I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I’m going to try to do better – I PROMISE!
Over the past six months I started running seriously again. I always start my training and quit for some reason or another after just a few weeks! This time, however, I was determined to have a different outcome. This time I wouldn’t let myself quit because of timing issues. This time I wouldn’t let myself quit because of self doubt. This time there would be no excuses.
How did I do this? I put money down. Money is SO motivating for me. The moment I hit the submit button on my registration I knew this would be for real.
I ran the Tacoma City Half Marathon on May 1, 2016. This was one of the most emotional days of my life so far. I experienced so many different emotions as I progressed from wondering if I could make it the full 13.1 miles to knowing I would see my supportive family and boyfriend at the finish line.
However, before all that was the training. I trained a total of 18 weeks for my Half Marathon. I started at not being able to run 2 miles without walking to running 11 miles on my longest training run. I found what worked for me (audio books over music on my long runs) and what made the process that much more painful (the wrong pants or a weird flavor of Gu). Nothing is the same for every runner. Different pains and needs will come up, even from one run to another.
As the weeks went by and I crossed out my runs on my giant training schedule I became more and more sure I could do this. I completed the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle about 16 weeks into my training. That run was harder (and hiller) than I imagined 9.3 miles would be but I fought through and finished! I don’t know how anyone was drinking the post-race hot chocolate after all that!
More weeks went by and I grew stronger and stronger. My legs were showing muscles I never knew I had and my confidence was soaring.
We finally reached race weekend. Jeff and I stayed overnight in Tacoma to make the morning that much easier. We explored the town on Saturday and even bought some celebration cupcakes and visited the Tacoma Glass Museum. After some carbo loading with my family, we headed off to bed and an early morning.
Unfortunately, I woke up extremely sick that night. I don’t know to this day if it was nerves or something I ate but I had no idea how I was going to race. By some miracle, I woke up at 5:30 the next morning ready to go! I grabbed my gear and headed off to the shuttle.
As I reached the start line many emotions crossed my mind. Fear for the unknown of the pain I might experience or the possibility I might not finish. Excitement and anticipation for the amazing feat ahead of me – I knew I’d feel accomplished if I could just finish.
The nerves definitely kicked in as we were called to the start. Just FYI — If you ever speak with a new runner at the start of a race, don’t tell them it’s not a good beginner course as it’s very hilly. It was a beautiful morning to race and I couldn’t have asked for better weather. As those in front of me crossed the start I made my way forward as well. Here we go…
We started the race wrong. All half marathoners took a wrong turn that day and ended up running an extra .45 miles. We then crossed the Narrows Bridge. I never thought I’d be crossing that bridge by foot in my lifetime, but it was beautiful and an amazing experience. Although it was hilly, I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t even mind. In fact, I had a smile on my face for the first 9 miles or so. Then the pain kicked in..
I didn’t know if I was going to finish around mile 11. My calves and side were cramping so bad I was walking and breaking more than ever. I pushed forward slowly, determined to finish what I had started. As I finally saw the end was near I somehow managed to pick up the pace one last time. I rounded the corner and saw the most beautiful sight — the finish line. I sprinted (or ran as fast as I could at the time) toward the finish and heard my family yelling my name! I was done! I walked through and received my medal, so glad I had pushed through and made it to the end. Immediately, I knew I wanted to go again.
I may be crazy, but I’ve already signed up for my first full marathon in October 2016. Here we go again! Marathon training started this week and I’m more excited than ever!
Have any of you run in races before?
If so, what is your favorite type of race (location, duration, etc.)?
What is something you enjoy training for?