Can’t Best Them All

Recently, I have had a couple of absolutely terrible races. Part of it due to weather and part of it due to just not being as ready as I should be.

Last month, I ran the Soldier Field 10-mile race. It was my first time doing the race. It should have been the second time, but last year I had to bow out of the race due to an absolutely horrible headache that prevented me from running.

This year, I talked a friend into running the race with me and meeting up with her before and after the race was fun. But the race itself was the worst race I have ever done. It was just terrible.

Not due to any organization problems (those make me despise races and never want to do them again) or course issues. No, this was my absolute worst race because my wonderful friend calf cramps came back to haunt me.

I kind of knew I might be in trouble as I was awakened in the middle of the night by a cramp in my calf. I was hoping it would just be a night thing and not bother me during the race.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. The race started out pretty well for me and I was making pretty good time in my mile splits. Unfortunately, right around mile six, I started to be unable to run without cringing due to cramps. This led to me having to walk a ton until the I was able to cross the fifty yard line finish in Soldier Field.  Every time I tried to start running again, it just wouldn’t happen. I was mostly sad because I really wanted to run across the finish given I was wearing my Packers shirt (how could I NOT wear this shirt at the home of the Chicago Bears) and because it just feels better to run across the finish line. If I must collapse, I just assume do it on the finish line or past it.

The only “good” that came of this disastrous race was that somehow the photographers got tons of pictures of me running. Usually in races, I almost never have more than one picture of me on the course that is captured. This race there are about 30 of them with me making the craziest faces (not on purpose this time) because of cramp that prevented me from running.

Speaking of crazy faces, if you run races much, then you know the race photographers have this knack for catching you when you look the most ridiculous while running. I’ve now taken to purposely making weird faces so that when they do capture me, I can laugh at them more than wondering what the hell was going on when they captured that face. Well, now I don’t have to wonder because I know exactly what was going on. Hopefully the photographers were amused by my faces of pain.

As for another bad race, last weekend I ran the 13.1 Marathon in Chicago. It was my first half of the year and I plan on doing three more of them. This year, I figured I would conquer the half marathon before tackling the marathon again. This race was bad because the weather did me in a bit as well as probably not being as ready as I could have been.

The temperatures the week of the race had started to climb and it looked like the race would be close to 90 degrees race day. This was freaking me out because I didn’t really prep that well for the heat.

Fortunately, the race temps were actually pretty good when the race started. They did get worse as things went on, but I think I was already set up for badness due to my own panic of less than ideal temperatures. Needless to say, I didn’t run a very good half this time around. The good news is that my recovery from the race was way better than it was from the 10-mile race just a couple of weeks prior.

I am already looking forward to my half next month. So much so I am even tempted to sign up for another half next week, but I know better than to actually do that. While the recent races were terrible, I do feel like I have some things figured out to make my subsequent races (as well as races in future years) better so I don’t have these issues.

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