Last week, I finished my 7th half marathon, the Navy Air Force Half Marathon. Spoiler alert, it was a fail.
This was my first half since December 2014 when my knee trouble started. I was consistent in training for this throughout the summer, and my last long run was 11 miles. After that long run, I felt that my IT band was inflamed so I did a lot of stretching, ice, massage, and all kinds of IT exercises to try and heal. After two weeks of that (one full week of rest), it felt healed. It didn’t hurt to do my short runs or other workouts, so I figured I was good.
I knew I wasn’t in tip-top shape so my “A” goal was just to finish feeling strong. Didn’t quite make that goal, so my “B” goal was to finish standing haha. At least I got that right.
The race began around 7 am, which is the same time the metro opened, so I had to take an Uber to the race at 6 am. It was neat to see the Washington Monument at dark with no one around:
The gun went off a little before 7:30 am. I started wayyyy at the back – there were literally maybe 20 people behind me. That far back, most of the people were run-walkers, so I could start my run-walk intervals right away and had plenty of space. For the first half of the race, I stayed at an easy pace and I was just under 13:00 per mile, feeling strong. Yes, really slow but I didn’t want to get excited and overdo it. Somewhere during mile 7, I started to feel off. Not my knee or physically but my cardio was working way too hard compared to where it should be. I don’t know if it was the heat – over 70 degrees by then, or the humidity, or because I was on my period and my heart rate tends to be faster during that time. Sorry for the TMI, but periods ruin everything.
Eventually trying to hold 13:00/mile felt like a struggle, which was very worrying to me because I know my body is capable of better. Barely over the halfway point and I already knew I was toast. Then during mile 8, my knee buckled and it started to hurt more and more. I mostly walked miles 8-13, at an average pace of 14:00. It was long and hot (temp was mid-80’s by the time I finished). Surprisingly, I didn’t cry but was pretty damn close. I finished in exactly 3 hours.
This is me trying to do the Usain Bolt pose but can’t lean because my knee hurts. Womp womp. At least my quads look good right?
My faithful and awesome friend Jo finished the 5-miler race and stuck around for another 2 hours to wait for me, yay! Afterwards we went to brunch together and I drowned my sadness in a giant burger at Old Abbitt Grill.
I’m super embarrassed about my performance and annoyed that my last two half marathons were so awful. I wish I could go out on a high note, you know? I had a good, pain-free 5k race earlier this summer, so I think I’m satisfied with just sticking to shorter distances. I just want to run without pain! Hopefully next month’s Marine Corps Marathon 10k will leave me in good spirits.