April 14, 2018

My 2.5-mile Race Report (a.k.a. The Half That Didn't Happen)

Unfortunately, this isn't going to be the "I did it!" exciting race report I'd hoped. Just a forewarning.

As you can probably guess from my title, I did not run the half-marathon today. Thirteen weeks ago, I announced that I was going to run a comeback half, because I really felt ready to get back into running.

Training went really well for the first 10 weeks. I can honestly say that I enjoyed doing the long runs with Jerry. If not for him, it would have been a big struggle to get them done. We had a lot of fun together, and always felt so accomplished when we were done! (You can read my weekly reports here)

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm a bit of a mess right now. I am in a depressive episode of bipolar, and my anxiety has been acting up quite a bit as well. I've been stressed out and I feel a ton of pressure to turn things around, but I have such a hard time doing it. And the more time that passes, the more pressure I feel.

(Side note: Thank you SO MUCH, by the way, for all of the kind comments on my last post. I had full intentions of replying to each comment, but the irony is that I am lacking motivation to do anything right now. I hope to reply soon. But I really do appreciate all of the kindness. If not for you all, I don't know how I would get through things sometimes. You have been so helpful and so kind. Thank you.)

Anyway, I still planned to run today's half-marathon up until last night. The weather forecast had been looking bad for a while, but with Michigan weather, you never know until it's right on top of you. One day (yesterday) it can be sunny and 70, and the next day (today) it can be 35, pouring rain, with 20 mph winds.

This screen shot was two hours after the start of the race, so the weather wasn't even this good during the race itself.

When I signed up for this race, I had no intentions of setting a PR, or even hitting a certain time. I simply wanted to make running FUN again and enjoy it! My sister wanted someone to run this race with her, so I agreed that this would be my comeback race. Jerry signed up as well, and I could picture the three of us jogging the course, laughing, maybe taking some pictures, and just having fun.

As the weather forecast got worse (due to the midwest SNOW storm!) I started wondering how fun this was going to be. I had paid a lot of money for us to do the race (and the kids were signed up for the 5K), so I was pretty insistent that we were going to do it. My sister came into town yesterday, and as we talked about what to do, we looked at the forecast again and after a ton of deliberation, decided not to do the race.

It was a gamble. If it turned out to be a nice day, I was going to be bummed that we decided not to do it! When we got up this morning, though, I was very confident that we made the right decision. It's been raining all day, and not just drizzle, or scattered rain--it's raining pretty hard. There is a flood warning, and tonight we actually have a WINTER STORM WARNING... in April!

I know this sounds like a lot of excuses, and back in my running heyday, I would have rolled my eyes at the thought of a runner skipping a race due to weather. I ran a marathon when the heat index was over 100 degrees, for God's sake! But it wasn't fun. And since I want to have FUN running again, today's race would not have been the way to do that.

So, this is my long-winded way of explaining why I didn't do the race today. Instead, Jeanie (my sister) suggested that we do the "race" at the Rec center on the treadmills. I had to stop and think about what could possibly be worse--hypothermia while running outside? Or running for over two and a half hours on a treadmill?

However, I was somehow convinced that it might actually be enjoyable to have the three of us (Jeanie, Jerry, and me) running side by side at the gym. I figured that if I absolutely hated it, I could just quit early.

Last night, I downloaded a movie and a couple of TV shows to my iPad, as well as several podcast episodes that sounded interesting. The gym opened at 9:00 this morning. Jeanie was registered to run the 5K AND the half marathon (16.2 miles total), so she came over to my house to run 5K on my treadmill before we headed to the gym.

I read my race report of this race from 2013, and the breakfast I'd eaten that day looked SO good that I really wanted to eat it again today. So, I made it--oatmeal with strawberries and mini chocolate chips. (I was lucky that I had frozen strawberries on hand). (It was kind of eerie reading the race report--the same weather issues happened back then, too! The outcome was different, then, though.)

When we got to the Rec, I immediately didn't like the set up of the room or the treadmills themselves. At home, my treadmill has a nice holder for my iPad, so it's directly in my line of vision. The treadmills at the gym had a console that was very low, so I had to just set my iPad on that (which forced my head to look down while running, and that's not good running posture).

