When your Friday night clock shows this hour,
you can expect to be tested for a Saturday morning race.
October 12th was my first half marathon since June. I put it in my marathon training plan because: a) I’ve done the race before – 2 years ago; b) It was cheap for a half marathon – $30. Whoohoo! and c) I had some friends that were going to run it as well. Since I have been training for the Dallas Marathon, I didn’t adjust my plan with a taper and reduced mileage. I wanted to test my legs when tired. I should be able to set a new PR, but my goal is the marathon right now and I need my focus there.
Earlier in the week I found out my friends weren’t going to be able to go, so I psyched myself up to go solo. I did pay for it and I’m too cheap to waste registration fees. Thursday night I found out my husband was going to be out of town. When I checked the forecast on Friday, race day didn’t look so great. Since I was flying solo, Friday night I was responsible for picking up my daughter after an out of town game. See above photo for the crazy hour I was sitting in the parking lot. When I stepped outside Saturday morning after a few hours of choppy sleep, the mugginess of the day caught my breath. Yuck.
It took me almost an hour to get to the town, and then I spent another 45 minutes trying to find the start. When I finally made it to the location at 8:30, I grabbed my phone, iFitness belt, chews, and shut the door. Then I realized my keys were not in my hand, so I looked in the window and there they were – right in the ignition where I left them.
I called AAA (best investment ever) and they gave me a 45 minute ETA. The race had a start time of 9:00. I fully intended to sit it out. When I went to get my packet, I ran into a few other runners I knew. I gave my chews to one who forgot her gels. “I won’t need them.” They called “two minutes to start” and I wished them luck.
I immediately got a call from the contractor who was two blocks away. My friend (who wasn’t able to go) called me to say I had better run anyway. I offered excuses, but she wasn’t listening. “These are the things that make us,” she said. My car was opened about a minute later. I grabbed my keys, bottle of Nuun, my visor, and my Garmin and ran to the start.
“Am I too late to start?” I asked the official looking lady by the banner. She pointed to the clock. “They left about five minutes ago.” I took off – Garmin in one hand, Nuun and visor in the other. I started my Garmin knowing that it would take it awhile to get going and noted the time on my phone when it started. 9:07. I then tried to put my visor on while carrying my Nuun. I ended velcroing a chunk of my hair doing this, but after two hours of running in 70 plus degrees, it really wouldn’t matter.
I ran my first few miles too fast, but I wanted to catch up to other participants. I have a fear of wrong turns. After I caught some of the walkers, I started to relax a bit. The course was an out and back loop, then again in reverse. When I hit halfway, my time was 61:46 according to the timekeeper. Then the heat of the day set in, and after my near dehydration last year, I have learned to listen to my body. I settled into a run/ walk plan to cool off a bit.
My official time at the finish was 2:07:35 which was good enough for 3rd in my age group, but more importantly I learned a lot about myself. I can overcome obstacles. I am tougher than I imagined. It’s not always about a number, but about what I can do when facing difficulties.
What obstacles have you encountered as a runner?