Standing at the corner of my corral, my body was already covered in a thin layer of sweat. Starting by sealing my pores with a thick layer of sunblock (yucky), I had dashed from the porta-potty line to a hotel restaurant bathroom across the street, and back to my corral all within 5 minutes of the start of the race. Tommy and Sunday were directly to my left on the other side of the corral gate. I think I kissed him “bye” maybe 5 times? They counted down to the start time for each corral in front of me… and then they shoved us out into the pack like a herd of cattle. “Off ya go!”
That is my word for this experience.
- Sweet messages of encouragement from friends and family.
- Completely losing it at mile 9.
- Realizing how incredibly inexperienced I am.
- Not being able to “get in the zone.”
- Starting too fast. No matter how hard I tried not to.
- My body aching from head to toe by mile 8.
- Realizing I was in the very last corral. (And not even getting our own starting line countdown.)
- Hearing the cheerleaders cheering “Let’s-go-walkers!!”
All of it.
Completely, undeniably humbling.
Here’s the boldface truth: I was absolutely not prepared for this half marathon. I knew I started training too late in the game. But I figured… if I can pull off 10 miles in a training run, then I can finish a half marathon.
I did finish.
In fact, I totally reached all of my written goals. They were:
- Learn to love running.
- Get to a place where 3-5 miles is a comfortable regular run.
- Finish the race.
- Stay hydrated.
- Have fun.
- Don’t get sunburnt.
- Continue on my journey of getting healthy.
All of those things happened. But, still, I left my pride on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.
The half marathon was. so. hard.
Something new is brewing in me. In years past I would have left my pride and not thought about it again. I am a quitter. In fact – I did that in 2008 when I participated in my first sprint triathlon. I finished 4th from last and laughed about it. I mean… what was I really going to do about it? Get better? Stronger? Work harder? Pfft. Nope.
Well, that was Liz pre-baby.
The Liz now? I’m more pumped than ever. I will get better… I will grow stronger. I will do it again and improve my time. I will learn how to “get in the zone” no matter where I am or who is around me. I will learn what I need to eat during a run and how often to eat it. I will learn how to run with or without music, with or without company, with or without a baby jogging stroller.
Yes, I feel defeated. I feel humbled. I feel worn out. But I am going to pick myself back up and work harder and longer this time.
I’ve already set my next goal: another half marathon on November 17th. Coming right up.
This isn’t my race report… that’ll come. This is mostly my race emotional check. Stay tuned for a less emotional report of how it really went down.
(A mini report for those who really want to know: With the humidity the air temp “felt like” 104 degrees, the sun was behind clouds for most of the race (I might have had a heat stroke had it not been) and I finished with a time of 3:28. Also, I walked a lot more than I ever planned or expected I would.)