The room itself doesn't have any fans, and it's fairly small. I immediately worried about getting way too hot. The treadmill had a tiny little fan on it, but that is never enough (at home, I have a very strong floor fan that I use).

Side note:
Yesterday, I got another ear piercing--my tragus, which is that little nub in the front of your ear.

Eli wanted to get his ear lobes pierced, and I have been wanting to do my left tragus for a while; I was just waiting for the newer piercings in my right ear to heal first. So, after I picked him up from track practice yesterday, we had a mother-son bonding experience at the tattoo shop, hahahaha.

Anyway, the point of that is that I discovered I can't comfortably wear earbuds right now. Once my piercing heals, I think it'll be okay, but I didn't want to mess around with it too much and have my ear get inflamed. That was another bummer about running at the gym; at home, I can just turn the volume up loud and I don't need to wear earbuds.

I turned on a movie called Jungle, which was supposed to be pretty action packed and suspenseful--just what I needed for a 13.1 mile run on the treadmill! I had a hard time concentrating on it, though, because there were a bunch of high school guys on the machines behind me (I think it was a wrestling team or something). Their coach was yelling instructions for them to go faster, etc, and the room echoed his voice really loudly, so I couldn't hear my movie well.

I realized that I just wasn't having fun. And since my goal with getting back to running is making it fun, I wasn't accomplishing that at all. It seemed stupid for me to continue to run for 13.1 miles when I didn't enjoy it. So, I decided to run for 30 minutes for the cardio workout, and then I called it quits. I had been running at 5.0 mph, and only completed 2.5 miles total. Thankfully, we drove to the Rec center separately in case that happened, so I wished Jeanie and Jerry luck and then I headed home.

I felt like a failure, but again, my goal was to have fun. And that just wasn't happening. Jerry made it through 10 miles before his knee started bothering him and he quit. He was really disappointed, but I was super impressed with him for getting that far on a treadmill!

Jeanie simply blows my mind. She is a fucking ROCKSTAR when it comes to running on the 'mill! She did all 16.2 miles (as I knew she would--she regularly does her long runs on the treadmill).

Anyway, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand, I know I made the right decision to skip the actual race (the rain + cold + wind would have been miserable). On the other hand, I am disappointed in myself for not getting in all 13.1 miles today as planned.

My goal was to have fun, so I failed at that--but most of that was out of my control. I'm sure if the weather had been nice and we ran the race together in Dearborn, I would have enjoyed it a lot! But the alternative option wasn't much better, so in that aspect, I feel like I made the right decision as well.

Where do I go from here? Well, I want to continue to run. What I don't want, though, is any pressure when it comes to running. I want to enjoy it! Just as last year was all about living my happiest life, I want to work on that again the best I can. I haven't figured out the details yet, but I'm thinking that I'd like to keep my running plan simple--maybe 30 minutes 4-5 times per week. I'd like to run at a very easy pace. It would be a great time to do heart rate training again (running at a low heart rate to improve my endurance). My most enjoyable runs are when I run at a low heart rate, so it would be a good solution.

The heart rate training was very helpful with my weight loss, too. So, maybe I can take off the 15 pounds that I've picked up, and actually enjoy myself while doing it. (Of course, it's going to take a dietary change to drop the weight, but the running does help me mentally as far as motivating me to eat better.)

Now that the race is over, I feel a giant sense of relief. I didn't finish it, obviously, but now it's not hanging over my head. Now I can return to focusing on what makes me happy. I've learned that I don't enjoy running more than about six miles at a time, so I'm thinking that I will stick with a 10K or shorter distance. I probably won't do any races (at least not in the foreseeable future). What sounds best to me right now is just no-pressure running for fitness and enjoyment (and feeling a sense of accomplishment, no matter what the distance or speed).

So, despite not finishing what I started 13 weeks ago, today wasn't a total bust. I learned what I want to get out of running, what I enjoy and don't enjoy, what makes me feel pressured and what makes me happy.

