One of the big factors of the day was the rain:
It was raining on the way to the race, it was raining while we were waiting for the race to start,
(don't let the brightness in the background fool you, it is raining)
and it rained the entire race. The rain lightened up a bit when the race started and for awhile, I thought it might stop. But just as I was getting optimistic, the rain came down even harder (and funnily enough, one of the really hard sections of rain came down right as "Walkin' on Sunshine" was playing on my iPod"). But you know what? I still had fun.
As you may remember, I was fighting an injury leading up to the race, so I went into it with no expectations. My first goal was to get 'er done, the second was to finish without a lot of pain, and the third was to hopefully still run it faster than the first time I ran this race (which was my first half-marathon ever- I finished in 2:08:05). Mostly, I just wanted to finish feeling good. So, my two mottos for the day were:
And they worked! Any time things started to feel a little rough, I would look at my hand and it would either make me smile or it would remind me just to put one foot in front of the other and run. I started a little too far back and had to run my way through a lot of people- my first mile was pretty slow, but I think that worked to my advantage. I had to start slowly and ease into the race a bit- which isn't a terrible race strategy. I think I even managed to negative split. That is very much NOT my style (I'm more of a "go for it and die at the end" kind of gal)
(yes, that's how wet it was- and just in case you look up his time, he wants you to know he wasn't at peak performance...he did run Boston in April after all)
The hills were still there and they were still hard (Jordan compared it to the "Boston of half marathons" when it came to the getting bused to the start, the waiting, and then the hills) but what was different for me with this race, as compared to my half marathon in September, was my attitude. When things felt crappy, instead of getting freaked out and instead of thinking that if I felt like this now, what would I feel like in 3 miles, I acknowledged the feeling, looked at my hand, stopped thinking and just ran.
(Heather running it in at the end)
To be honest, the first 7 miles or so felt almost easy. I was out for a run in the rain. I was listening to my music (a first for me in a race), occasionally chatted with the people around me, and just ran. It was kind of nice. Of course I was getting a little tired around 10 miles (my longest run leading up to the race was about 11 miles- and that was a whole month before the race), but I figured that I could do anything for 5K and sped up. I ended up covering the last 5K faster than I did the last 5K of my half in September. I think "don't think just run" should be my motto for every race...
(I think I look a lot worse than I feel- though I am ready to be done)
Sure, I didn't break any records or even break one of my own (although I did run my second fastest half marathon) but I had fun. I ran my own race, I ran a race with 2 pounds of water in my shoes, and I smiled for a lot of it. Mostly- I finished thinking "hey, I could keep running, I could have gone faster, and I'm ok with all of that. That, my friends, gets the thumbs up.
(my parents walked a lot of the race, though they did end up getting a ride for part of it- the rain and was rough and they both had some injury issues)
(yes, it was that humid after wards...)
(I'm smiling because I'm about to enjoy my free post-race beer)
Thank you for all of your support- both financial (as donations to Team Alzheimer's) and encouragement. I really appreciate it all! And yes. This is the latest. blog post. ever. Sorry about that.