It has been awhile since I've written and since that time I've run in two races; Salida runthrough time half marathon and canyonlands half marathon. While both races were half marathons, they could not have been more different.
Salida run through time
Length: 13.1 miles
Elevation gain/loss: 2200ft gain/loss overall
Weather: sunny, 60 degrees maybe more, no wind
Final time: 2hrs 35minute
I ate fruity pebbles and a bagel for breakfast. The race went well. I continue to battle being a better uphill runner. This is something I have struggled with since becoming a runner. Last year I decided I was going to become a better uphill runner and for the most part I have. I no longer feel scared about the challenge and have adapted a mental strategy to be comfortable with my run no matter how slow my pace is. I feel like I made some strides this year and managed to cut my time down by 3 min. That may be because I didn't fall on my face this year, but I also feel like I ran a little faster.
Despite the slow time, being a trail run I feel like that is a good time. I don't expect to run as fast as I do on flat pavement courses. I also had a great time and felt pretty great at the end of the race.
Canyonlands half marathon
Elevation gain/loss: neglegable but mostly downhill
Weather: sunny, 65-70 degrees, 20mph winds
Final time: 2hrs 01minutes
I ate oatmeal and a honey stinger. The race started at ten, which seemed late for a race. I didn't feel like this race went well and I am struggling with how to reconcile my frustration. True the strong winds impacted most runners and everyone seemed to agree. I believe bad weather is not always a negative and it helps you practice running strong in various situations. However I truly fell apart at the race. I started out feeling tired and that running was laborious, but felt much better by about mile 4. The mid point in the race went well but after the hill at mile 9/10 is lowed down and continued to, especially at the highway. My goal for the race was 1:50 so I missed the mark by almost a minute a mile. I timed my miles and was sub 9min for most of the race.my end average time was 9:13 so I lost a lot the last three miles.
Despite my time being faster than Salida, I feel like this was just a really crappy race for me and Salida was a much better race. Canyonlands was exactly a week after Salida so I may still be struggling with "back to back" races. I am tempted to blame the race on the wind, but I still feel like I had a better time in me for this race.
I would love to hear from other runners how they recover after bad races and how they manage to break through the next level in running faster.