I hope I can use these discoveries to get back on the right track to physical (and mental!) wellness. Jerry is going to be starting his Insanity workouts on Monday, and the last time he did that, he got in the best shape of his life. It'd be nice to get back into shape with him, so I'm going to work on finding a FUN way to do so! :)

(Check out Jerry's pictures from when he did Insanity a few years ago. The picture on the left is at his goal weight, but on Day 1 of starting the Insanity workouts. The pic on the right is after completing the Insanity workout regimen. I believe his weight stayed the same, but you can clearly see that he built some serious definition in his muscles.)



  1. Katie,
    I am terribly sorry you’re feeling and dealing depressive side of the spectrum right now. I hope that it shifts back towards the better end for you ASAP, but until that happens (as we both know it will, eventually) I think you are still making the best decisions for you at this time surrounding being truly honest with yourself about how you feel and what you’re feeling capable of. There’s defiantly nothing good that would have come from making the decision to just go ahead and run the half. Not only the weather being bad, but I don’t believe you would have felt any better having just pushed through for the sake of doing it. Not to mention your injury flares during your training runs may have returned and that would be a whole additional thing to be delt with. I’m glad you chose not to run. I certainly hope the weather starts becoming more like spring (spring and sunshine always seem to improve my mood) and I would just say take it easy until ur ready. I love your new piercing btw! I have my right side done and it’s my favorite of all my piercings. Ask jerry if you can borrow his over the ear headphones for a while until it heals, but I honestly think earbuds never fit right in that ear no matter their style- lol a sacrifice I’m willing to deal with. I wish you the best Katie and always look forward to seeing a post from you no matter how long it’s been since the last. ❤️

  2. Crazy coincidence.....I was supoose to run a 5k Hot Chocolate run with some friends today in Mpls. The organizers still held the race but it was up to us if we really wanted to do it....in spite of the BLIZZARD we are having. It rained Friday night and then turned to sleet, ice and snow...we woke to 2-3 inches of a mess so we decided NOT to take our chances too.

    It wasn't worth risking a fall ...no way.

    The snow and wind have continued hard so far and we have shoveled about 4 inches of the wet heavy stuff as it continues to blow and snow. Seriously by dark it will be the worse storm of the season ~ visibility will be awful for sure.

    If this is coming your way have fun....its a mess.

    And this weather does not help my S.A.D. at all......so I get it, I totally get it! Take care!

    1. I was supposed to run the Hot Chocolate 15k. I chose that distance because it coincided with my half marathon training plan. Once they shortened it, I didn't want to drive over an hour each way, deal with limited parking, and run a 5k in a blizzard, only to go home and finish up on the treadmill. I wasn't willing to risk injury to me or my car!

      I did, however, do the entire 15k on the treadmill while watching Netflix. No medal, but at least I feel I "earned" the right to wear the shirt!

      Sorry you weren't able to run your race.

  3. Try not to feel bad about not doing the race. That weather does not sound like it was conducive to having any kind of fun!

    By the way, I laughed at your pics of Jerry at the end. I seriously would not have even recognized him if you hadn't said that was him in the picture. I even scrolled back to compare to the treadmill pictures. He looks completely different when he isn't making his usual "picture face"!!

  4. I think it's awesome that despite the struggles you're having, you're still making decisions which are positive for you - you're putting yourself first. You could've gone to the marathon, & felt miserable. You could've kept running on the treadmill, & felt miserable. Yet you recognised those wouldn't have been the right decisions for you. Awesome way to look out for yourself! That shows guts & great self-love.

    You inspired me to make some difficult decisions of my own yesterday, for similar reasons. Thank you for that.

    Love the tragus piercing btw :) I had the same issue when I got mine done last year, couldn't comfortably wear my ear buds. I also had issues using my stethoscope (I'm a vet), but thankfully it's all good now that it's healed :D

  5. Katie, I'm local in SE Michigan, and holy cow was our weather the pits today! I had other friends who typically do the Martian half, and they didn't this year as they weren't ready with their training, but they were relieved not to have suffered through this weather.

    Very sorry it didn't work out for you guys. I've never backed out of anything longer than a 5K due to bad weather, but I don't think I could bring myself to run the 2+ hours in crummy conditions.

