Anyhow, here's how the race went . . .
Last year, was my first time racing Lake Country and it was a major breakthrough race for me. I did the 5k race and improved my PR by well over a minute. I went from trying to break 24 minutes to finishing sub-23 minutes. It was a fantastic race for me and proved to me that if you're willing to train hard and push even harder during races, you can accomplish anything.
This year, I did the half marathon distance as a tune up for the upcoming Lakefront Marathon. Based on my half marathon failures earlier this year, I decided to not set a time goal and instead race purely by effort and . . . without a watch. Well, without my Garmin at least. I wanted to be less focused on hitting a certain pace and instead just run at full effort the entire time. So I strapped my extremely basic watch to my wrist and lined up at the start.
It was a tad chilly and I was happy when the race started so I could begin running. But after taking maybe a dozen steps, a girl shoved me. That's right, shoved me. So rude and unsportsmanlike. Naturally, I decided I would have to beat her. She quickly sped away, but I was confident I would catch her in the later miles.
The first few miles flew by. The course wove around a Lac La Belle and was hilly but very scenic. I felt extremely strong during these miles, and around this time I also caught up to and passed the girl that shoved me. After that extremely satisfying moment, I started focusing on reeling in as many other runners as possible.
Feeling strong during these early miles
Of course, it just wouldn't be a half marathon in 2012 without, you guessed it, the dreaded side stitch. It hit around mile seven and stuck with me through the start of mile nine. This was a killer painful one and I spend these two miles run/walking with the occasional stop on the side of the course to try to massage it out. Nothing worked. Finally the pain subsided and I was able to start running again. During this time, the girl that shoved me passed by. Ugh!
After falling so far behind, I wondered if I could possibly salvage my time. I figured if I could run this bit in about 23 minutes, I would end up okay.
And that's what I did. It felt like I was flying during the last few miles of the race. My legs were not very happy but I had lyrics from a Gym Class Heroes song in my head "If you fall pick yourself off the floor/And when your bones can't take no more/Just remember what you're here for." I caught several people that passed me when I was down with the stitch. And then in the middle of mile 11, I saw my pushy friend up ahead and just like that, I passed her again.
I was so happy to see the finish line. After getting a finisher's medal and cup of water shoved in my hand, I collapsed on a curb for awhile and thought about the race. The stitch messed up two miles of my race, however I was happy with how I pushed through and ran a strong 5k at the end of the race.
This finish line was a welcome sight!
So where to go from here? Well, I did some reading up on side stitches over the weekend and it turns out weak abdominal muscles can sometimes be to blame. I don't really think of myself as having a weak core, but if putting in some extra time in the weight room will cure me of this problem, I'm all for it.
Now it's your time to tell me - have you ever witnessed rude behavior during a race or training run? How did you react?
Ironically, the current Runner's World addresses Race Etiquette. Read it if you get a chance!