CBHM Recap: At least the fails are funny

I had a lot of extra time to let my mind wander during today’s Covered Bridges Half Marathon, and at one point I was thinking about what my contribution to the running blogosphere is. It’s not technical advice or training know-how, nor tales of superhuman ultrarunning prowess; and it’s clearly not a roadmap to consistent improvement, given that I once again set a PW (personal worst) time for the half marathon (last time was at the Runner’s World halfathon).

So if I’m not bringing any of that to the virtual table, why chronicle training and recap the races? Because if nothing else, I’ve got a sense of humor about the ways I contribute to my own running fails:

I totally misjudged the weather. We queued up at Suicide Six under bright skies and already-balmy temps, and things got started smoothly.

CBHM start

My legs felt good to go for a while, but after about 5 miles, the heat started to get to me. I thought we’d be starting in the mid-60s and ending in the 70s, but temps were in the low 70s when we started, and in the upper 80s by the time I finished. Not Death Valley hot, by any means, but way hotter than I’d been training in. Add some thick humidity to the mix, and I may as well have been running with a fresh-from-the-dryer quilt wrapped around my face.

I let the love handles fly. By the time we reached this covered bridge near the end of mile 6, I’d cried uncle to the heat and pulled up to walk, realizing that 1:50 wasn’t happening today.

What was going to happen was me stripping down to my sports bra, leaving my stylish but stifling No Meat Athlete shirt on the side of the road. Get excited, spectators – shirtless middle-aged mom who’s been slacking on her core work, COMING THROUGH. Did this improve my aerodynamics? No. Did it improve my sunburnedness? Yes.

I had THE WORST aim for spectators’ garden hoses. Through miles 6-12, I saw several runners who had collapsed (but were obviously still conscious) and were picked up by emergency services, so I realized that taking it slow was probably the prudent thing to do. That, and bee-lining for every spectator who had brought out their garden hose. However, my aim was less than stellar and I ended up mostly getting sprayed in the face (great for visibility), or on my water bottle (glad it’s feeling cool), or over my head (I’m 5’6”!).

I aided another runner who then passed me & finished before me. At one point, I stopped and essentially forced a guy who was cramping from dehydration to lie down so I could manually stretch out his recalcitrant calf in mile 12. He apologized for holding me up – and then went on to pass me and finish probably a minute or two ahead of me.

But, despite getting in my own way at nearly every turn, I did at least finish the crazy thing.

Me with Health Connections executive director Cathy Hazlett

So if you want to know how to consistently de-improve your half marathon times and find the funny in it anyway, do swing by for my next running update.


  1. Sorry about your race failure, but it was humorous to read! I hope the dude who was cramping thanked you profusely post-race? I watched a race this morning (opted not to run, for once!) and there was a woman at the 26 mile marker running backwards. She was cramping so much and when she tried to turn around she couldn’t run. She still finished though and it was awesome!

    • eatingtheweek says:

      I overheard runners at the CBHM finish say they saw a runner do that yesterday! She must get around.

  2. Portia says:

    The commentary about the shirtless middle-aged mom was hilarious. HOWEVER, the picture at the end (hey, nice abs!) kind of undermines your flabalicious narrative. You look awesome, it was hot, and you ran a smart race. After reading this, I decided not to run my next half. You are an inspiration!

    Wait, what?

    Also that dude you helped? SO wrong. He could have at least let you finish ahead of him. What a pansy.

    • eatingtheweek says:

      Ha, I’m failspiring! Which half are you Norma running?

      And while I appreciate the commentary re: my unintentionally revealing attire, there’s some artful posing going on there that helps.

      When I saw Calf Guy after I finished, he was on all fours w/3 people pouring water on him. Karma or overheating? We may never know ;) And he did give me another thanks on his way past before that.

      • eatingtheweek says:

        *not running, rather.

      • Portia says:

        To be fair, I decided not to run it a couple of days ago. The Mad Half Marathon. Utterly beautiful race, very hilly but worth it. But I’m kind of burned out and I’m supposed to start marathon training soon, so I’m taking a week off this week and deciding not to run extra stuff.

        I really like “failspiring”!

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