Perhaps I'll give them a go at 13.1 miles this Saturday. I've said multiple times I'm going to race, but haven't actually signed up yet, and kind of.... don't feel like it? It's not that I wouldn't enjoy it. I would. Halves are fun, the "just right porridge" of distance running, to me. And it's not that I don't want to see how fast I could go. I want to know. Rather badly, to be honest.
And perhaps that's the problem? Road races are cruel, in that they make you run - and run hard - the whole way. No stealing breaths on hills or overly technical sections. And the result is what it is. You are what you ran that day, not what you thought you could do, not what that one workout said you could hit that you totally nailed a couple weeks back. (Trail races are timed too, of course, but the times are inherently less meaningful, unless you know the course quite well.)
So, you go in, wanting to run it fast, to blow past your PR, because you think you're in that kind of shape. And if you don't? Fuck. Existential crisis. Or maybe just eat too many cashews. We all cope differently. I'd opt for both, probably. Maybe some figs too.