A confidence booster. That’s what I’d hoped this morning’s Tobacco Road Half Marathon would be.

I tried to stay chill about it, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had a goal time in mind. Last year at this time, I ran a 1:38, and judging by workouts and performances at shorter distances, I’m in better shape now. I’d hoped to crank out a 1:35 if the stars aligned.

Unfortunately, the stars were all over the place. I finished at 1:48 and change.

Making excuses for bad race performances is pretty lame, but here are my reasons for sucking it up big time today:

Reason #1: It went soft. In the weeks leading up to this race, I said it a million times: if there was one thing that would sink this race, it would be a soggy trail.

The Tobacco Road half is mostly run on a section of the American Tobacco Trail that’s made of loosely-packed crushed gravel. For a long run, it’s fantastically forgiving. For a speed workout, it’s slightly challenging when dry. And when it’s wet, it’s miserable all around.

Well, guess what it did ALL NIGHT Saturday night. I almost stayed in bed when my alarm finally went off, after being awake all night listening to the pouring rain. 13.1 miles of racing on soft, soggy terrain? Ugh.

But obviously I heeded the alarm. I probably should have adjusted my expectations for this race before I even got out of bed, because….

Reason #2: The effing humidity. I know it could have been worse: it could have been warmer. But I hate being soaking wet before I even start running, no matter what the temperature is. Enough said.

Reason #3: My cranky womb. Sorry if this is TMI, but…standing in the start corral this morning, I felt a familiar throbbing in my lower belly and aching in my hips that I knew had nothing to do with running or digestion. Rather, it was my reproductive system letting me know that it was about to begin its monthly thing, and wouldn’t I rather be at home, under a blanket, with a warm cat sprawled across my lap? Why yes, I would.

In nearly two decades of racing, this was the first time I had ever encountered such unfortunate timing. It sucked.

Reason #4: My head wasn’t in it. Instead, my head was worrying about whether the movers would be on time on Monday and fretting about boxes that still needed to be packed.

Yeah….planning a half marathon the day before an interstate move is not a great plan.

Also, honestly? My heart wasn’t really in it today, either. My heart was in Atlanta, with my husband, who I miss dearly and cannot wait to see tomorrow night.

Reason #5: I’m exhausted. For the last week, I’ve spent nearly every waking moment moving shit around, putting shit in boxes, hauling shit to the trash chute, and shlepping shit to the car to bring to the Goodwill Donation Center. Even though we have movers coming to help with the actual moving, just preparing to move is exhausting.

So, those are my excuses. I started out today’s race with a downhill 7:20 mile that felt far too difficult; I knew it wasn’t going to be my day to run hard. I dropped back to marathon pace (7:45-7:50) for a couple of miles, but once I hit the soggy path, even that felt like too much. So I dropped back again and hung out at 8:15-8:30 (pretty close to my normal long run pace) for the rest of the race. And even that felt harder than it should have.

Sometimes, it just isn’t your day.

(Thanks to teammate Jenna for the photo)

Anyway. So this race didn’t exactly make me feel like a million bucks going into the last couple of weeks of Gansett Marathon training. In fact, it made me feel pretty discouraged and doubtful. My training volume hasn’t been what I’d hoped it would be this spring, and while I’m still running pretty well (for me) at shorter distances, it seems like I’m falling short in the stamina department.

Not sure if there’s much I can do about that at this point. Oh well.

After a lovely post-race nap, I cleaned myself up and headed in to work to drop off my key (sad!) and cajole a couple of my co-workers into enjoying one last post-shift beer with me. And it was a good one…

The famed 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish HeadIt was as amazing as I’d imagined it would be.

Around these parts, Dogfish 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA are pretty easy to find, but the 120 Minute is an elusive beast – probably because it’s actually illegal here in North Carolina. Amazingly smooth and sweet, it’s hard to believe that this beer packs an 18%-ABV punch. You get a quick hit of full-flavored hops at the beginning of each sip, but as it goes down it mellows in to a lovely honeysuckle finish with no pucker whatsoever. Utterly delicious.

Bottom line: This one definitely lives up to the hype. If you have a chance to get your hands on it, definitely buy it – and buy me one too, please!

Well…tomorrow is moving day. Every closet, cupboard, and drawer in the apartment is empty; the only thing left to be packed is the TV/cable/modem setup. By this time tomorrow night, if everything goes smoothly, I’ll be rolling in to Atlanta with two confused felines in tow.

Wish me luck!

27 responses to “Empty

  1. Good luck with the last of the moving! It’s always a a pain in the ass, but hopefully you’ll settle into Atlanta quickly. And hey, the reunion with TEH HUBZ should be fun, amirite?! 😉

    I haven’t been to ATL in a hot minute (no pun intended, boo on the heat). I want to come eat tacos at Tin Lizzy’s and meet you, so like…let’s set something up in the next couple months, yes?

