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Rockford Half Marathon race report

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This race seemed to be jinxed from the start.

I signed up for this race because, even though it was a 70 mile drive from my house, it offered race day packet pickup, so I would need to make only one trip. I originally had signed up for and planned on running the full marathon. I had found a suitable 18 week training plan that I downloaded into my calendar. The plan included daily email reminders with nutrition and training suggestions.

The first month went well. I was getting all of my mid week runs in, I was doing my cross training and I was enjoying the long runs on weekends.

Somewhere in week 5, I noticed that I had entered the wrong date for the actual race. The bad news is, I could not figure out how to adjust the calendar with the correct date. The good news is, the correct date was 2 weeks later, so I actually had some extra time to train.

Without going into details, I had some health issues that forced me to miss a good chunk of my training. Even with the extra 2 weeks, I felt my training was off enough that I was prompted to change my venue from the full to the half marathon. Fortunately, I was able to do this without any hassle.

Between CT scans, ultrasounds, poking and prodding of various body parts and finally a prostate biopsy that resulted in an entire week of NO activity whatsoever, I questioned whether my training was adequate even for the half marathon.

Fortunately, none of the tests showed any problems, and the issue that prompted this entire investigation in the first place had not re-occurred. I was even able to get a few runs in the final week of training.

Race day, I was up at 3:30, which is not really a problem for me, as I am usually up at 4:00 anyway. I had my bowl of oatmeal and a banana, donned my race duds, strapped on my garmin and was on the road by 4:30. With a 7:00 start time and a 70 mile drive, I figured I would have at least an hour for packet pickup and the required visit to the porta-potty. I had already planned out my route and knew parking was very close to the packet pickup area and race start.

Of course, the trip took 30 minutes longer than I had planned, and 6 blocks from the parking location, the left rear strut on my car broke. By the time I rolled into the parking lot, my tire was starting to smell like burning rubber because the spring was rubbing against it.

So, here I am, 6:30 Sunday morning in a strange town, with a broken down car and half an hour to get my race packet, pin on my number and make a pit-stop, and no idea how I’m going to get the car repaired and/or get home when the race is over. Thinking I would have a better chance of contacting needed resources at a more reasonable hour, and given that I was already here, I made up my mind to do the race first and worry about the rest later. I sprinted off to the packet pickup and the now much needed porta-potty and was lined up at the start with 30 seconds to spare.

It was a beautiful, calm sunny day with temperatures at about 65F. The running crowd was enthusiastic and noisy and ready to have a good time, and I was determined to enjoy it as well.
I found the pace group I wanted to run with, double checked my Garmin and,,,,WHAT? Lost satellite signal? Come on Garmin, you NEVER lose the signal, shape up!! Crap, are we moving? Was that the start horn? Yes, and yes. Okay, stay calm, keep moving, turn Garmin off and on, don’t trip over the start grid, and hope the signal locks in before I’ve gone too far. And because I’ve been looking at Garmin, I lost my pace group.

Found the group, Garmin is now working and we’re on our way. It is chip timed after all, so Garmin or no, I’ll be fine. And I was, for the first 6 miles. I was running well, feeling strong, staying hydrated, changing off between water and gator-ade. The crowds were terrific, race support was outstanding and I was keeping a nice 9:45 pace right up to mile 7.

Then I just completely lost my focus for the race. I started thinking about the car, and how I was going to get it repaired and how I was going to get home. The last part of the race was a struggle. I know I walked a lot and I remember having a good sprint into the finish, but that’s all I recall about the last few miles. I knew my time was not going to be anything to write home about, but I was just glad to be done so I could get other matters taken care of.

Well, in the end, things worked out reasonably well. My insurance card had a number for emergency road service right on the card. They had a tow truck at my car within 20 minutes. The tow truck driver took one look at the car and saw the problem right away (I didn’t know it was a broken strut until he told me, I just knew something was really wrong). He made two phone calls, and found a shop that was open on Sunday and could get me right in. The shop had my car up on the hoist within minutes of arriving. Three hours and several hundred dollars later, I was safely on my way home.

