On Saturday I officially completed my longest race to date. It was a 12 mile race but technically with the walk to the start and finish line, I’m rounding it up to a half marathon. Last year it actually was a half, but they changed the finish line to somewhere safer because the final mile is on a stretch of road that is not great for runners to be on.
The race was hands down the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my 31 years. It challenged me in a number of ways. First, the sheer distance and time it took to complete. I’m not a fast runner by any means. On a good day, I’m looking at an 11 minute mile. Add in mountains, creek crossings, unmarked hiking paths, rocks, tree limbs and about 5 additional minutes onto that time. Since my blog is a place of honesty, even if it’s slightly embarrassing for me, I will tell you that I finished in 3:18:51. Yes… you read that right. 57th place is not my finest moment, but I wasn’t there to win.
I started off slow, trying to save my energy for the rest of the run and ended up at the back of the pack. The race only had about 60 runners so I wasn’t surprised to find myself one of the last people. In fact, for most of the run I thought I was THE last person but it turns out there were 5 people behind me.
While I was running alone, I could see people far in the distance for the first mile. After that, it was thick woods and didn’t see another runner, save one, for the entire race! There was one person I seemed to be keeping in pace with and by mile 3, we decided to stick together. She needed to stop about the same time I did and it was nice to have a partner. By the last leg, I started developing a blister on my big left toe. I told her to go on ahead as I had to stop 2-3 times and take off my shoe to rearrange my sock.
Being alone was much harder and I found myself walking more than running. With so many ups and downs, it was hard to keep a steady pace. By the time I got out of the woods and onto the road again, there was only a 1/2 mile left. I saw my running buddy up ahead and I pushed as hard as I could to finish strong. Turns out she had finished a mere 70 seconds before me so all in all I think I kept up my pace pretty well.
Here’s me right after the race- exhausted!! Another one of me posing on our balcony at the hotel. Sorry, I know the lighting sucks horribly… I was working with a self-timer and window ledge. The boys haven’t learned to use the camera yet.
And in other news… In what was surely a sleep deprived psychotic breakdown, I also decided to register for three more races in the coming months. Two half marathons in Chicago (June & August) and a full in Milwaukee (October). One of my life’s goals is to run a marathon and I’m on a roll so I better keep pushing while the gettin’s good! That gives me 7 whole months to train for it and I’m confident after this weekend I can complete it.