Blame It On The Jelly Beans

Lesson learned:  in terms of pre-race fuel, candy corn > jelly beans.

My sweet tooth loves both candy corn and jelly beans, but judging by yesterday’s half marathon performance, I think it’s safe to assume that pre-race candy corn provides for a much better race experience than pre-race jelly beans.  This revelation might not be a scientific discovery that will change the course of the universe, however, it did serve to teach me a valuable lesson:  jelly beans = bad running mojo.

Or, perhaps it wasn’t the jelly beans, but, instead, the epic cramp I was stricken with around mile seven?

I’m pretty sure the cramp was the issue and not the jelly beans; regardless of the actual reason for my sad run yesterday,  I will never eat jelly beans before a race.  Nope.  Never again.  Two days before?  Yes.  The day after?  Sure, why not.  The day before?  Oh, heck no.

As you might have guessed, I had a less than stellar half marathon performance yesterday.  I was feeling edgy and unsure all week about the race and now I know why:  it was a big fat fail.  I started out great, heck I ran the first half of the race in 55(ish) minutes and was on track for a PR.  I felt good; the weather was great; the crowd was strong.  I was having a grand old time.  That is, however, until I got hit with a wicked side cramp.  Normally I can run through the pain, knowing it will pass eventually, but this was one stubborn cramp.  So stubborn, in fact, that I had to walk it off.  I didn’t want to walk because I knew it would be hard to start back up again, but I was having difficulty taking in deep breaths.  Breathing is essential when running, so, in favor of, you know, staying alive, I chose to walk it off.  And, as I predicted, it was really hard to start running again, which really messed with my mental focus.   Once I walked I knew my hopes for a PR were gone, so I gave up.   I left my mojo somewhere around the seven mile marker, never to be seen again.  I mean, I finished the race, and all; I didn’t walk off the course, kick an orange pylon cone and throw a hissy fit.  Well, I sort of threw an internal hissy fit, as if that’s anything new. Also, I’m pretty sure if the race photographers captured any of my moments spent walking, you would be able to tell from my facial expressions that I was not amused by the unfortunate turn events.

I had my mad face on.

Even though I wasted several minutes by walking,  I did a quick calculation and determined I still had a really decent chance of finishing in under two hours; determined to not be a big baby, I gave myself a half-hearted pep talk and started running again.   I ran, but my legs felt like lead and the cramp never fully went away.  So, I walked again.  And then again, and probably again, beating myself up more and more with each walking break.

In the end, finished in 2:01:53, which is a perfectly respectable time.  I know in my heart I should just be happy that I finished; I should be thankful that my two legs can carry me that far.  And I am thankful for those things.  I’m not really  disappointed in my time.  I’m disappointed that I allowed something as silly as an unfortunate side cramp to dampen my spirits.

In the grand scheme of things, none of this really matters; it was just a stupid race.  Life goes on regardless of my half marathon time; my value isn’t determined by how quickly I can run 13.1 miles.  Sure, it’s nice to run them quickly, but in end, it doesn’t matter all that much.  I would have loved to report back to you about the efficacy of the jelly bean, alas, that won’t be happening.  Which leads me to wonder if it’s because the candy was of the speckled variety?  Maybe I needed to eat the regular jelly beans?  Or the icky spiced kind?

Regardless of the jelly bean variety I chose to eat, this much I know is true:



Candy corn for the win!


8 responses

  1. Stupid jelly beans. I know it wasn’t the race you wanted, but I can’t believe that you walked repeatedly and still ended up with a time just over two hours! How fast were you going when you were running?*

    • Down with jelly beans!

      Here were my splits: 8:38, 8:14, 8:14, 8:25, 8:49 (musta been a hill)?, 8:39, 8:54 (start of the cramp), 11:16 (started walking), 8:41, 8:42, 11:11 (walking/some running), 10:41(walking/running), 9:12 (wanting to die/walked for a few seconds), the last bit was .24 ( guess I swerved a bunch?) in 2:14.

      At least I didn’t twist my ankle in a pothole! 😉

  2. I think there was a lot of pity parties and internal hissy fits taking place on that course yesterday. But you did really well! And now you know to stockpile on the candy corn when they come back into stores in fall!

    • You’re right! I’m sure I wasn’t alone in the throwing of internal hissy fits. At one point in the race some guy in a kilt said to me, ‘we’re almost done, right?’ I looked at my Garmin, which said 11.70, and I said, ‘we’ll…..almost.’ I thought he was going to start crying. 🙂

      You know what is funny, the commissary has pastel colored candy corn in the Easter candy section. I shopped on friday and actually debated for quite some time whether or not I should get the pastel candy corn or stick with the jelly beans I already had in the pantry. I need to get better at trusting my instincts.

      I hope your knee is feeling better today.

  3. Hey Alison, Sorry the race did not go as planned. But I enjoy reading your blog. Especially when there is nothing good on facebook — I can always count on your blog to entertain with its pithy observations. I have decided why I can’t write a blog. Everything I say would be wildly inappropriate and depressing, like “I am pathetic at housekeeping so I should really get a job just so I can have an excuse for my house being a mess” or “My mind is totally cluttered and I can only think straight when I am teaching a class.” On a positive note, I have started running again — wow, it is tough, but I love it, just as much as I remember. Maybe one day I can sign up for one of the (short, easy) races, if my feet and knees hang in there. Your blog photos are also excellent!

    • Oh hey Carol! I’m sorry I didn’t see this comment until now. You’re too funny! I think you’d make an excellent blogger. My problem (among many) is that my life is so incredibly boring that coming up with blog-worthy topics can be quite challenging. And the less interesting I become, the more guilty I feel for staying home and being a complete dud. I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay home, but spending two hours at the gym everyday does nothing to make me feel like a productive citizen.

      I’m glad you’re able to run again. It’s challenging, for sure, but there’s no better way to get in a cardio workout. I think the gym should host some sort of race….that would be fun!

      • Hmm. If the gym hosted a race it might convince people that running outdoors is fun, which would be counterproductive to the gym’s goal of getting people to pay for gym memberships! haha, not many people are crazy enough to enjoy both!

  4. I’m one of those crazy ones! I love coming to the gym, but lately, the idea of running on the treadmill for more than a few miles makes me feel sick to my stomach. Yesterday I ran laps around the gym after BodyPUMP….fyi…it’s just about 3/4 of a mile if you run on the sidewalk all around the gym and behind the grocery store and back around in front of McDonalds.


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