Thoughts on RnRChi

Yesterday didn’t go the way I envisioned it.

First bonk. I resigned to just getting to the finish line from mile 8 on. 5+ miles is a long way to go just knowing that it wasn’t your day and you didn’t meet your goal. It wasn’t so much the physical work to get to the finish line, it was the mental beating I gave myself as I ran. I stopped looking at my watch or caring about my mile splits. They didn’t matter anyway.

I knew pretty early on that 1:32:xx was an aggressive goal in those conditions. The forecast fluctuated a lot in the days leading up to the race but I hoped that the clouds would stick around and provide some kind of relief in the heat and humidity. I thought it was going to be 68 and cloudy (although still humid) but when I woke up at 4:15 AM, it was already 74 degrees outside.

By mile 4 I looked like I had jumped in the lake. I wasn’t dehydrated, but I was overheating. Each time I poured water over my head, I was surprised how cold it felt.

When I saw Tim and Jeff at mile 6, I told them “it’s too hot, guys”. Side-5s were appreciated but they seemed so silly considering I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

Rock 'n Roll Chicago 2013

Thanks for capturing a strong moment, Britt! (near mile 7?) 

I know that 1:40:xx is not indicative of my ability. I’m stronger that that. After a pity-fest and too many tears when I went home yesterday, I forced myself to spend time with the gang and grab a few beers with Kristy, who ran like a BEAST with a 1:24 PR and 9th female finish overall (!!!!). The running community never fails to provide a dose of reality and positive thoughts. Coach told me to “let disappointment turn into resolve and move forward”.

I’m good at the resolve part. I proved that to myself after the Chi Women’s 5k and the redemption PR at Bastille Day.

The weather conditions were out of control but I’m in control of my own thoughts.

I’m going to try not to linger on disappointment for too long and look forward to the rest of the training cycle. There’s too much progress already in this cycle to let this one race consume me. Lately it’s a matter of getting back to my mental game than lack of physical toughness. I used to let my mind wander more. I spent a lot of time just dreaming about the “what ifs”. And it always led to results. Instead of finding reasons why something won’t happen, I need to focus on reasons why it will. I want to be able to think “how cool would that be if ______?!” again.

I’m going to pick up this book and start dreaming a little bit more.

I’ll have more fun that way.


35 thoughts on “Thoughts on RnRChi

  1. Chuck Barthelme (@Chucko78) says:

    The heat has been kicking my butt lately. My splits from my shorter runs are slower than I want them to be, and the hardest part is trying to get it through my head that almost no one is fast in this kind of heat and humidity. I just keep trying to remind myself that it’ll pay off when the temps cool down again. So I completely agree that the mental game is the hardest part.

  2. Sara Z (@s_zdeb) says:

    Longtime fan of your blog; first-time poster and fellow Hadley runner. The dreaded bonk happens to the best of us, especially in such tough conditions (see, e.g., Kara Goucher at USATF nationals). As someone who’s struggling through my first serious summer training cycle in some time and had a similarly tough race last month, I’ve tried to keep myself in the mental game by focusing on how this will give me a big reservoir of fitness/toughness that will pay off during my fall marathon. I also find that looking back at my old training logs and race results after a tough race or workout helps; it makes me appreciate how far I’ve come to see that what I currently consider a really crummy time used to be a good one.

    BTW, I have you to thank for finding Coach Hadley — first encountered him when I stumbled across your blog this spring while looking at Chicago Marathon reviews, and am loving the workouts.

    • Jenny says:

      Sara! Thanks for showing yourself! 😉 I’m so happy you’re enjoying your training experience with Coach Hadley. It’s always nice to virtually meet teammates. I think you’re right–it’s helpful to think about it as a “reservoir of toughness”. When’s your next race?

      • Sara Z (@s_zdeb) says:

        My main race is the Philly marathon in November; before that, RnR half in Providence at the end of September and a random hot, hilly 10-miler in Virginia next month — before which I’ll probably give myself a virtual pep talk by re-reading all these great comments on racing in the heat 🙂

  3. Declan says:

    In the short period of time I’ve followed your blog, I’ve read a lot of awesome runs and experiences that would make 99% of runners glow if that was their history. You’re a great runner, and the heat/sun yesterday was a major factor. What I took away from this is running smarter, so you can keep running stronger.
    Probably saw you cross the finish line while looking for bloggers, but didn’t know what you looked like.
    You’ll bounce back strong!
    -Stranger from the internet

    • Jenny says:

      Hey stranger! Ha, thanks Declan. You’re very kind. Definitely looking forward to moving on and becoming excited about the next adventure

  4. Kristen L says:

    Sorry to hear the heat and humidity took it out of you at your half marathon this weekend. It can really be brutal. I know you are strong and are going to get redemption in your next half. The mental aspect of running can take so much work and practice. We all have those days were it just doesn’t go as planned. Keep it up and you’ll get it at the next one.

