My Johnny Miles Half Marathon Race Recap

Just as fast as I hit the registration button, the race was over like that! Well, almost that fast.

After taking a few days to put together my thoughts, I will start off by saying I reached my main goal of finishing my half marathon and having no hamstring pain. BIG WIN! I should be really happy with this but keep reading and you might understand why I’m not as happy as I should be.

Johnny Miles Race Weekend – Half Marathon

It was a small town event with a beautiful looped course on what was our first extremely HOT day of the year (25c to 28c). It was scorching outside with a slight breeze every so often. It was a weekend away for my running buddy, Krystol and I. We ate good food, hydrated liked queens and relaxed without kids around – it was kinda odd to be away without our kids and having nothing to do.

Johnny Miles Running Buddies

I slept okay the night before the race in the hotel but woke up around 5:15 AM not feeling well…trip #1 to the bathroom. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. Our alarms went off around 6:15 and I had trip #2 to the bathroom, still not feeling great. I felt sick. I felt nervous. I felt empty. (I’ll get to that shortly).

We did our things and got down to the race around 8am and had an hour until we started. The full marathon was supposed to start at 8am but they opened it up to FULL marathoners that wanted to started at 7am and beat some of the heat. I really wish they would have given this option to EVERYONE (half, 10k and 5k ers). It was bloody hot and was only going to get worse. Really, this is my only suggestion for next year…start earlier.

Okay…cue the tears….I need to back it up a bit for you to understand how my run was so horrible.

I was ready for this. I ran all the kilometres I could. I did all the speed work I could. I did strength training to get stronger and yoga to make my muscles feel better. With all that, nothing could prepare me for what was about to happen two days before the race.

Our dog Maclean, passed away Friday morning. She was sick but we didn’t know how sick. I had taken her to the vet’s on Thursday morning and by Thursday night she reacted poorly to medication but was improving over night (or so I thought). Friday morning after getting through the night, I told the girls to say “Goodbye and tell her you love her”….because honestly, I didn’t have a sweet clue what would happen at the vets later that day. I drove the girls to day care and came home to find my dog no longer alive. I freaked out a bit, called Saï as he was away, called the vet, called Krystol for help – she’s way more then a running buddy. She was gone. I’m come back to this another day.

Maclean 2002 2016

With a broken heart and empty soul I decided to run my half anyway. My husband was away for work and my parents were taking care of the girls. I thought running the race and getting away for the weekend would help but it didn’t.

The soul soother I was hoping for didn’t happen on my run. The first 5k was fine. My lungs felt great, my pace was great, I was ready…but my heart wasn’t, my mind was elsewhere. At 5k I took my first short walk (WTF?), by 8k I took a more serious walking break (pity party) and by 12km I was crying with tears down my face as I got passed by old guys. I wasn’t crying because they passed me but for the loss of Maclean and the desire to give up my effort.

The course was great. Half on the road, half on the trail with short hills and inclines throughout. Actually, it might be the perfect combination for a race but for me it was a struggle just putting one foot in front of the other. Seriously, one foot in front of the other was all I could focus on for a long-LONG time.

13k….15k…17k…. walk, walk, walk. Run when I could for 15-30 seconds and walk more. More walking then I ever wanted to do. Physically, I know I can do the distance but mentally I was done before I even started the race. I was drained.

By 18k I was just pissed off at myself. I could hear the finish line but still had to run in the opposite direction for a few more kilometres and then turn around. My Garmin kept moving forward in time yet I was just empty and broken inside. (I NEVER thought I would feel this way about losing our dog – NEVER!).

At 19k I ran through a sprinkler for the second time – best part of my run! I had people cheering me on by name as I was running by myself, they could read my bib. Honestly, that helped a lot. Two men called out “your almost there”….I replied with “I’m going for a personal worst”. They encouraged me some more and it helped a bit but they didn’t know I was hurting inside – no one did. I picked up my pace and then saw Krystol who got these shots of me:

johnny miles half marahon done

I picked up my pace again and turned the corner to the finish line. I had it all to myself (kinda cool, kinda weird). I could see the crowd of people and hear the MC but couldn’t bring myself to look up and enjoy it. I just push as hard as I could to finish the race, crossed the finish line and cried. I sat down and cried a little more then went to get some food and stretch on a patch of grass. That’s it…all done my fourth half marathon.

Krystol had, what I would call a great race for those conditions. She was on pace for a sub 2 hour half but just missed it as the heat took a toll on her.

Johnny Miles Weekend

I’m still empty, still sad but that will take some time. I’m not overly happy with my run but YES, I am thankful for completing another half marathon. My fourth half marathon, the hardest one to date. I still don’t know my official time and might not even bother to look it up. You may have seen my posts on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook about my slight disappointment but I only told half the story.