  2. Wow Shelby, with all this stress going on in your life, packing and sorting and getting rid of things and anticipating moving and leaving friends and missing your husband, you still got up IN THE RAIN and ran a half marathon! WOW! Sometimes you just have to recognize that you can be totally proud that you got out there and did it. And the only people who could possibly be disappointed are those who would never attempt such a thing in the first place.
    Happy moves with the kitties to Atlanta!

  3. Moving just rots. The stress and distraction it engenders…I think it is super impressive that you ran in the rain on the soggy shit at all. A nap and an awesome beer? Now THAT’S consolation!

  4. I find all of those excuses to be legit…but then I’m a firm believer in reasoning (er, excuses…) so it doesn’t take much to win me over! Great job on getting out if bed and re-adjusting as you went!

    Good luck with moving… :)

  5. Sorry to hear about your cranky womb, etc., but I had to drop by to say that the Dogfish 120 minute is my absolute favorite beer of all time. I love love love it. I live in CT/MA and it’s tough to find around here, I think just because they make such limited runs of it, but I’ll go to the ends of the earth to find a bottle.

  6. aw shelby, racing amidst a time of tremendous change is never easy, physically and emotionally. and that sogginess couldn’t have helped much, either. cut yourself some slack, you’ve got a lot of stuff goin’ on. and cats to deal with on your way to atlanta. good luck!

  7. Every once in a while you have a bad race. Good job sticking to it. I’m sure things will improve when you are settled.

  8. 18% ABV?????? How have I missed this?

    This last sucky race just means that the first one you do in your new city will be awesome by comparison. Hope it’s a reasonably event-free move for you guys.

  9. At least you know what went wrong and can learn from it and move on. And thanks to our need to document everything in our blogs, we can learn from your mistakes too, and not do a half marathon the day before an interstate move :) Good luck with your move!! Hope your kitties like their new home.

  10. Take some deep breaths-you’ll be moved soon, whether you’re ready or not & then it”ll be done! You continue to amaze me with everything on your plate. And I can’t wait to have you here in Atlanta!

  11. All you had to mention were your ladytimes and that would’ve been sufficient. Stupid reproductive organs.

    Good luck with the move!

  12. Dude, I’m impressed that you even raced it at all considering the move and the craziness you’ve got going on! Your excuses are all pretty legit, too, no shame. 120 Minute is illegal in NC?? That’s crazy! Had someone bought it out of state?

    • Yep – a coworker’s friend brought it back from Delaware and he was nice enough to give it to me as a going away present. So of course I had to share it. (And also because I wouldn’t have been able to stand up straight if I drank the whole thing myself…)

  13. Dude. Those are all totally valid excuses. I can hardly get off the couch when I have my monthly visitor so the fact you ran a race amazes me in itself. And omg how good is the 120??? I just had it for the first time a few weeks ago at a local bar (that frankly I’m shocked carries anything other than bud light) and it was love at first sip.

  14. Sorry about the rough race & the many unfortunate (legitimate) excuses it didnt go as well as hoped. Honestly, good for you for still racing. Wishing you (& Parker & Emmy) a smooth move! Moving is a heck of a lot of work, and I can’t imagine it was easy to pack up all by yourself.

  15. What a coinkie dink! All those reasons are the same for me and my race this weekend!

  16. Hopefully yesterday’s race was just a bad race day and not an accurate predictor of how Gansett training is going? I don’t know these things, but I do know you’re a kick ass runner.

    Hope moving day is going well.

  17. Aw, man, sorry about the race. It happens to the best of us. And yeah, moving is not conducive to good running. In other news, I qualified for Gansett at Shamrock and I am crazy enough that I am going to do it!! I will see you in Rhode Island :-)

    • Dude, that’s amazing! I’m just catching up on my reader and saw your post. Congratulations! And maybe we can run together at Gansett!

      • Thanks! That could work. We are listed next to each other in the list of registered runners. I don’t know what my plan is for Gansett yet … depends on how quickly I recover. Maybe 3:30? I am familiar with most of the course. It is pretty flat from what I remember. Of course, you’re the competition 😉 Oh, who I am I kidding? I am perfectly content to be the back of the pack at Gansett.

  18. Ugh, sounds like really tough circumstances to do ANYTHING but sit on the couch and wring your hands and stress out. Your excuses sound legit to me! Good luck with the move, and hope the cats (and you, I mean, obvs) adjust to the ATL quickly!

  19. Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug. I hope all went well on the move!

  20. I can’t imagine running on a soggy trail…

    Sometimes it is just not a good day.

  21. Haven’t had a Dogfish beer I don’t like. Sad that you’re leaving. I hope you enjoy Atlanta!

  22. The effing humidity would have been enough to do me in (and I once bailed on a race three days after I moved), so sounds like a solid effort under unusually tough conditions to me. Those stars will align again – and it will feel so good when they do.

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