The Perfectly Imperfect Race - Eat on the Run

The Perfectly Imperfect Race

by Melissa on April 22, 2015

But for real, I miss blogging and sharing all that is happening with you!

The past month has been another whirlwind of packing, moving, racing, and hosting.  Although all fun, between the chaos of our personal life, my work life has also been way crazy too.  I’m ready for a weekend of no plans. :)

The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past couple months is that your goals can still be achieved even amongst the most imperfect conditions.  Example #1, my search for a 3 minute half marathon PR this winter.  Yeesssss….THIS WINTER.

Most of my long runs were in 15 degrees (or colder)  While I am a self-proclaimed lover of cold weather running, even I think 10 degrees is a little BRISK.  With the cold and then the frequent snow the treadmill also made regular appearances into my training regimen.  Not ideal. 

Also added into this round of training was getting engaged (best day of my life so far), taking the training to be an RRCA coach, and moving into a townhouse (the weekend before the race).

So what happens when you show up at your race with these conditions under your belt?  You suck it up, look at all the training that did happen, and keep a positive mindset.   Thanks Coach Julie for reminding me of this!

The Love Run expo was held at Phillies Stadium, which you would think would be great for an early spring race right?  Well it would have been had the expo and race been about 3 days earlier.  During the week leading up to the race, we enjoyed spring like temps in the 50s and 60s.  Starting Saturday, the wind picked up and the temperature plummeted.  Devin and I spent about 20 minutes at the expo, grabbed my race bib, and left.  The wind was just too brutal to stick around and enjoy the vendors.

My favorite SWAG though?

The Love Run mug!  Mugs are my jam. 

In short, the imperfect conditions followed us all the way to race day, including our accommodations.  I booked a hotel, however being not that familiar with Philly, it ended up being a good 35 minute walk from the race start.  Not ideal when it’s 20 degrees and windy outside!  Devin helped me stay calm by suggesting we just UBER it.  Totally worth the expense and piece of  mind!

The creature of habit that I am, I made us a reservation at Maggiano’s for my typical pre-race pasta.  Simple carbs keep my stomach clear of any digestive issues on race day.  This is obviously something that I’ve learned through training and many botched pre-race meals! 

Race morning was actually very stress free.  The Uber found us and was able to drop us off with only a 10 minute walk left to the start line. 

It was a cold morning and both of us were bundled.  I brought an extra coat and scarf and luckily had Devin to hold on to it while I raced.


I can honestly say I’ve never raced with more clothing on!  Gloves, hat, warm tights, long sleeve, and an insulated running jacket.  With 15 minutes left till the start, I got into my corral and stayed warm between runners while doing dynamic stretches.  Despite my efforts, my feet still went numb from the cold.  I spent the first three miles with minimal feeling in my feet!

The course looped through downtown Philly, then headed past the Art Museum and down towards the river.  This is the point where I ended up seeing Devin.  While it was still early in the race (Mile 5), it gave me a boost and fueled me for the miles ahead.  There were 2 hills on the course, and I was gearing my pace to allow time for tackling those.

I was holding a steady pace till about Mile 11.  This was the point when I just wasn’t sure if I could hold on anymore.  And I remembered Coach Julie’s voice at this point – “stay positive”.  I really believe that has been my biggest issue with hitting my goal before in the half.  Mile 10 to 11 would cause a lot of discomfort and I would back off.  Hitting race pace miles late in my long training runs gave me the confidence that I could hit them on race day.  So I kept going!

The finish line was just at the top of hill by the Art Museum (aka the Rocky Steps)!  It was a push to the finish!


Devin caught it all on camera.  At this point, I knew I would hit my goal!  My face wasn’t the prettiest, because I was cycling between tears and some pain.


I think this picture really shows the true emotion of my finish: [frozen] tears of joy for finally hitting this goal.  Despite the terrible conditions this winter and the little hurdles we hit going into race weekend, it was so great to reach this point and see all the efforts over the past few months come to fruition.

Devin was right there to greet me after the finish line.  We were both exhausted.  He was outside braving the elements the entire time.  So we hurried up at the Rocky steps and then hopped into an Uber to get back to the hotel!


The hotel we stayed at was connected to The Red Owl Tavern, which came in handy since we had already paid our valet fee for staying there.  So we showered and then got some delicious food before our drive back to DC.


The restaurant had a great assortment of breakfast drinks, so we sipped coffee and water and shared a red beet juice!

Lesson learned?  Don’t fret the imperfections in your training.  If you have a good coach or plan, they’re already planning on missed workouts, weather issues, and imperfect race day conditions.  It comes down to how much you want to reach your goal and your ability to think positively through the entire process.  Embrace the imperfections!  Enjoy the training! 


What are some the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome to hit your goal on race day?

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