrong. For the rest of the race, the mile markers were all off by 1/2 mile compared to my Garmin. She turned us around when she shouldn’t have. So instead of a half marathon, I ran 12.6 miles.
The race directors later confirmed the volunteer made a mistake. What a disappointment. I trained harder for this half than any race in a long time. I really wanted to PR. I’m sure there were countless other runners looking for a PR or for the accomplishment of completing their first half marathon. I was mad and sad and happy all at once since I knew I had run strong, but bummed because I couldn’t say what my time really would have been.
It’s just so key that volunteers who are at such an important spot in the race be 100% certain on the directions they need to give runners; I truly appreciate volunteers at races (I recently volunteered myself!), and I don’t blame her actually — I think he responsibility and fault falls on the person overseeing the volunteers and ultimately the race organizers. There was also an issue at one of the water tables (the second the last water stop too) where they were only handing out gatorade, no water. And I was one of the early runners so it wasn’t like they could have run out. I asked for water from three different people handing out cups and got gatorade each time. If I drink Gatorade, I may as well just drop out of the race – it WRECKS my stomach and I know other runners who have the same issue, so it’s important to have water at tables where they say they’ll have water.
I’ve run another Race 13.1 event (the Race 13.1 Greensboro) and that race was flawless so I’m actually pretty surprised with these two issues, especially the wrong turn. (I just realized looking up the link to my Greensboro blog post that I wore the EXACT same thing at that race, right down to the compression socks. hahaha)
My overall time was 1:30:21. And if I don’t tell anyone that the race was 1/2 mile too short, that sounds like a pretty stellar time and a huge PR. 😉
(Thanks to my friend Meg for this picture! Two of my favorite race pictures are ones she has snapped of me – this one and one at Mistletoe 2013. Meg was there to run the 5K (in all her pregnant cuteness!) and stayed afterwards to see me finish. Seriously a great friend. )
My Garmin says I averaged a 7:10 pace. If I had kept that pace for the full 13.1, I would have run a 1:33:57 half, which would be a 40 second PR! I was the 9th overall finisher, 5th overall female, and 2nd in my age group. And the top two overall finishers were women! They were the top two overall, for males and females! I love seeing such strong performances from the ladies!!!
Moral of the story: if you want a half marathon PR, run a short half marathon! 😉
Have you ever experienced issues like this in a race?
Do you have a race day uniform? I almost always wear a hat because I don’t have sunglasses I like for running. And apparently I always wear a pink shirt.