So, another half marathon under my belt, not a PR, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And I did get two medals, a medal for the half marathon, and a medal for 2nd place in my age division. But I was glad when the day was over and I was safely home again.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow. You are a pretty determined dude. Spark on!
    1779 days ago
  • FLGIRL1234
    As someone who is gearing up to run my first half next weekend in Chicago (I live in FL) and has had multiple roadblocks during my training as well, I can totally relate. I couldn't run for 2 weeks and completely freaked out. I also had a couple minor injuries that I had to work around. I have been so stressed out about the whole thing that honestly I just want it over with. lol. It is impressive that you were able to mentally put everything aside to get there and run your race even if you got distracted at the end. My friend ran a race a couple months back and lost her car keys right before the horn went off to start. She was so paranoid about it that it was all she could think about. It helped her get a PR though because she said she just wanted to get back to look for her keys...lol.
    1804 days ago
    I'm impressed. You overcame every hurdle thrown at you that day! You deserve a deadly for perseverance and determination!!!

    I am in awe!

    1842 days ago
    Seriously??? In my mind you were amazing! You headed out to run a race when most people wouldn't get out of the house, much less to another town. You put the worry of the car aside and ran a race, and when you struggled YOU FINISHED! Then you tackled the car issue and headed back home. You deserve 3 medals -- one more for tackling the day head on and seeing it through!

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    1853 days ago
  • PDQ1203
    1854 days ago
    It'll be a story to tell for years to come...

    I did the same thing with my Garmin - reminded me why I usually don't use my Garmin in a race! LOL.

    Glad it all turned out well, and congrats on the bling!
    1854 days ago
    So many areas need commenting!

    Awesome job coming in 2nd place in your age group! Well done!!
    You are one fast "old" cookie!!! LOL!!

    Glad the medical issues were resolved without any further tests or treatment.
    Glad your car issues were resolved with minimal "tests" and "treatment.

    Just wondering what software you use that enables you to directly download a training plan into it. How handy this would be!

    BTW: I've done that with my Garmin. Turned it on too soon before the race start and when I am ready to start the Garmin it has gone into power save mode and lost the signal. Indeed, very frustrating!

    1854 days ago
    Well you would have broken down somewhere! anyways right?

    So glad it was relatively seamless.

    Fabulous job on the race and being in the "hardware"

    A lot can happen in a race and a 70 mile trip ....and you overcame it all.!
    1854 days ago
    Holy cow... thats a tale of cool headed calm in the face of adversity!
    1855 days ago
    Embrace the adversity, Think of the story you now get to tell everyone, and how cool you are under pressure.
    You did great, overcame the problems, both health and auto related, and had a great race.
    You're a beast!! Congrats!!!

    1855 days ago
  • APED7969
    Awesome job on the medals! I'd have lost focus in the race as well considering the car troubles! I'm glad to hear it is possible to run an okay race after being sidelined by injury as I'm hoping to do a half this weekend after 2-3 weeks off of running.
    1855 days ago
    Glad you made it home safe and sound
    1855 days ago
    Congrats on your medals! You said this was nothing to write home about but seeing as your adventures of that day is all over with now, it makes quite a good story! emoticon You did it! emoticon
    1855 days ago
    Good that your health issues were a non-issue and that your car waited until you arrived to break down! The run may not have been perfect or as planned, but all things considered, you still placed! And your car was repaired in record time. That's a decent day.
    1855 days ago
    Well, first, I am glad you are okay health wise. Secondly, I love your determination! You were faced with many challenges that could have been"excuses" but you kept going.

    Good for you!
    1855 days ago
    Except for the "several hundred dollars later" bit, it sounds like an overall good day. It confirmed that you are physically hale enough to run the race and have the strength of character to overcome quite a series of impediments. The second medal is just gravy.
    1855 days ago
    Congrats on pushing on through - and for 2nd in division! I think I'd have just curled up and had a good cry after a challenging race lead-up like yours...
    1855 days ago
    WOW - that's more than a day! Glad everything worked out in the end there.

    Also, glad to hear from you and know you are OK. Congrats on finishing the race and continued good health!
    1855 days ago
  • OWL_20
    Oh, what a day you had! The best news is that you finished and even got a medal for second place (can I give you woo-hoo? 'cause I think that's great). Maybe even better though was that you got there safely and the car got fixed in good time. I think I might have been a bit petrified to run in a strange town without my wheels being fixed first, lol. You really did persevere thru a tough spot. So congrats again--and I hope your next race goes much more smoothly!
    1855 days ago
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