So………that my friends is my half marathon experience. Not the one that I dreamed about during my 400’s on the treadmill, not the one that I worked so hard for and never thought it would be mentally draining and the hardest run I’ve done to date. I’m thankful it’s done and that I’m strong enough to run that distance again pain free. However, I’m just empty and sad for losing our dog.

The end of Half Marathon #4.

PS. I’m 110% questioning my next half marathon in September and may drop to the 10k. I thought a lot about this during my run but haven’t fully decided yet on my next half marathons’ fate.

Happy Hump Day!

Anyone race, train or just enjoy the weather last weekend/this weekend?

Have you ever ran a race after a loss (be it an animal or person) ?



29 thoughts on “My Johnny Miles Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about Maclean – heartbreaking. Grief can show up when and where we least expect it. Xo

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss, Anna. I cried while reading your post. I know the pain of losing a pet and I can only imagine how hard that half marathon must have been for you. We train so hard for one race and life can really get in the way of that one race after all the work we’ve put in. Best you can do is think of anything positive about the training and race. Keep putting one foot in front of another through all of life’s bumps. Running is what helps me deal with the sad stuff. ((((hugs))))

  3. I’m so sorry, Anna. I am just so sorry. For your loss, and for it all to culminate in the weekend of your goal race. But you ran, you will live, and your pup will live on with you.

    • Thanks Suz. Yeah, life happens when it happens and you just have to roll with the punches. Sometimes those punches are a little harder than others. I am happy (now) and thankful that I ran and finished my 4th half marathon.

  4. Oh, Anna, I’m so sorry. I know how awful it is to lose a furry friend, and I can’t imagine how I would have been able to push through a half marathon if I lost one of my kitties. I’m proud of you for finishing in spite of your pain. ❤

  5. I’m so sorry about Maclean 😦 Pets are family, and their loss certainly takes a toll. Well done for getting through that race in spite of it all! Sending virtual hugs your way.

  6. I’m so sorry. Like the poster above said, pets are family and they’ll def affect you in some way with their passing. Sending love and hugs your way my friend! Way to finish what you started!

  7. Aw, Anna. I’m so sorry for your loss. It must have been so difficult to have that emotional roller coaster right before your run. I’m sure the heat was the main factor in slowing you down. I also walked a lot during my last race and was kicking myself for it. But the heat is such a HUGE factor, especially when we’re used to cooler temps in the Maritimes!! You gave it your best for that day, and another day may be different. Keep it up, girlfriend. Running during the hard times is just as important as running during the good times xoxox

    • Thank you. Honestly, I feel like the heat was so minor to my lack of interest and effort I was able to put forward. Don’t get me wrong, the heat was rough but I felt good (hydrated well the day before and had lost of water/nuun on the run). I’m glad I did it and finished and appreciate your comments. Love seeing your runs on IG and your blog.

  8. OMG, Anna, I am in a puddle of tears over here. Trust me, I know the horrible hurt. You lost one of your immediate family members. You lost a wonderful furry creature who had unconditional love for you and you for her. That’s a terrible hurt. One of our family dogs passed away 25 years ago…and my dad still cries when he talks about the morning he woke to find her no longer living. Forget the race. The training was the journey. And your family (including pets) are your life. Sending a huge hug your way.

    • Thank you. I know how close you and Abby are – you get it. Training is the journey and I worked hard at it this cycle. I’m happy to have finished the distance and we’re moving forward now with a little less fur around our house.

  9. Thank you for sharing this post- heartbreaking, but really honest. I am very sorry for your loss! I have a dog too, and she means the world to me! You made a good decision to run the race anyway, even if it was a struggle. Physical activity is always a healthy way to help cope with grief. My older brother passed away while training for my first marathon actually, and that was such an emotional roller coaster. But, in the end, it was such a healthy outlet for me. It will get better with time ❤

    • Thank you. I was hoping by running it would help me but at the time it sure didn’t. I think now, a week later I’m glad and thankful I did it anyway. I’m sorry for the loss of your brother and during the marathon training. I don’t know if I could have kept running after a loss but I’m sure it was exactally what you needed, Running is therapeutic…sometimes it can just take a little while to realise that!

  10. I am so sorry to hear about your puppy. No doubt it has greatly affected you. Good for you for running the race but wow it must have taken a lot just to get to the start line. Take it easy and rest well. 😦

    • Thanks Cyrstal. Honestly, it did take a lot to just get to the start line. I thought I was ready, I thought it would be just what I needed – to get lost in a long run. However, it was harder then I thought. It’s all good. I’m now happy I did it.

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  12. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss!! I felt so broken for you reading this. Grief can stop you dead in your tracks!! I wouldn’t give up on the other races though…grieve. But, come back stronger! My husband grieved for a week over his beloved cat. I couldn’t even talk to him! So I understand how much it hurts… Sending sweet vibes your way dear!

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