June 2021
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Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Sunday morning, I ran the Covered Bridges Half Marathon up north in Vermont. I have mixed feeling about the whole thing. The race itself was amazing, simply incredible. The course is stunning, it’s not too hilly, there are bands playing along the way, and tons of people out cheering everyone on. It sells out in less than 15 minutes every year, and it’s pretty obvious why it does. I’m already thinking about the logistics of how I might run it again next year. It’s a fantastic race.

I’m just not so sure how I feel about my own performance.

I finished in about 2 hours and 46 minutes, which is my slowest ever half marathon where I wasn’t gestating a tiny human.

Objectively, I know that I worked hard for this race, and that I did my best. The last three months of my pregnancy were pretty damn rough on my body. It took me forever to get back into some semblance of shape. Last December, I could barely run a 5k. I decided to run Covered Bridges on a bit of a whim, and I knew it would be a slog to get back into half marathon shape. And it didn’t help that we got sick all the time this winter. I had to take three whole weeks off because I had a series of nasty chest colds.

I kept saying that all I wanted to do was finish. And I totally finished. I guess I’d just like to have finished faster, you know?

Part of the problem was that I started out too fast. And too far to the front. I felt like I was running my hardest, and I was just being continuously passed by everyone. At mile two, I stopped to use a porto-potty, and I realized I’d been running 10:30/miles. Which, sadly, is waaaaay too fast for me. I was pushing myself too hard. The good thing about stopping was, by the time I got out, most of the fast people had done their fast thing. So, then I was with my people. You know, the slow ones.

I pushed myself on, and pretty soon I was in downtown Woodstock. Tons of spectators, tons of music. As I ran by an african drummer and did a little dance to the beat, I realized it…. this is supposed to be fun. I mean, why pay the race fees, drive all the way to VT, pay for a hotel room, and get up at the butt crack of dawn if it’s not going to be a good time? So, I ran the next 8 or so miles with that in mind. I did a little jig past most of the musicians, I high-fived everyone who would let me, I looked up and enjoyed the view.

Somewhere along mile 10 or 11, I wasn’t sure if I was having fun anymore. It wasn’t that hot, it wasn’t that hilly… but my glutes were killing me, and I was starting to doubt my ability to finish the damn thing. I started run-walking at that point. The last couple miles were a total slog. I did pull out a sprint at the end, passing three or four people. And then I spent the rest of the day in some serious pain.

(Lilian looooved my race medal, btw. I let her wear it around her neck, and people kept looking at her and going “awwwww, so cute!” So, she started hamming it up, raising it in the air, and pretty much showing it off. I do all the work and she gets all the credit, sheesh.)

I know I trained hard for this one, but maybe that’s what makes it so tough to have run such a shitty race? I guess I kinda felt like “I got up at 5:45 all those mornings to go running, why didn’t I do better?” Which is stupid. I was starting from almost nothing. I work full-time, and I’m helping to raise a toddler.

(A toddler who refuses to by conveyed more than a couple miles in a jogging stroller, btw.)

I’m signed up for another race this fall. The plan is to spend some time running shorter distances and concentrate on running them faster. And… maybe work on my attitude a little.

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