Overall the race went well. In fact, it went very well.
Going into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon this past Sunday, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was leaving my comfort zone and embarking on a 2nd half marathon less than two months after my last one and my quick, 8-week training hadn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. But I was excited, if for no other reason because I was getting it over with and there was ice cream cake awaiting me at home.
Despite overcast skies and porta-potty lines that were obscenely long I was physically and mentally in a good place when I crammed my body into Corral #9. I was ready to go. I got out to a good pace, soaked up my surroundings, and finished with a very respectable time. I also managed to avoid walking, a small feat but something I hadn’t done in the last three half marathons I’ve participated in. I had the added bonus of feeling reasonably decent after the race, probably the best I’ve ever felt after a half. I was certainly exhausted and sore, but not in that “I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck” kind of way.
Having forgotten to pay attention to the clock at the starting line, I was unsure on my exact finishing time. I knew it was around two hours and that was about where I wanted to be. My goal was to crack the two hour barrier, but all things considered I was thrilled with how the race unfolded and getting close to that benchmark would be enough. That line of thinking changed once I got on my phone and checked my official time: 2:00:14. I missed my goal by 15 f@*king seconds.
Within moments of this discovery, the gears of my mind began to grind and I started going over all the places where I could’ve easily made up those vital 15 seconds. I could’ve NOT made that second pee stop. I could’ve NOT taken that picture of Brooks’ awesome rocker guy arch. I could’ve blown past ONE water stop. I could’ve been a little more AGGRESSIVE in passing a few people early in the race. I could’ve run a little FASTER for a just minute or two. Doing just ONE of these things could’ve been the difference between making my goal and missing it by the thinnest of margins.
Weirdly, had I finished with a time like 2:01:00 I would’ve almost felt better. I could still second guess myself, but a minute plus is a little harder to nitpick. A minute is a few small things done differently. Fifteen seconds is just one.
Second guessing aside, the race was a success and I find myself in a much better place running-wise than I was last year. I’ve already knocked out two halfs, both of which were much better than the two I ran in 2016. Plus, after 5 months of half marathon training, I can dial it back and enjoy a summer of more leisurely running.
But while the sting of those 15 seconds has more or less worn off, I have a sneaking suspicion that every time I see that time on my race/training spreadsheet, I’m going to feel that tinge of regret as I recall all of those small moments that could’ve made the difference.
Looks like it might be time to delete that spreadsheet.