Missing the "it" factor
I don't know if was the weather, or not knowing the course, or my allergies, or something else altogether, but I didn't have "it" today.
The Cleveland Half Marathon will go down in my books as one of my personal worst race experiences. On a day that got hot very quickly after a few miles, I just couldn't put the pieces together for even a good race.
My finishing time of 1:54:55 doesn't reflect a nice start and what could have been -- after a very congested first mile in 8:18, I put together a solid 7:31.
I was right on target and feeling good. Then I don't know what happened. Miles of 7:44 and 8:03 felt OK, but I started to feel like my effort wasn't producing good times.
Around halfway, I was feeling miserable. If this course had gone back toward the start/finish area near Browns Stadium, I may have packed it in and gone with a DNF.
I pushed forward though -- I remember wiping my face 7 miles or so in and I was pretty salty. That's never happened to me in a half marathon that I can remember.
My strategy quickly shifted and became to "just finish." I walked through every water stop, grabbing both Powerade and water. I haven't taken a sports drink during a half in several years.
My pace was miserable -- I was putting down mile times that I don't even think about doing anymore on an easy day.
I saw two people on the course getting medical attention and a third nearly fall over around 11 miles -- thankfully several runners were there to help.
I came through the finishing shoot mad that the elements won, but grateful to be finishing.
By the time I found my wife, I had already put this awful, miserable experience behind me and could laugh about it.
I didn't have "it" today and I'm just fine with that. It was a learning experience that will only help in training runs this summer.
Live, learn, and move on to the next race ...