It was likely a combination of factors. I was experimenting with my diet to try & reduce the inflammation in my leg. I was physically tired due to various factors. I didn't sleep well. I started too fast and pushed too hard.
Who knows exactly what happened. All I know is it was a half marathon, and it was awful. Hard. Horrible. Wretched.
I cried. Literally cried I felt so awful. Do you know how hard it is to run when you are crying? I only kept running because it meant it would be over sooner.
Needless to say, I had mixed feelings when I won an entry to the Zooma Cape Cod half marathon through the running club I'm in.
We drove down Friday afternoon to stay in a place my husband vacationed at as a child.
A few miles away, we came upon this:
Do you see that rainbow off in the distance? It almost looked like a reflection from one of those prisms you hang in a window. Soon it became this:
And then this:
A double rainbow.
I couldn't help but wonder: would this race bring a redemption of sorts? Would it restore my confidence in my body's ability to run a race?
Everyone told me not to race. Treat it as a training run, they said. The marathon is only 3 weeks away, and you should be tapering.
So I had no expectations. I was hoping to run a 2:05 half, but hadn't even done the math to figure out what pace that would be. My previous half marathon times were 2:12-ish, 2:00:00.0 on the dot, and 2:09-ish (the hardest race of my life). I figured I could likely do 2:05 without pushing myself too hard.
I got to connect with Colleen Fit Bee before the race (love that woman), and we hung around and chatted for a few.
Before we knew it, it was time to run.
So I ran.
My legs felt heavy the whole time. They usually do. Running does not come naturally to me; it never has. It has always been hard work. I've never had that "light" or "fresh" feeling that runners talk about. I keep running because I can & others can't.
So I wasn't concerned that my legs felt heavy. I was maintaining about a 9:05 pace initially. Then the hills set in and my mapping app sort of lost me.
This race was hilly. Very, very hilly. We didn't have a serious downhill until after mile 6. And then we went right back uphill.
Around that time, I decided I felt good enough to push myself a little harder. I kept telling myself I could slow down if I needed to. At about mile 7 or 8, my phone said I was running a 9:14 pace. It was more like 9:20 based on the difference between the course markers and the miles my phone thought we were running (i.e. much shorter miles!).
I just kept running. I ran fast up the hills, even though it was hard. I ran & ran & ran.
At mile 10, I timed a mile. 8:35. Not bad at all. At mile 12, my phone said I'd been running somewhere around an hour and 50-51 minutes. I couldn't quite read it. I did the math and figured out I was pretty close to getting a personal best.
So I really, really ran. I figured if nothing else, I could get in really close to 2:01 or 2:02, which would be amazing on such a difficult course.
I was near the end and rounded the corner. The big clock said. 1:59. 1:59????? Would half marathon #4 finally break the 2 hour barrier?
I sprinted and gave it my all.
Almost done - check out that joy!
The clock read 1:59:24. I gave all the glory to God.
My official time was 1:59:13. Amazing!
You can see my dear friend Colleen in the reflection! She's so speedy she PR'ed with 1:39 AND placed 2nd for her age group! And did I mention she has lost over 100 lbs? An inspiration!
Thanks, Zooma ladies, for contacting Parkway Running Club & giving me this amazing opportunity! The race was unique in so many ways. It was almost all women. There were pacers! I've never seen pacers in a race before. In fact, after mile 12, we did a little out & back down a side street. Seeing the 2:00 pacers let me know I was close! Instead of a race medal, we got a cool running necklace that said "Run" on one side and "Zooma 12" on the other. There was food, music, and lots of fun!
I run because I can.
If you haven't yet read about why I will run a marathon in 19 days, please do. I will be running 26.2 miles to raise awareness & funds in order to trample on child sex trafficking. Please consider giving to this great cause.