I DID IT!!!!! I am officially a half marathoner!! *hits the quan with limited range of motion*
As a [now] self-proclaimed runner, I set out to conquer my first half marathon race this weekend. With a winning attitude. I wasn’t going to be a wimp, I was going to be strong. I was going to do more than just finish, but set a personal best for distance runs. I was ready to push past my limits, to challenge what I thought possible, to be great!
And guess what?? I WAS F*CKING GREAT!! I kicked that half marathon’s ass and set my personal best for distance runs! In fact, I finished with a better time than I’d originally set out to run (which was, in itself, a stretch since I hadn’t run that fast a pace during my 10+ mile runs previously).
Now, I won’t pretend like it was easy. By no means! The route – which was a trail along the cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge – was rude as hell. Nonstop hilleration. The first half was significantly easier (more decline than incline) and I was running a pretty [unbelievably] fast pace. I felt unstoppable. Plus, the view along the trail was absolutely breathtaking. God’s wonders were so encapsulating, I felt so much peace and serenity.
BUT… I knew, and resented, that I would have to run back up those damn inclines on the way back and it would hurt like a muthafugga. And hurt like a muthafugga it did. At one point, there was about a 2 mile stretch of just gradual incline, in between steeper inclines. I thought I was going to have to walk part of the race because my legs were on fire. And this is where the mental toughness of distance running makes the biggest difference. Even though my body felt like it wasn’t capable, I had to tell myself to push through it. I wasn’t about to tell my friend JP (who has pushed me to challenge myself and been a major inspiration) that I punked out because things got a bit difficult. NO EXCUSES. I was determined to finish in my goal time and walking would make that significantly more challenging (if not all together unrealistic). It helped that I posted my run to Facebook, and with every *like* I heard applause interrupt my dope-ass playlist. Knowing people in my social network were actively cheering me on through the entire 13.1 miles helped keep me going.
NOTE: I did have to stop twice briefly in the second to last mile because of an abdominal cramp that made it painful to take deep breaths. Stopping on a hill is kind of the worst -starting back up is dumb hard. But I pressed on!
My Nike+ running app told me that I’d finished my 13.1 miles before I reached the finish line which was about another half mile away. That was annoying but I forced myself to finish strong. And finish strong I did!!!
To my delight, two really dear friends were at the finish line waiting to congratulate me and gas me up about my accomplishment. It was a really amazing feeling to be surrounded by such support (something I didn’t have in the last major running milestone I had earlier this year). I was waaaaay up, I felt blessed!
A big shoutout to my coworker (a multi-time halfer) who ran the race with me and was the one who convinced me to sign up in the first place. She ran a great race (her personal best) and was really instrumental in helping me prepare. She da real MVP!
Thanks again to everyone who offered me encouragement along the way! This has been a very fun journey, both in terms of running accomplishments and the self-discovery/care involved. I’ve enjoyed sharing with friends, family, and strangers. And it makes me really, really happy to have so many folks tell me that I inspired them to start running (or run/exercise more) and set a standard of fitness. Me?! Whaaaat?! If anyone ever needs a running partner, or an accountability partner, or just a plain ole cheerleader – holla at ya girl!!
Though I have no desire to continue long distance running for the time being (I’ll pick it back up next spring/summer for my next half for Year 33), I look forward to running weekly with my new running groups and getting back to doing more strength and stability/flexibility training. I’ve neglected my yoga practice and I’m excited to reacquaint myself! So look out for variation in my #doitfortheFINE and #nobackfat2015 posts on the ‘gram 😉
Cheers to challenges and triumphs!