    Great effort trying to complete on the treadmill. Kudos to your sister for going through with it! Distance on a treadmill is so hard.

  6. You impress me so much. I know you're struggling right now, but you're still showing up, being present for your family, finding ways to make the running goals work, but acknowledging when they're not giving you what you need. You've been such an inspiration to so many, including myself, and I want you to know I'm thinking of you and rooting for you! I know it's hard not to beat yourself up, but I just want you to know I think you're doing an amazing job.

  7. I don’t think you failed at all if your original goal was to have fun. Running in that weather is not fun! I live in Wisconsin and we had very similar weather (side note: um hello spring, can you please show up now?! Lol). Yesterday my husband and I ran to the store and the wind actually blew my husbands wallet right out of his sweatshirt pocket! So yeah, I can’t imagine running 13 miles in that! I think you’re making the right decisions for you! It all comes down to what makes you happy!

  8. I have to say Katie, I followed your half marathon training plan...missed a few runs when I was out of the country for 10 days.. but today was my half marathon! The weather in Ontario Canada is also pretty brutal this weekend. I managed to plow thru the wind and the cold and finished 2:16:53. It's my worst half marathon time ever, but I'm ok with that. I'm sorry to hear you didn't get your race done. Sometimes life has other plans for us, believe me, I was pretty close to calling it quits when I heard the weather report leading into the weekend! Thank you for all your honesty in your posts and for keeping it real. I admire your constant dedication to your blog. You've kept me motivated to keep running over the years, even though I dont really enjoy it...cheers!

  9. Jerry....WOW! Look at his abs in the after pic!
    I am so proud of you for sticking with what is best for you! You could have ended up sick or hurt given those running circumstances. Looking forward to reading more about fun running! Good for you!

  10. Have you ever considered trail running? My husband has always been a runner and last year took up trail running because it is easier on the joints. He ran the Two Hearted Trail run in Tahquamenon Falls and a trail run up at Pictured Rocks. The rest of the family didn't run the race, but we enjoyed Tahquamenon and Pictured Rocks.

  11. I am sorry that the weather just sucked. We're having crappy weather too, freezing rain, rain, just yuck. I don't think I would have ran either and it would totally bum me out.
    It doesn't matter how often you post, I am just always happy to read your news(good or bad) and see how you're doing.
    I love that you went to get a piercing with Eli, what a cool thing to do! Also he is really rocking the hair!
    I could use an update of all your fur babies. :)

  12. What a great way to take care of yourself in regards to your race plans. Your whole focus was having fun, and it clearly wasn't going to happen out in that awful weather OR on the treadmill (my longest on the TM is 10 miles, I don't know how anybody can do 16+ without losing it!) Your mental health is the most important thing, and you'll figure out how to fit running into that in a way that works for you. Love your bonding moment with Eli at the tattoo parlor! My daughter and I did the same with her first tattoo and my third. Doesn't everybody take their mom with them for their first tattoo?? Hope it heals up quickly so you can wear earbuds again - working out without music/podcasts isn't my favorite...

  13. Screw it! I wouldn’t run in whack ass weather either! Don’t beat yourself up over it either! And I know it cost a lot but could you find an alternate race in the next couple of weeks?

    I was trying to properly train for the Yosemite Hslf Marathon in May (after running the Paris marathon last year without training....) and properly training and carefully following a plan I got a tendon strain!!!! I went to 4 doctors and now I’m in a boot and on crutches and out of the race. 😭😭 I wanted to work towards the NYC marathon but I’d need to find another 1/2 and also be healed.

    Don’t beat yourself up. Rain happens. And if you want to race, look at runningintheusa.com and find another race!! :)

  14. I meant to comment on your last post. I'm so sorry you are struggling.

    i think you are really really smart to keep your goals attainable right now.

    i am not depressed right now but struggling with fatigue and motivation in life for whatever reason, burnout i think. i call any day that i get a workout, even a partial workout, a success. and i also call it a success if i take a rest day when i feel my body needs one.

    i think being really gentle and kind to yourself are keys to success.

    I hope your depressive episode ends soon. you are a great person and being depressed sometimes doesn't change that!


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