It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I completed my second half marathon and it was a totally different experience from running my first half in fall of 2015. But before I delve into that the awesome news is I ran a 20 minute PR over the AF Half!! Finishing at 2:43:21 was crazy. If you read my last post you’ll know that I was aiming for 2:30:00, but it wasn’t to be and that’s okay because it’s still a huge accomplishment! For only being a casual runner who only follows a few basic training rules (wear good shoes, sleep, stretch and don’t starve yourself), it’s phenomenal to see that I really DID physically improve in the last year. My training actually paid off despite a busy year. I’m not even disappointed I missed my goal time. It means I have another year to work and train and earn another chance to PR.
Obviously I had to ring the PR GONG. What you don’t know is that that finisher medal weighed almost 3 pounds and was making my neck stiff AND my quads were cramping pretty badly. That silly face is really partial grimace because the hubster was taking way too long to take the picture.
Why was this Half different? Well for starters I had to drive an hour to Columbus and stay overnight at my brother’s house who was still a 30 minute drive from downtown where the starting line was. That’s not counting having to drive into downtown to grab my race packet the day before and fighting traffic in, out and all around the convention center. But I will say that because this race is put on annually by Nationwide Children’s Hospital the expo AND the race were both very family friendly and as accommodating as possible. It made the whole event feel all inclusive.
Race day started early for me, like 4am early. I got to my parking garage at 6am after a 45 minute drive from my brother’s house to downtown and then weaving my way purely by instinct, because Google Maps wigged out on me, around closed roads and one way streets. It was not a good kind of stress to have an hour and a half before start time. Then I had to pack my hydration belt I decided to wear at the last minute, pin my bib on, do some meditative breathing to calm my burbling stomach and walk my way to the gear check (unknown to me I’d left my dome light on! Fortunately, my battery didn’t drain in the 5 hrs I was away, how crazy is that?).
The race for me didn’t start right at 7:30am because I was in the last corral. I crossed the mat at 7:45am and off I went. The spectators were great and it was INCREDIBLE having strangers cheering you on for 100% of the race. It was uplifting and fun. I high fived as many of the Kid Patient Champions as I could (kids who are fighting illnesses and are representing strength and encouragement for every child out there). The signs were amazing, “If Trump can run, so can you!”, “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear!”, “Hurry up! Our Catan game is on hold because of you!”, etc. The weather, a warm 70 degrees, was buffered by a nice wind.
It was a good course with lots to look at and challenging enough to keep you on your toes trying to avoid the road camber or surprise pothole.
My knees got tight due to my quads getting tired at mile 11, but I ran through it and kept pushing only stopping a handful of times to walk out the strain. When I crossed the finish line I didn’t realize I’d set a 20 min PR. I saw my Garmin and though ok that’s MY time, but what’s the official time? Much to my amazement once I found the Husband and Wee Beastie he told me.
I cried a little, more from relief that it was over and I had managed to pull a good time for myself. I ran the best I could that Sunday and it paid off.
Every now and then when I find myself thinking about how much something sucks, how I really hate running, or about the general crud that life throws out, I remind myself how awful that first mile I had run in 20 years felt then I look at myself now. I’ll always hate that first mile, but now I can get over it.
Remember to look back to see how far you’ve come.