It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

June 03, 2013

Hospital Hill Half Marathon....I finished

I've ran the Hospital Hill Race the last 3 years.  In 2011, I did the 10K and in 2012 and this year I did the half marathon.  The race slogan is "I Conquered the Hill"......which I have always thought should be Hills, as this is an extremely hilly course.  It's named Hospital Hill however, for the one major hill in the race called Hospital Hill.

Anyway, this year, I did not conquer the hill(s).......they definitely conquered me.

Me & my friends Meredith and Michelle (my Disney Marathon Buddies)
This was my 6th half marathon in 2013.  Just 3 weeks ago I ran my fastest half of 2013, Saturday I ran my slowest half in 2 years.  This race report will be brief because there's not much to tell.  I finished...that's was just one of those days.

I am never fast, we all know that, but I can consistently run a 2:30-2:35 half. And I haven't ran anything over a 2:39 in 2 years.  On Saturday my half marathon was a 2:48....a freaking 2:48!!!  Last year when I ran this race I did it in 2:28....that's a 20 minute difference!!!

The hills, the hills!!!

I wasn't expecting this to be a fast race.  I actually planned to run it fairly slow and even started with the 2:35 pace group.  The plan was to take it easy and enjoy it.  I hadn't run much over the past week (only 3 miles) and it was a hilly course, so I didn't plan to kill it.

Me & Jim post race
I'm not exactly sure what happened.  It just wasn't my day at all.  The entire race felt like a struggle.  From the time I started I felt tired, sluggish and not great.  At mile 5, I got a really bad side cramp under my left rib cage.  I never get side cramps anymore.  I walked for awhile trying to get it to go away.  It wasn't long after this that the 2:35 pace group pushed ahead of me.  I just told myself to keep them in my sites.  But as I continued I just felt more tired, my heart rate was crazy and I just couldn't get it under control.  By mile 8 I felt like I was walking more than running.  Around mile 9 I developed terrible cramps in my back ribs.  It hurt way to bad to run.  I would run a few feet and then have to stop and walk.  About this time the 2:40 pace group passed me.  Crap I thought, you've got to do all you can to keep up with I started running again, for about 30 feet and had to stop.  It was then I realized, this race was just going to be slow.  There was nothing I was going to be able to do.  My body wasn't having any of it.  Even if I had to walk the next 4 miles, I would get through it, and I would finish.  I walked almost all of miles 10-12.  Then once you get past about mile 12.5 you've gone over the last hill and you have a nice downhill stretch to the finish.  So I ran out that last half mile or so, but it was still a slow run.

I crossed the finish line and there were several of my friends and Jim waiting for me...I'm sure probably wondering what the heck happened to me...but waiting none the less.  So really you can't complain.  These things are for fun, and while I struggled I still had a great time.

So that's that.  Not much to tell.  I finished.

Me crossing the finish line

The only thing I can really say that might have contributed was the fact that I had been taking a decongestant twice a day for over a week leading up to the race because my allergies had been crazy.  So considering you can make meth with decongestants, I'm thinking it might have impacted my heart race and maybe I was a little dehydrated as well.  But maybe it was just one of those races that everyone has at some point...and it was just a bad day.  But, I don't think I'll be taking decongestants again so close to a race.  Lesson learned.  Oh, and Jim and I skipped pre-race dance....hmmmm...I think that might be an issue too.

This is a an excellent race, and I will do again.  I will try to forget my bad experience and hopefully redeem myself next year.  You also got a great track jacket this year for their 40th Anniversary and a pretty cool medal.  It's pretty impressive that a race like this has been around 40 years.

Medal and Jacket (stolen from my husband's blog)


  1. Great job finishing! Nice jacket too, those hills do look pretty tough.

  2. Hills can suck! But you got through it...that is awesome! There are days I have horrific runs but they are still way better than doing nothing & I never regret them :)

  3. That looks like a really nice jacket.

    It was the prerace dance! I've been following you guys together for awhile and it seems when you miss the prerace dance with pictures that you guys are a bit off. But the important thing is that you finished!

  4. Having run in your fair city back in July 2011 (was there for a singing competition...ran the Rock The Crossroads 5K in lovely 95 degree humidity...ugh!), I actually got to be familiar with a few of the hills (ran from downtown out beyond the WW1 Memorial and back several times), you definitely conquered the hills!

  5. I would say that with those decongestants - you were probably very dehydrated. Great accomplishment finishing.

    I had wanted to run this race this year with a friend of mine - but she was out of town. Maybe next year.

  6. You skipped the pre-race dance?? No wonder it was a tough race for you. Well done on finishing, though. Those tough races really sort out the athletes with mental endurance.

  7. 100% blaming it on skipping the pre-race dance...I mean seriously what were you thinking? In all seriousness we all have these type of races. They do serve a purpose although it is hard to see in the moment. They make the good races and the PR's that much sweeter, they humble us, and they teach us patience. I am sorry that you had a crappy race (we all..yes even me) do but it is how we react to them that define our character. I'm glad you were able to see through it and still enjoy the finish festivities and time with friends and family.

  8. Sorry it was so not a good race for you but glad you had some fun. My VCM this year was 15 minutes slower than last year if that helps. And 6 halves this year??? I thought I was hot stuff with 4. You aren't convincing me yet not to leave you in the hero column.

  9. Well clearly you messed up with pre race ritual and well you paid the price...must do pre race dance with Jim always.
    You know finishing a race sounds pretty sweet right now.
    Perspective ....
    You started and you finished
    From my view here that is pretty nice.

  10. Great job finishing. What a cool jacket. Sorry it was such a bad day, glad you're already planning your revenge!

  11. You are a racing animal. Congrats on getting another one done even if the hills won.

    I've heard that a pre-race dance guarantees a 15 minute faster finish time.

  12. I'm impressed that you finished under those conditions! Congrats on getting through a tough race!

  13. Michael-
    I've had a few weeks off your blog.

    I'm sorry you have had one of 'those races'. I'm glad you finished and knew when to not push yourself to avoid further injuries. You are right though. It had to be the extenuating circumstances of the medication and dealing with allergies and now you know for the next time. I'll keep this in mind for myself too so sharing your misery might have helped a few of your fellow runners.

    I'm also thrilled to hear that your don't have ligament damage. It is definitely the harder route for healing and I wish you all the best for the bone to properly heal so you won't have to have surgery. Hang in there. How will this affect your tri training and do you have plans to cut out races because of the healing time?

    Hang in there. Have a graet day!!

  14. I think the fact that you have done this race before and came back for MORE hills is applaudable!!!! Sorry this time was so rough though. I hope you are off those meds soon and your allergies get better!

    I am going to the Lawrence Half Ironman this weekend. Do you know anyone doing it? :)

  15. When I ran on decongestants, they totally messed with me, too. Sorry to hear about that. But you did finish! That's still awesome.