This morning started out nice and easy with a later than usual yoga practice, a free coffee from Thump, and a casual walk with Bernie.  I decided to give myself a “treat” morning because this past weekend, I completed my 8th half marathon, the Boulder Rez Half Marathon.

Boulder Rez Half Marathon 2016

While I may be all smiles in the picture above, I’ll be completely honest in saying that this race was just NOT a good one for me and unfortunately I didn’t achieve the goal I was working towards.

Honestly, I contemplated not even writing a recap of this race because of my lack of achievement, but this blog is a space where I am supposed to share the ups and the down and where I really try to show you my authentic self.

Boulder Rez Half Marathon 2016

At first, I was so bummed that I didn’t achieve my goal that I had worked months for.  After having a mini pity party (and a bloody mary at brunch) I have jumped back on the horse and I am ready to give my body a bit of rest before jumping back into the training game.

Just a quick overview of the race:

  • This is a very small race, so there were many points when I felt as if I was running alone.
  • Overall, I felt like the race lacked adrenaline and excitement.  This is one of my favorite aspects of a race, so I was kind of bummed from the beginning.  Not sure if this other people felt this way, but this was my perception from the start.
  • The course has stunning views of Boulder including the flatirons.
  • There are several portions where you are running directly toward the sun, so sun glasses or a hat are a must!
  • There are ample aid stations (every 1.5 miles!).
  • The staff was extremely friendly and the course was very well marked.  There were volunteers/staff at all turns where things may have been a bit confusing.

Here are 4 things I learned from not achieving my goal at the first attempt:

1.  No matter how hard you train, sometimes there are things out of your control.

This was a huge shock to me.  During my training, I completed long runs up to 16 miles, did weekly speed workouts at a pace faster than race pace for months, completed hill workouts, focused on strengthening my glutes and core, did lots of stretching and foam rolling, and visited a chiropractor.

Despite all of that preparation, on race day my legs felt like lead, my stomach felt heavy, I got side cramps, and all I wanted to do was quit.  You know what I didn’t do?  I didn’t quit.  I pushed through the pain, finished the race, and now I’m just looking at the race as one of those days that my body didn’t want to run.  Every day is different with the body, and that is OK!  Let’s just hope the next race is a day where running feels light and easy 🙂

2.  “Race day doesn’t build character, it reveals it.” 

I saw my friend Amanda post this quote on Instagram yesterday morning before the race.  It really resonated with me, especially since I didn’t achieve my goal.  Because I didn’t achieve my goal the first time, I realize how much I really want that goal.  I could have had a horrible reaction to the situation, but instead I have chosen to look at this situation as a learning opportunity.  I’m happy for all of the runners who did achieve their goals and look to them for inspiration in my future training and running.

Thank you for the perfect quote, Amanda!

3.  I need to look at my training plan and maybe push myself harder.

While I had a training plan that allowed me to run a 1:45:35 half marathon while not feeling so great, I want to push myself so that I DO feel great and so that I can run a little faster.  It’s time for me to take a hard look at areas where I could improve my training.  Maybe more strength training, more prehab/stretching/yoga? Maybe I wasn’t pushing myself to my best ability during my training runs.  There are many areas I could tweak and improve, but it’s important for me to realize that changes need to be made in order for changes to occur.

4.  It’s about the journey.

This kind of goes along with all of the above thoughts, but it’s really important for me to accept the fact that I didn’t achieve my goal but to look at the progress I did make over the last few months.  I am going to continue to train, listen to my body, and have fun with it…that’s why I do this stuff in the first place right!?

Your Turn:

  • Have you ever set out to achieve a goal that you didn’t achieve as easily as you expected?  What did you learn?
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  1. Hello, not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I just wanted to share the suggestion that tapering before race day is important. Maybe that is a reason you were stiff on race day? For a half, they say you want to reduce your workout load at least 2 weeks before race, so the body can be fully recovered on race day.

  2. I know you didn’t achieve your goal but you did an amazing job pushing through. Some days are just not our days! And isn’t it nice sometimes to have these blogs to force us to think through (aka write through) the not so good days to recognize the good in them?

    • Thanks, Katie!! I totally agree that these blogs are pretty darn amazing 🙂 And yes…I’m thankful for completing anyways!

  3. I’m sorry it didn’t go as planned. That’s the great (and shitty) thing about running, it keeps us coming back for more! Right? Next race you’ll hit those goals and walk off feeling even better because of having the emotions you have right now. Still you did great!!

    • Thanks, Kindal! 🙂 That is the thing that totally keeps us coming back for more…the journey to keep getting better 🙂

  4. You definitely still deserve a big CONGRATS!! Just finishing a half marathon is a huge accomplishment! Give your body some rest and enjoy it and you will come back fresh and ready to tackle your goal next time!

  5. You still finished a half marathon which is an achievement in itself! Sometimes races don’t go as planned, but your training is there and you’ll reach your goal next time 🙂

  6. Thank you for sharing this, bc even though maybe you did not hit your goal, you are inspiring many “ordinary” runners to compete. I am so sorry that you did not hit your race day goal but every day is different! Plus you showed up and did the training so that def counts!

  7. Girl, our bodies are so different every single day. You could probably go out right now and run a totally different race with the same training. It just wasn’t your race day 🙁 It doesn’t mean you didn’t adequately prepare.

    Give yourself some grace and then get back to it when you’re ready.

    I’m glad you shared your less than stellar race recap although your finish time is inspirational for many.


  8. Aww Tara, I’m so sorry your race didn’t go as well as you’d hoped but as a 10 minute per mile runner, I’m crazy impressed by your time! Take it easy on yourself, you should be proud!

  9. Tara, you might not be happy now, but I want to say CONGRATULATIONS! You again proved first of all to yourself and then to others that you are NOT a quitter! Beside the cramp and pain, you pushed through it and finished it! You are the finisher for the 8th time! Not everyone can do that!
    As you said, it’s all about the journey and how much we enjoy it! You are a strong girl and you will get what you have been training for! :*

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