Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sanibel Race for FISH 10k 2016

If you read my weekly recap on Sunday, you already know how this story ends. I missed my time goals - all of them - and just didn't have a good race. I'm definitely disappointed, but it's been especially hard to swallow because I don't know what went wrong.

From the moment I woke up, I just didn't feel...right. I wasn't excited. I felt a little nauseated - the kind where you know you have to eat something to settle your stomach - and just not great. Low energy. No adrenaline. Just...blah.
This was my fifth year running this race and for some reason I just wasn't as excited as usual!
I was excited for Elizabeth, of course! She met us at the house at 6:20 and we drove together to the race in Sanibel. We used the bathrooms and got in line and then...ran.
This drone photo of the race, courtesy of SanCap Aerial Photography, shows that it was a little smaller than in past years.
By the first mile marker, I already knew it wasn't going to be my day. I couldn't find a groove; my legs didn't hurt and my breathing was alright but something felt off.

At mile three I paused for water and let Elizabeth go ahead of me. By that point I knew I was well off track of my goals, and I wanted to salvage the race and just finish it, but I really couldn't even dig for a negative split. I just kept fading.

This recap is kind of awful because I can't think of what to say! There was no reason for my lethargy. I had a good dinner. I slept well. I had a good breakfast (UCAN, some coffee, and a Gu). The weather was a lovely 74 degrees and not too humid. It should have been a perfect day to PR, but my body and mind were just not there.
In retrospect, these splits are ugly but they're not as bad as they could've been.
At the finish line, I saw Elizabeth at the end cheering and I waved; Matt was recording me. The finish was ugly; the woman behind me started to overtake me and cut in pretty close, and I stepped on her heel by accident. It seems like a little thing, but usually I can at least sprint my finish and finish strong. It was like the epitome of the whole race: awkward and uncomfortable and out of character.
But I caught her eventually.
The highlights came after the race finished. Elizabeth told me a woman had approached her at the finish and asked, "Are you Elizabeth? I recognize you from Ali's blog!" (She found us again later and I got to meet my first real-life fan, which was so cool! She told me I'd inspired her and that she had gone back and read old entries, etc. Even though my race was bad, this really put things into perspective and made me feel much better, so thank you, Esther! Also - congrats on placing first in your AG!)
Us with Esther and her friend Jenn!
She did it!!!!
Another woman came up to me and told me, "I don't usually like tattoos, but yours is so positive and motivating!" Last year at Sanibel an older gentleman complimented my tattoo, too, now that I think of it.

Elizabeth had a wonderful finish time and ran a strong, steady race. I am absolutely thrilled about that; I really wish I could've been with her at the end but I know our training together helped her get there and I feel lucky to have played a small part in her success.
Matt was able to get a picture of Elizabeth's finish! Super strong!
Matt earned himself a PR - he ran "easy" because Chattajack is coming up and still managed to place 4th. Sean finally nabbed a spot on the podium this year after a few years of trying, coming in 2nd in his age group.
Our division - there were only 29 this year. My adjusted time was 1:03:57. The race was definitely smaller than last year!
Sean and Matt's finishing times.
So really, there were some major highlights for the day. Still, I went home feeling let down. After a nap, everything sank in and I cried a little because I just felt so disappointed that my body didn't perform the way I wanted it to. This was a harder pill to swallow than BDR because I really can't pinpoint what went wrong, and anytime you finish a marathon it's worth celebrating. It's hard to say the same for a 10k.
But I'm glad I ran it, and I feel really lucky that I have running friends to turn to who understand my disappointment and know just to what to say to make me feel better!
Today, I'm reflecting on the fact that this race was a huge improvement from my last couple 10ks. I've taken about 5 minutes off my recent times, which shows that my improvement is measurable even if it's not as drastic as I was hoping for. I'm pleased with my progress. I know that I have it in me to have run this race better, but it is what it is. It wasn't my day.

I know I'll continue to get faster if I keep working, and this single race doesn't define my journey. I'm not ready to find a redemption race, but I am motivated to keep chipping away at my times and improving my paces.

And I know, of course, that I'll run it again next year. For some reason I just love this stupid race!



  1. It's always disappointing to miss your goals, but you still ran a good race, and you should be proud. I think as runners we forget that PRs don't happen every race, and that we're still allowed to feel proud even if we miss our goals. Sometimes we are just having an off day, but you can look back at your training and know that you are nailing paces to be proud of, not to mention getting stronger with all of your strength workouts! :)

  2. Ali,

    I'm sorry that you had such a hard time during your race. Why do you think you were not feeling the race?

    I think you did fantastic, especially on those temps! Congratulations on a strong finish! That medal looks really cool!

    You have trained so hard and worked so hard, and I'm sure the next race will be completely different.

  3. I've had times when I haven't "felt it" too - not much to do then but treat that race as a fun run and try to enjoy other parts of the experience. There will be lots more races.

    Glad Elizabeth had a good experience!

  4. (reposting bc I accidentally left this comment on a different post!)

    As someone who has had way too many races this year where I just couldn't hit the paces I wanted despite nothing being wrong, I understand how frustrating this is. It sucks, and it's not fair when you've done the work but your legs just won't show up for you on race day.

    While it's unfortunate your goal race didn't go the way you wanted, you still have had a lot of success this training cycle. It may not have come the way you expected, but it showed up. You ran two huge, surprise PRs in the 5K. I almost wonder if those races went better for you because you weren't putting as much pressure on yourself and weren't as afraid of the distance. Or maybe 5K is just a stronger distance for you! You may not have gotten the outcome you wanted, but you can at least say you've learned a lot and can point to areas of growth. Sometimes that's all we can ask for.

  5. This happens in other sports, too. You practice, you feel ready, and yet once you get out there, it doesn't gel. It's hard to shake off, too, until the NEXT TIME!

  6. I'm sorry this wasn't the performance you hoped for but glad that it didn't deter you from running it again next year!

    That's really cool that a reader recognized you from your blog (and Elizabeth too).

  7. I've had a few races where it just didn't all come together. It took me a while to mentally recover when I missed my half PR last fall- as others have said & I'm sure you know (and eventually you'll believe itt, even if you don't right now...) You trained wel l &you're a stronger runner than before !

  8. The important thing is that you know this comes down to just not being your day. It totally sucks that it happened on race day, but it's no indication of the progress you're making overall. And this will surely make that PR so much sweeter! When I was trying for my sub-30 5k, I missed my goal in race after race for almost a whole year. Finally getting it at the end of that year was the best feeling, and one of the races I'm most proud of. For this race, I do think a big positive is how you helped Elizabeth train and made this a great race for her!

  9. I can feel you disappointment in this post. I am hoping by now you are OVER it and looking for redemption! Although I know that can take awhile. I tried the half in Dec and again in April and I still haven't tried to redeem myself in that! That is so cool you got recognized!!! I love Sean's CO shirt. :) Didn't he have a hat on at BDR?

  10. That's so cool that you got recognized and were a source of inspiration!

    Being disappointed and frustrated by your day makes a lot of sense since you have put in so much work training. Luckily all of that work is still in the bank just waiting to be put to use on the right day! Can you imagine if training was a one-time-usage kind of thing and after every race you had to start from 0? That would be a hard world to live in!!!

  11. Aw, I'm so sorry the 10K didn't turn out the way you hoped. Sometimes there isn't a good reason to why races don't go as planned, no matter how you try to pinpoint it. I hope you're feeling better about it because you have been working so hard and getting faster and stronger! Congrats to Elizabeth and the guys on their races too.