I just completed my fourth Half Marathon and did it in amazing time for me. 1:57:43 is nearly two minutes faster than my last race where I finished in 1:59:07. It is my best time ever! This was what felt like a hard (maybe challenging is the right word…for me anyway) race. I signed up on a whim and honestly the hat was what did it. I wanted that hat! So I did it. I signed up for a 3rd half in 2014. I thought next year I’ll do 3. This year I had done 2 and last year was one so I was following suit. Not sure how I’d do beyond 12 which would be one per month but BANG goes that theory out the window.
It was cold & no matter what they say it was NOT relatively flat and I don’t care that it might be considered “New England Flat”. Ionly run in New England and this had hills that challenged me. Maybe they felt challenging because of the cold or maybe it was just about that time and of course that brings bloating and an overall heaviness to everything. I’ll be if I ran this race in 10 days I would do even better than I did yesterday. Regardless it obviously did not hinder me.
I decided to do things differently this race than my previous races. I took a shower in the morning, I ate real food, I wore a hat on top of my traditional headband and I wore pigtails! I don’t know what possessed me to do that but they were cute so I left them in. For me it’s like wearing a stupid tu-tu (sorry all you tu-tu wearers…just not my thing). I headed out to drive the one whole mile to the starting line at the local middle school. Such a long drive! LOL
I saw people there that I knew who were better runners who had done longer distances and said hello. I hit the ladies room, stretched, got my music ready and headed out to the starting line. The starting line is one of my favorite parts of any race because it’s so exciting to me. I’m not really racing these hundreds of racers, I’m racing myself and I know I can beat myself. I like talking to the other runners at the start and during the race. Probably because I don’t have a partner to run with. I’d like to find one but right now unless one presents themselves to me it isn’t happening with a running group. I have too many weekend commitments to be dedicated to a group on their time. Although I am dedicated, I can’t be until my kids are out of school. I’m ok with running alone a while longer.
So the day is 29 degrees at the start of the race but that is ok. I’m dressed more than appropriately but not too warm. I’m getting smart the longer I run. Two thermals and tights under my running pants were perfect with my race hat that I wore like a trophy! Love that hat and I don’t love hats that smoosh my hair. Off we went. I started my Garmin and a half mile in I noticed it had shut off. Grrrrr! Not the first time it has done that but then again I forgot to shut it off when I finished. I’m working on that.
One mile in I see my husband waiting to take pictures of me. That made my day. I hate being at a race alone. Not having someone to share the fun with just isn’t fun to me. So I made goofy faces and stuck my arms out in my traditional fashion. I apparently think I’m a celebrity because it’s my thing I guess. Many pictures of me looking like I’m trying to fly or something! I’m having fun so fuck it I’m not going to stop that.
I wave goodbye with an I love you sign to honey and hit mile 2 which is a familiar hill that I’ve run many times. Feels higher today but I know it’s not. Mile 3 was on this awful road that is all dug up and has pot holes everywhere. Tricky watching where you are stepping. Mile 4 was nice because it was downhill and I had a brief conversation with a runner that I was pacing myself with. Five and Six were up and down and at that point I took my bits because mile 9 had a killer hill that I wanted to make sure I got up. I choked swallowing them and that scratched my throat. GREAT! gave me the cough’s and uh ums for the rest of the run. In the cold air coughing isn’t the thing you want to do.
I waved at all the houses of people I knew like anyone cared I was running a race. Well one of them did because they were in the window with their son waving and taping me. WOOT WOOT! a fan club! Motivation to keep moving on. Mile 9-10 was that horrible hill which was nothing like Lynchburg’s hill but still hard when it’s placed at that point in a race. I had to stop for a moment to catch my breath. I’m ok stopping but not for long. I pressed on and was really happy to get to the top. Mile 10 was what felt like a very slow mile. When I got to mile 11 the road assistant directing runners said “you did it” to which I yelled back “I haven’t done it yet!”. Please don’t tell me I’ve done it before I finish!
I found my husband in the same spot he was before which was mile 12 on the return. He took more pictures and it gave me a new wind to keep moving. I was very tired at that point and couldn’t wait to finish. I thought of my kids perhaps being at the finish line to cheer for me and that made me keep moving.
The last half mile seemed so far away but with each step I could see the growing profile of Rob (My husband) in the distance waiting to see me and take final pictures. I ran to see him knowing the finish was just beyond him. I was cold and tired and as you can see here, not so enthusiastic. I felt that as long as I finished it was a success. Many can’t run so I did something amazing to them and to me too. I blew kisses to Rob and ran on to the point where I could finally stop. When I turned the last curve of the road and looked at the clock I couldn’t believe it. I was about to finish in my fastest time ever. A PR for me! I don’t know how I did it.
Mind over matter I guess but regardless of why or how I did it it seems to get better every time. I look forward to signing up for my next race and trying to beat my new fast time. It’s like childbirth. During the process you swear you aren’t doing it again but the minute it’s over you are thinking about the next one!
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