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(Un)comfortably uncomfortable, Part II

I raced uncomfortable. It didn't feel comfortably so, however. I'll save you from my excuses. I don't exactly have any to share. Yet I will say I think I had a bad day (at least I hope I did). Is that an excuse?
Attempting to represent Team BSR. I feel as contorted as I
look in this picture. That finish line couldn't have come
soon enough on a bad day. Photo courtesy of Cecil Williams.

Sunshine graced us upon our descent onto Wawawai Landing. Temperatures hovered around 50 degrees. The day looked spectacular. Wind raced through the valley, but it always does. I'd sipped on PhD nutrition's Glyco-Durance drink on the way down, feeling rather hydrated in strawberry kiwi. After finding a parking spot, I started to don my race garb so I could complete my warmup before the gun sounded to initiate the start of the race. I slathered Ruby's Lube under my heart rate monitor strap, as well as in areas of my shoes I always feel hot spots.

Warm up done, I waited in the group of approximately 750 runners, facing out toward the course and into the oncoming headwind. The gun sounded, and I set off at my planned pace with a pack of runners that I hoped I could work with to cut through the headwind and disperse some of the effort.

My pace started to slip by mile four, which seemed to coincide well with the strength of the wind. My breathing felt comfortable, but my legs ached. This didn't feel right, especially just going into the turnaround to signal the half-way point. I hoped upon turning around the cone, my effort wouldn't feel as great without the headwind to fight against.

It felt just as bad. Uncomfortable doesn't begin to describe it. Heaviness. Lethargy. Giving up. It's as though with the turn of the course, so too, did the temperatures escalate. The games I'd started with myself at the beginning of the race seemed to take a turn for the worse. I lost control when I lost my air conditioner in the way of the headwind. The irony of it all killed me, and it showed in miles six through eight. I downed a gel in an effort to ignite the fire that seemed to have faded to a flicker. It took about two miles of significant effort to trot along at what is normally a comfortable pace. My legs seemed to respond to the gel, just as fire seems to strengthen with more air.

Mile twelve finally rolled into view, and with a strengthened flame, I busted my butt to finish at a respectable pace, the one I'd set out to average at on this day. Of course, my day had finished miles before, but I needed to prove to myself that, really, this was just a bad day.

On my first race of this year, I've been humbled. I set out to PR; I arrived home to analyze the day and determine what needs fixing to successfully move forward in this 2015. These kind of situations make me uncomfortable. Yet they encourage me to look forward. Thankfully, I have another opportunity next weekend to test my speed at a St. Paddy's Day 10k race in Nashville, Tennessee. (Bryan and I don't normally travel cross-country for a 10k, FYI. We simply enjoy turning business trips into race weekends.)

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