  5. Xaarlin says:

    Dude, don’t let this race get you down! You are such a strong talented runner. The humidity and heat are the real deal and affect us all- not just physcially just slowing us down but mentally as well. Just know that when your goal marathon comes around and the temps are perfect, you will be so prepared to smash it because you’ve been sweating your balls off all summer long. 🙂

  6. Michele @ NYC Running Mama says:

    I know it’s not worth much, but despite not feeling great when that pic was taken, you looked STRONG.
    I think it’s completely acceptable and understandable to wallow for a few days. You fought for a certain time and circumstances (outside of your control) derailed you meeting that goal. I echo what everyone above and your coach has said – it will make you stronger. Head up. =)

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks Michele! I’ve looked at that pic a few times and wondered, “when did I get that strong?!”. It’s a good feeling—and no doubt I’ll be stronger for it, even if the race didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Thank you for your support!

  7. Carolyn says:

    To me, you are amazing! I’m sorry things didn’t go your way this race, but I’m sure you will accomplish great things with your awesome determination. 🙂

  8. Fast and Fabulous says:

    This all sounds very familiar. I recently fell short of that very same goal time by pretty much the same margin (on my birthday while wearing a tutu, no less!) It absolutely happens to the best of us, but I’m pretty sure it’s a scientific fact that anytime you have a bad race, your next race will be a glorious new PR. (That’s how it happened for me anyway!) So keep your chin up! From the looks of your blog you’re a total bad-ass, and I’m sure lots of really fast races are waiting for you just around the bend!

    • Jenny says:

      I can’t wait to add more evidence to prove that scientific fact. 🙂 Redemption will be sweet, yo! 🙂 Thanks for snapping me out of my silliness

  9. thethinksicanthink says:

    I’m not in Chicago but NYC has been so hot I couldn’t imagine trying to race a half…I’d just being trying to survive! Anyways, a book that really helped me running is “Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel” by Matt Fitzgerald…

    Good luck with your continued training!

    • Jenny says:

      That’s so funny that you mention that book–ordered it along with the one mentioned in the post yesterday. 🙂 I’ll be sure to let you know what I think. Thanks Meggie!

  10. KrisLawrence says:

    Nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. Your workouts have been great, you’ve been positive & focused. There are some conditions you just can’t control. If by Mile 4 you aren’t feeling good, there’s a problem and you were smart to back off a tad.

    Also I second that book that the above commentor mentioned. I’ve read it and it’s a good one.

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks Kris. 🙂 You’re right. I think it would be have been ugly if I had pushed it even more. Ordered that book as well. Can’t wait to devour them both!

  11. Laura @losingrace says:

    Something I have learned is that “bad races” (1:40 is still a solid time, especially given the conditions) make you really work harder and appreciate the good ones. You will bounce back and have a great next one. Keep your chin up and your feet moving.

  12. Marron says:

    Hey Jenny! I’m sorry you had this experience. Its really hard when the mind and body are just not syncing up. That last 6 miles the sun came on strong, a lot was working against you. In another race you will draw upon the strength you gained from this. Grand Rapids will be great!

  13. hyedi says:

    The weather conditions were out of control but I’m in control of my own thoughts. — right on.

    You def have the right attitude. Wasn’t the best race but it’ll totally make you stronger!

  14. Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl says:

    You’ve had so many good races recently wheels! Some days are just off and it’s hard to rally yourself back once it gets tough, but you get through it, learn a few new lessons about yourself, put them in your pocket, and move forward! I still think you are a rockstar, and one race and the time you ran don’t define you as a runner or a human. Just a snapshot of what you did on that one day, and what’s one day in the span of a lifetime right?

    Keep your head up because you are an AMAZING woman that is strong as all heck! Believe in you my friend.

    Sending lots of virtual hugs 😉

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