Monday, April 30, 2012

Flower City Half Marathon

Looking terrible in race photos, as usual.
Of all the races in Rochester, the Flower City Half is by far my favorite course. I love running past the ladies at the Susan B. Anthony House, by the drummers in Highland Park, through Mount Hope cemetery, along the river, over the bridge and back towards downtown. It's like a mini sightseeing tour of Rochester with a couple thousand other crazy awesome runners.

This year though, I was a little despondent about the race. My training hasn't been where I want it to be and my body forced me into an early taper against my will. The tendons, muscles and I have been feuding lately and I feel like I'm on the losing side. I had a mini meltdown (ok a full on meltdown) on Friday night, one of those I'm-not-any-of-the-things-I-want-to-be, not-good-at-anything kind of days. Totally lame. Mike gave me some hugs, reminded me that our lives are pretty fantastic and told me I'll be fine. Then I got a text at midnight from a number I didn't recognize. It was someone who apparently saw my doppelganger in Las Vegas and sent me her picture. I'm still not sure who sent me the picture, but it did look like me so it must be someone I know. It remains a random and funny mystery for now. Or maybe a sign that Vegas should get a visit from the real Jen Pratt.

I didn't get much sleep Friday night but woke up on Saturday determined to chill out. I bought a new shirt for race day with a sweet pocket in the back for my jelly beans. Conventional wisdom says not to wear a new article of clothing on race day or make any changes to your usual routine, but what can I say, I live dangerously. I figured what the hell. It's just a race. Whatever happens, happens. I can be afraid of failing or I can show up, have fun and enjoy the adventure.

So I tried to do that. And I ended up running my fastest half marathon to date in 1:42:56 (329th out of 2252 finishers. It's not a huge improvement - last year I ran it in 1:45:28 - but it's progress nonetheless). It was also the best I've ever done at drinking water out of paper cups while running. I managed to get 60% of the water in my mouth as opposed to on my shirt and up my nose. Usually the ratio is more like 30% in mouth/70% on self. A big thanks to Eric for running with me. This was the first race I've been able to run with a friend the whole way and it was more fun than being out there on my own. And it was so awesome to be there to see Eric, Sheila, John, Dan and other running friends score some major PRs! Epicness all around!
During the race, I felt as good as can be expected. I always feel some level of discomfort, but I take it as an indication that I'm running as best I can that day. I still get anxious before races, and there's a point in every race where the doubts creep in and I really want to stop, but I've gotten better at maintaining a positive attitude mid-run. This race, I was just grateful to be running again after 2 weeks away from it. My ankle felt great on Saturday and didn't bother me much during the race, but afterwards it started hurting again and today I'm definitely sore. Evidently I'm not completely healed. It's so frustrating that I've gotten so close to where I want to be in my training mentally, but now I'm failing physically. I don't much care for rest. I know it's important. It's supposed to make me feel refreshed, but more often than not just leaves me feeling lazy. Maybe this is life's way of reminding me about balance. If I want to work hard and play hard, I have to get better at resting easy. I can't compare myself to what other people are doing or how they train. I have to listen to my body and do my best to give it what it needs.

Lyric of the moment: "Oh all the days that I have run, I sought to lose that cloud that's blacking out the sun..."


  1. congrats, jen! that's a HUGE PR! When you're running as fast as you are, those seconds really add up!!! :) --sheila

  2. Thanks for running with me. We kicked ass

  3. Dude, you're the best looking one in that photo.
    Plus when you run you get mermaid hair!