Race Recap – Johnny Kelley Half Marathon

Over 2 weeks have passed since this race, which means hopefully I can share a brief recap without feeling frustrated and upset.

This hands down was one of my worst race experiences and without a doubt really had me questioning running and my thoughts/ feelings on runner vs. yogi mentality.

First of all, my #1 mistake of the day was showing up to the starting line of this race.

In the weeks leading up to the race running had been a struggle.  I was stressed about getting ready to move to Boston and starting a doctorate program and my neck and shoulders were completely in spasm to the point that I could barely move my neck.  I repeatedly said I did not want to run this race.

But, come race morning I got dressed and found myself at the starting line.

Even at the starting line I turned to my friend Allison who was running the 10k and told her how much I didn’t want to be running and said I’d stick with her and maybe even turn off with her at the 10k split.

It was hotter than I had been running in and I was immediately struggling and miserable.  By mile 5 my mind was made up, I was going to head in for the 10k with Allison.

That is until we actually got to the 10k split and I second guessed myself and felt guilty copping out and not finishing the half, so I waved goodbye to Allison and kept going.

Runners keep going.

“No pain, no gain.”

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up” – Dean Karnazes

“Never give up.”

“Keep moving forward.”

“Just do it.”


But why?

Why do runners have this mentality that we should never give up.  That we MUST keep moving forward.  That we HAVE to cross the finish line?

I’m a yoga teacher.  I specialize in teaching yoga to athletes.

Yogis don’t believe in “no pain, no gain”.

Yogis believe in listening to and honoring our bodies.

Yogis understand our bodies are different day to day and that a pose that comes easily one day may be a struggle the next.  And that’s ok.

I stand in front of rooms of people and tell them this stuff.

And I believe it!  I practice it!

In my yoga.

So why is running different?

Why do I feel that it’s acceptable to listen to my body and take a child’s pose in yoga if my body needs a break, but I can’t give myself permission to turn off for a 10k instead of pushing through a half marathon when my body is clearly saying no?

And with that thought I slowed to a walk and almost in tears began to question who I am as a runner.  Who I want to be as a runner.

I know that in that moment my body and mind were exhausted.  That I had a lot of other stresses going on in my life and that I should not be out on that course.

But, I kept moving forward.

I walked.  I cried.  I jogged.

I thought about how fortunate I was to be able to run and how the least I could do was appreciate my beautiful surroundings.

I made it to the finish line a complete mess and all I could think was how people always say “you never regret a run”.

I regretted this run.

And I immediately sat on the ground and had a panic/ asthma attack and couldn’t catch my breath.

Johnny Kelley Half - Danielle

I didn’t run for a week after that race and I’ve been trying to take some time to think through what my priorities are and how I want to approach running moving forward (no pun intended!).

How do I mesh my yogi philosophy with the “don’t give up”/ “no pain, no gain” mentality of the running community?

It’s something I’m thinking a lot about and I’m sure I’ll write more about, but for now, I’m just trying to re-discover some enjoyment in running.

Jason on the other hand absolutely killed this race crushing his previous half marathon PR by over TEN MINUTES finishing in 1:46.

Somehow as I continue to struggle with running he finds it more and more effortless and I have no doubt that he’ll shave even more time off that at his next half!

Johnny Kelley Half - Jason

Have you ever struggled at a race to the point that you questioned running?

Are you a “no pain, no gain” or a “listen to your body” person?

2 thoughts on “Race Recap – Johnny Kelley Half Marathon

  1. This is such an insightful post, Danielle. I think it’s really really easy to get caught up in those mentalities and feel like you have to keep going no matter what. I think we have all been there where we pushed ourselves in a race, training cycle, etc. when we should have taken a deep breath and said, “you know, this isn’t the right thing now, I’m going to take a break” or whatever. I did that with Wine and Dine in 2013 after Marine Corps. I hated everything about that race weekend. I was exhausted – physically, mentally and emotionally. I needed a break and I just kept running. I can’t wait to read more on this topic…I’m glad that something positive has come from that crappy race experience.

  2. Ugh, I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling. I personally don’t really have that same “no pain, no gain, never give up” mentality when it comes to running. Like, yes it’s hard, and yes, sometimes you need to push through a tough workout, but if I really DON’T want to run, I don’t force myself to. If I’m exhausted or in pain, I don’t make myself finish. As you found during this race, that attitude can be really damaging to your mental and physical health. I wish you all the luck and peace as you try to reconcile your yogi brain and your runner brain.

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