Last Sunday I ran my second half marathon. I'll get a few important things out of the way:
1. I did not beat my first half marathon time.
2. I did not complete the race without walking.
3. I'm still actually really happy with this run.
I'll start at the beginning.
Going into race weekend, I didn't feel awesome. I didn't make it through my 11-mile training run, quitting early and walking home after six miles. So the most I'd run in this training cycle was 10 miles, and I'd been plagued by a series of tough long runs.
But I didn't feel awful, either -- I was hoping for cool weather seeing as the race started at seven sharp, literally four minutes after sunrise, and I was proud of myself for figuring out a way to keep hydrating the night before even though I went to KU's first football game.
My mom and little sister came up for the race, my older sister was there, Pat got to be there this time, and my new friend Michelle came as well.
My dad wasn't able to make it to this one -- he had to work and take care of my grandma. But he started texting me like a week before cheering for me!
The night before we all stayed at my older sister's apartment and I really just had a good time with all of them in town. So I went into the race in a great mood.
|With Pat, right before the start|
|Waving as I ran past Pat right after the start|
I saw my family/supporters right around the 6 mile mark and I was doing great -- I'd run through the first aid station and managed to get some water down at the second while running. They were so awesome! My family made signs, and so did Michelle and they saw me coming and started cheering.
Michelle and my sisters had both made signs! My sisters made an Office themed one, which was the one showing at this point. :)
|A la Dwight's "It is your birthday"|
Between 7 and 8 miles was where things started to get difficult. I got to a brutal hill and NO ONE, in front or behind me, was running up the hill -- every single person was walking. That was the first time I walked, but I ended up walking quite a bit through the race.
It got pretty hot -- I saw a bank sign that said 86 degrees at one point, and Pat said he saw it get up to at least 84. There were so many hills -- any time I talked to other runners on the course, it was about the wicked hills. By the time I saw my supporters again around 10 miles, I already knew I couldn't beat my previous time. At that point I was pretty disappointed and almost wanted to stop. But I got some water from Pat and ran off again.
I walked a lot in the last 5k, which was another thing I didn't want to do. But there were a TON of people walking. The course was really difficult, it was really hot -- and I just don't feel bad about walking. Even though my big goal was to not walk, there will be other races.
This one, I was glad to finish.
My strategy became to run any time it was flat or downhill. I was able to run about the last mile and a half -- my GPS actually says I ran 13.5, so a little bit extra once you count in all the wide turns and stuff.
I saw my family one more time right before my GPS hit 13.1! They had inherited a sign from someone else and were right before a downhill/flat stretch to the actual finish line. So really, they saw me finish my half marathon, even though they didn't quite make it to the finish line in time.
|The closest sign was the inherited one :)|
|The other side of the sign my sisters made :)|
|The only decent photo I got from the race people -- not at the finish, though.|
But I've come to realize that there's always going to be something extra -- nothing can ever go perfectly. I think, as much as getting after your goals and achieving that PR, best time, running races is about facing whatever challenges come up -- in the course of training and in the course of the race -- and finishing, beating them down, crossing the finish line.
I got really mad at myself at my first half for not taking a picture with my parents, who were SO AMAZING. So at this race I made everyone take pictures with me.
Michelle and I took one picture on my phone and then I started to feel sick and told Pat to hurry and come take a picture with me -- not realizing that Michelle wanted a picture on her phone too! So we got these two pictures, which pretty much sum up the emotions of running a half for me, I think.
So that's it! That's my second half marathon. When I got to that first awful hill, I had a few minutes where I was convinced I'd never run again. But less than a week later, I've been looking for more races to sign up for. Running just gets in your blood that way, I guess. :)
Thanks for reading, friends!