This may come as no surprise to many of you, but it sure shocked the hell out of me: I didn’t die during my first half marathon. Not even close. I may have wanted to die at some points, but I was never actually close to ceasing to exist.
The day went a lot better than expected. It started off pretty cold (at least when the wind was blowing) when I got to the gear check. I was apprehensive because it was still dark and cloudy; I was sure it would downpour on us at any second. I was prepared with my rain jacket and baseball hat, but I still wasn’t thrilled about the idea of running so long in the rain. After I got to my corral, I waited around forever after the 7:30 start until we were allowed to start approaching the start line. Just as I hit the corral number 15 spot, I found my friend (we had a hard time coordinating where the heck we were in relation to the each other). We established our game plan, and she continued to encourage me/convince me I wouldn’t die. [I want to take a second and note here how much of an awesome, enthusiastic, understanding, caring, and loving friend she is–I definitely wouldn’t have made it to the start line without her. I can’t imagine never becoming friends with her, either. We’ve decided she’s an older version of me, and we call each other our clones because of how much alike we are. I’m glad to know I’ll be amazing like her one day. Okay, I know, sappy moment over].
After what seemed like a damn eternity, we were off. The first 2 miles were pretty tough. I had a terrible time settling into a pace, and my breathing was just not happening. I lost my clone about a mile in because I couldn’t keep a steady pace. I was frustrated because I wanted to run and finish it with her, but I also knew we both had our own races to run.
Finally, after the first water station (mile 3), I found my groove. I made it to mile 6 without too much of an issue. Then the hills happened. The first (of many) was the meanest monster of a hill I’ve ever had to haul my ass up. Not a single person in front of me or behind me was able to run up it. It was that steep and that long. There were a lot of people cheering and yelling on the sidelines, which definitely helped, but I’ll be damned if I ever have to see that hill again.
At mile 8 I tried to find the Boy. I was desperate for a familiar face, as I was really starting to feel the strain by then, but no such luck. There were no directions for him, so he couldn’t find the course from the metro stop. I sucked it up and kept my butt truckin’.
Hitting mile 10 I knew the race was mine. I had no doubts I would finish, and as the aches and pains screamed for attention, I just pushed harder. Mile 12 felt like the longest because the end was so close, but it was such an awe-inspiring feeling to see the end in sight, and to know I did it. I found the Boy about a quarter mile from the end. The look of pride on his face had me sprinting to the finish. As fate would have it, the theme song from Rocky started playing on my workout-playlist just as I was approaching the finish line. I think getting handed my medal to that song was just the icing on the cake after such a long journey.
It didn’t rain, not even a drop during the whole 13.1 mile course. I will forever be eternally grateful for that because adding rain into the mix yesterday would have made that run so, so much harder. Thank you, weathermen, for being wrong once again.
Oddest sighting during the race: a 60-something-year-old woman running bare-bottom through the whole race. You read that correctly: pants-less AND undie-less. I thought I was seeing things, but a fellow running club racer confirmed it was in fact a bottomless runner. Props to her for being so confident (despite it being slightly gross to see).
Now, to recover from all those miles, and gear up for training for the next race: 8+ miles of mud and obstacles. Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan, here I come!
Happy St. Patty’s Day, all.
P.S. – For all of you that know my sister, wish her a Happy Birthday!