Well, the good news is I’m still alive and well and able to write this post.
On Saturday, April 8th, I ran my 4th half marathon. It’d been almost a year since my last half marathon and in that span of time I pulled my hamstring and had to stop training for two half marathons, because as I set out to train, my hamstring got worse. It was a dark time.
So yesterday I embarked on a long anticipated and long overdue half marathon. The course started at Charlotte’s SouthPark Mall, which was super convenient for parking reasons (race day logistics always stress me out… and I didn’t even drive).
When a race is held at a Dicks Sporting Goods, totally take advantage of their foam rollers.
The night before the race I went and ate pizza at Blaze Pizza with my dear friend Casey, who was also racing (this girl didn’t even train… she’s that good). Then I bought ice cream and sat on my couch and made my playlist which was about 6 hours long. Although, that’s not too atypical from my normal Friday nights these days.
Anyway, race day. I was so nervous. I had dreams the night before that I was late and that I couldn’t finish. I woke up nervously excited, brewed my coffee (which I’ve been on a coffee fast the past 7 days), and made my peanut butter and banana breakfast. I put on the podcast S-Town to get my mind off of things and relaxed while getting ready.
Fast forward to the start line, I was ready, but nervous. I’d trained, of course, but started doubting everything – did I train enough? I should’ve got in one more long run. Did I eat enough? I really have to pee. Just run. – was pretty much my train of thought.
Strangely there was no singing of the National Anthem, just a “GO” and we were off. Miles 1-5 were pretty easy, and I was pleasantly surprised when I hit mile 5. At about mile 4, I took off my headphones and ran about 5 miles with no music.
What an experience. Typically, my music powers me through, but I was feeling so great I didn’t need it. The course was extremely hilly, which I had not trained for, but I used to lack of music as time to mentally push myself. I listened to conversations around me (and some super unpleasant snorting, spitting, coughing, and other flagrant sounds you make while running), heard the birds chirping, and took in the beautiful spring morning.
Then mile 9 hit. And I lost some steam. My bunions were hurting, I could feel blisters forming, and my thighs were yelling, “Y R U DOING THIS TO US?” I don’t take GU or other race day things of the sort, so I had to use whatever mental steam I had to push me through. Though, I may start using those GU-type energizers.
At mile 13, I was totally over it, and questioning why I even run, because it hurts and I’m getting bored. Then, by the grace of God, a man came running up next to me and I said to myself, “I will keep pace with his man, so help me God.” And I did, and for about a 1/2 mile this unknown man and I stayed in step with each other. It was a bond like I’d never experienced before, because no words were spoken, but we knew we needed each other in order to power through. Thank you mystery man, you saved me.
Then he took off and I never saw him again.
But by that point, we were about to hit mile 13, and I thought I was either going to throw up or fall over and he didn’t need to witness that anyways.
I rounded the corner, saw the finish line, and pushed as hard as I could. And… I PR’d!
It was the best half marathon I’ve had, despite the hills and the near-vomiting. I enjoyed the challenging course, and felt great the rest of the day.
Whens the next one!?