When you don’t know why a race is going badly …

The race was well organized. The volunteers were great. It was a rainy morning, but that is usually a plus for me. I’m a pretty good mudder. It was the right distance for me in my training cycle. So, what was my problem?

Sometimes, I just have to accept this is not my day. The Harrisburg Half-Marathon is a great race with a long tradition. I’ve run it in past years and more recently served as a course volunteer. My less than stellar outcome was not the race, it was the runner, this particular runner.

I like that Karen caught a full body photo here. Race photos are so helpful, not just in nice memories, but a good opportunity to analyze posture and foot strike. In this photo, I can tell I was tiring, as my right foot tends to turn out when fatigued, a good reminder for me.

I usually go out a bit slower than my anticipated pace, but by the time we left downtown Harrisburg and followed the course up Cameron Street heading for the Greenbelt, I could feel this would not be a good finish.

Over the Harvey Taylor Bridge, with light rain coming down, the air felt lighter and the cool breeze over the water felt great. Turning onto Riverfront Park, the long flat stretch to the turnaround was a slugfest. While many runners love a flat, fast course, my body responds better with a few ups and downs.

At the turn with 2+ miles to go, we had a full lane of traffic closed for runners on Front Street. I run roads a lot and always run toward oncoming vehicles. So, even with the lane closed, I felt a bit nervous hearing vehicles coming from behind on the wet roadway. I tried willing myself to run faster to finish this segment (and reach the finish), and felt better when the runners space widened further with the addition of the bike lane on the right.

Finally, I drug myself across the finish line to enjoy a big chunk of watermelon, some other goodies and the company of friends while we applauded at the awards ceremony. My finish time was 2:18:44, eleven minutes slower than my Spring 1/2 marathon on a much hillier course.

So, who understands why some days your body says “I’m not doing this today?”

With my friend, Clare, celebrating her birthday with a first place finish in an age group far below mine.

On the brighter side, I did finish first in the 70 & over age group and 5th overall age-graded. That and the opportunity to spend several hours with fellow runners made the morning worthwhile.

Thanks to the YMCA for continuing this 1/2 marathon, which benefits the Y’s community programs.


  1. Stop beating yourself up. You did great, as always. Compare your times with gals 10 years younger, not much difference. You did great. Congrats!!!!!!

  2. Congrats on your award.

    I totally get it. All races can’t be good. Though it’s often hard to accept while we’re running them.

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