On Saturday I completed half marathon #5. If you asked me how it went, I'd say "Fine. Happy it's over with!" For me it was an interesting race. Run rather. I'm not sure why I call them races, I'm sure as heck not trying to be the first one to the finish!
I almost didn't sign up for the race. I had yet to commit last weekend, and my training was terrible. I had planned to run 11 and 12 miles, but ended up running 10 miles three weekends in a row. That in itself isn't so bad, but my last 10 miler was really more like 8 miles of running and two miles of walking and I was miserable. I don't think I've ever battled so much lingering sickness as I did this time around. Nothing terrible, just a cold and such that was draining me, thus making me give up mentally before I ever even started. But I figured if I was stubborn enough to go out for those 10 mile runs it would be stupid to not do the half. So I signed up.
The Garmin Marathon (Half and 6K too) was located in Olathe, which is definitely more 'my' part of town, so even though Chris had to work I felt comfortable getting there by myself and just running this one for me. Saturday I slept horribly (naturally) and woke up a few minutes before my 5:30am alarm. I attempted to choke down a piece of toast while getting ready, and left my house at 6:10am (the race started at 7am). Apparently the race has grown a bit, because even though I reached the exit a little before 6:30am, I didn't get to park my car until 6:50am. So much for giving myself a little extra time. When I finally made it to the start area it was only 4 minutes until race time, so I squeezed myself as close to the 2:05 pacer as I could and got ready to go.
When we first started I felt ok, but a little tired, and up until the second mile I was almost kicking myself for signing up. Running 13 miles really just wasn't sounding like a good time at all. But eventually I settled into a groove and actually felt better than I had on several of my runs as of late. Somewhere after mile 4 I managed to pass the 2:05 pacers, on accident really. I knew I couldn't be too far ahead of them, but I couldn't see them. So I put in my headphones and just went with it.
Now I knew there was rain in the forecast for the day, but I really thought it wasn't supposed to start until at least 9am, if not later. But when we turned a corner around maybe mile 5? The sky was DARK ahead. Getting wet seemed pretty inevitable. It held off until shortly after mile 7, then it started to sprinkle. That wasn't so bad. It picked up a little, but it still wasn't bothering me. But then? Then it was POURING. Guys, I don't run in the rain. I don't do 'elements'. I'm more of a fair weather runner. Honestly the rain didn't bother me as much as I thought it would, despite my shoes being completely full of water, and my pants sagging because they were so wet. But I really could have done with out the hail. Yes, it was little, but freaking hail. That didn't feel so good.
Thankfully the rain let up right around mile 12, so even though I was soaked it wasn't quite so miserable coming in to the finish. Minus the part where I kind of wanted to die at that point. I did good until maybe 10.5 or 11, but at that point I started to slow down. And then the pacers caught back up to me, and I knew if I wanted to be close to 2:05 I couldn't let up. Throughout the race what got me through the tough parts was picturing Berkeley's sweet smiling face. Remembering how happy she looked pushing Elsie in the swing when we played at her house. Replaying a video of her dancing in her hospital room in my head. I told myself if that innocent little six-year-old girl could battle cancer with a smile, I could shut up and finishing 13 miles.
The last push to the finish line was hard. I tried to pull ahead of the front pacer, but I couldn't do it. I was spent. But I finished. Lungs burning. Quads throbbing. But I was done! Number five was in the books. It was kind of strange to cross the finish line and not have any family to go find, but I survived. I found myself some chocolate milk and waited in line to get my official time. 2:05:11. Of course I would have loved to be under 2:05, but based on my training 2:05:11 was a great time for me. So I'll take it.
Two years ago I finished this half (a slightly different course) 10 minutes faster than I did this weekend. Not going to lie that is a bit of a blow to my pride. I don't like to fail, and if I can't do something well, or better than the time before, I usually ask what's the point. But I'm another kid in and much less time for training, and the point of the matter is that I'm still committed to running. I'm doing the best I can with what I've got right now. The right now is always changing so I'm proud of my time and my accomplishment, and I remember where I started. Three years ago I wasn't a runner. A 5k was daunting. I HATED running and working out.
Even if your goals seem unreachable, start small and go for it. You are stronger than you think, you'll surprise yourself with how far you can go.
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