Hippie Chick 2016: Reflections from a Delicate Flower

by Carissa

I just love my running friends.  I bet I'm not alone in thinking mine are the best.  On Saturday I was able to line up with two of my fabulous buddies for the 2016 Hippie Chick half and quarter marathon.  Earlier in the week I was on a trail run with these same buddies Kelly and Leah when it came up that Kelly refers to me as a delicate flower.  It is a term that both makes me chuckle every time we use it and that I wholeheartedly embrace as an accurate description.  When Leah heard this name for the first time she asked how I had ended up with it.  Neither Kelly nor I remembered specifically but explained it had to do with me knowing my body has certain limitations.   "I actually think of Carissa as pretty tough," Leah contemplated.  However, my race on Saturday proved otherwise.  I am a flower, a delicate flower.

I shared in this post what a fabulous race I had last month.  I was undertrained and my expectations were low and yet everything fell into place at the Vernonia half marathon.  Since then I had leaned into training for two weeks before taking an entire week off running to hike through the beauty that is Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.  It wasn't ideal to skip six days of training but my husband and I hiked 50 plus miles and I convinced myself that had to count for something.  When I got home I had a week to pick up where I had left off in my training and taper for the race.
Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park

The problem was that when I got home my fatigue showed up.  Monday and Tuesday I was exhausted.  On Wednesday and for the rest of the week I felt better.  I was still tired but not like I had been for the two days prior.  This turn of events gave me some trepidation about Saturday's race but I was determined to show up and run what I could run.

Saturday morning was beautiful.  Too beautiful.  It was going to be a hot race.  I picked up Kelly and Leah and we headed out to Hillsboro Stadium.  Once we got settled we went for a warm up run.  To our delight we found empty portopotties and a water station just half a mile into the course.  This saved us standing in long lines back at the start.  With ten minutes before the race Kelly and Leah stretched while I threw together a playlist.  Talk about waiting until the last minute!  We talked briefly about race strategy.  Kelly had raced Boston Marathon and Big Sur Marathon within one week in April.  She didn't have any aspirations of being fast.  Leah hadn't trained for the race as much as she'd have liked and nursed a few niggles along the way so her expectations were low.  She expected to bank some time in the first half.  I wanted to start out slower and build speed.  My plan was to run a comfortable pace in the first half and focus on passing in the second.  They both said something along the lines of wanting to try to keep up with me. (Spoiler alert: this ends up being a very funny thing to have said.)
Kelly, myself and Leah before the race

The race started and off those two took in a flash.  I'm so glad I kept to my own plan even though they put a good gap between us quickly.  It was going to be a hot race and I was banking on a conservative start to carry me through those later miles.  By mile four Kelly had really pulled ahead (back to back marathons won't slow this girl down!) and there were 11 women between Leah and I.  In the next three miles I cut that down to three.  If Leah's plan was to run a faster first half maybe I would catch up to her in the second I thought to myself.  She certainly pulled me along as I followed in her footsteps and tried to close the gap.

Around mile eight I had my delicate flower experience.  I noticed chills and lightheadedness.  Chills on a hot day when you're running into the sun?  That's not a good sign.  In my mind I thought water, if only I had water.  Why aren't there more aid stations out here?  I'm here to say THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH AID STATIONS ON THE COURSE CONSIDERING THE HEAT.

Mile eight is not a good time for things to fall apart.  Five miles is a long way to run if what you really want instead is to stop, rest, cool down and get some water/sports drink in you.  While my body was giving me signs that I should not be running I kept asking myself can I keep running?  Can I slow down and keep going while not putting myself at risk for worse symptoms?  My answer was yes.  I kept going. I got slower and slower but I made it across the finish line.  Meanwhile my fantastic running buddies gutted it out in the same tough conditions and crossed the finish line as the 5th and 10th finishers.  I'm so proud of them!
At the finish.  Phew, glad that is over!

I want to shake my fist at that race.  Yet, I've had the opportunity these past few years of running to know that sometimes my body doesn't show up.  While I think that happens to every runner it's been happing frequently to me: enough that my code name is delicate flower.  One positive is that it helps me not find my identity in a finish time.  It also helps me to appreciate the good days and the good runs.  Despite the bad race Hippie Chick highlighted one of the things I love best about running.  I got to do it with women who are dear friends and I got to celebrate their accomplishments.

Totals per Garmin: Distance 13.15, Total time 1:42:11, Avg pace 7:46

Mile 1- 7:26 Mile 6- 7:36 Mile 11- 8:06
Mile 2- 7:34 Mile 7- 7:35 Mile 12- 8:10
Mile 3- 7:36 Mile 8- 7:50 Mile 13- 8:30
Mile 4- 7:29 Mile 9- 7:52 .15- 7:47pace
Mile 5- 7:28 Mile 10- 7:48

1 comment:

  1. Oh man C.. Your splits tell the story. That 8:30 must have felt SO painful. I'm proud of you for finishing. Glad you're okay. And you might be a delicate flower, but you're the type of flower with roots dug so deep into Jesus Christ that you could flourish still in arid conditions and high winds. One of the toughest, faithful, determined women I know. Love you.