i officially became a half marathoner on Saturday. the road to get there was hard. i did not train as often as i should’ve, i almost quit before i even began, and it is doubtful that i will ever run that kind of distance again.
what i eventually learned from this experience and about myself.
1. i am a whiner. i whined a week prior to the race. i whined the day of the race. and then i whined some more during the race. until i noticed a blind man running ahead of me. he was holding onto a simple string attached to his running buddy. his step was confident and cheerful, it never faltered. five minutes later, i noticed a man without a leg run by me. he was hopping on his leg and with the use of crutches, and holy shit, good spirits and determination he went on his jolly way. that shut me up. i saw a girl stumble ahead of me, by the time i ran past her a medic was massaging her calf and a coach was soothing her tears. a boy limped his way past the finish line with both knees iced & bandaged.
2. saving graces. running in hilly Baltimore prepared me for the flatter streets of DC, much to my delight. i did not train that much but when i did, it was on hills and usually with elevation on the treadmill. thank gawd.
3. i can maintain. when in the presence of other runners, who for all i know have had bad training habits, injuries, or whatever, i ran with it. for about 8 miles i ran a solid 11minute mile. only when my left foot started feeling weird did i slow my pace.
4. i listen to my body. i still hobble. after that weird foot feeling, i changed my gait and then my left calf started to seize. the remaining distance was significantly slower. i wasn’t going to finish this race injured in any way, i listened to what my body had to say, made adjustments and walked if i had to. i double fisted water & gatorade at every water station, grabbed half a banana, and at miles 5 and 10 i hate half a granola bar when my stomach rumbled. this made all the difference in how i felt internally during the race and post-race.
5. i’m a crybaby. i cried at mile 9, 10, 11 and 12. quitting did not enter my mind but i certainly did question if i could finish. i wondered what made me even want to tackle this challenge, i was happy with doing 5Ks last year. but i showed up. it had to be done. so it was done.
6. i am thankful. that two days after the only effects i feel are the tightness in both limbs and a slight twinge in my lower back. i will take this week off, because i can. then i will put my running shoes back on and sign up for a much shorter race for the coming spring season.
official time – 2:52:44
grim determination = half marathon completed!