I ran the half marathon and I don’t even know what to say about it.
It was awesome… every single bit of it. But to be honest, there isn’t
much TO say about it. Nothing incredibly dramatic happened, no big
life lessons were learned, there was no crazy sprint to the finish, and although it was a huge – HUGE – achievement for me, it lacks the feeling of a life-changing event. I
think that’s because the life-changing things are already happening – they’re happening every day that I run, every day that I train, and every day that I fight the mental battle of “I don’t want to do this” and get out there and do it anyway. Today I read a quote that I really loved. It said:
“There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have.”
Amen to that.
There were funny things that happened, though, that I’d like to remember.
Such as the fact that pretty early in the race, we found an older
gentleman right on our heels, speed-walking. Talk about a flashback!!!
When he passed us, I decided it would be in my best interest NOT to
give chase. :)
As usual, the first two miles or so were the toughest for me and right around mile 3, I wanted to quit. I asked myself: “are your legs hurting? Are your feet hurting? Are you having trouble breathing?” and when I discovered that the answer to each of
these questions was “no,” I gave my legs a little pep talk: “Legs…
tell your brain that it might as well stop complaining, because you’re
not stopping!” From there, things got easier.
It’s funny, how I argue with myself when I’m running. At mile 6, Confident Me had a
conversation with Doubtful Me that went something like this:
CM: You’re halfway there!!!
DM: OHHHHHHHHH… that means I have to do what I just did ALL OVER AGAIN!!!! GROANWINEMOANCOMPLAIN!!!
CM: Yea, but now you’re all warmed up for it!
I think one of my favorite times in the race came at mile 10…
(actually, all in honesty it came at mile 9 but I’d rather not admit
that!) when I realized (or rather, thought I realized) that I only had
three more miles to go and said to myself: “just a 5k left!” I
understood then how far I’ve come because there was a time, and not very
long ago, when I couldn’t run a 5k. And when I realized that I’d done the math wrong, well, what’s one more mile? :)
I think it really settled in that I was going to do this when I passed the second water station, at mile 4. The water tables were stationed every 2 miles and so I decided to count the miles by the water stations. At mile 4, there were only 4 more water stations to go, which mentally helped me to put things into perspective. That, and the fact that after my disastrous 12 mile run two weeks ago, I called my friend Patrick to complain: “do you know how FAR 12 miles is?” Without missing a beat, he responded: “do you know how SHORT 12 miles is?” That really put things into perspective, too. :)
That’s not to say it was easy. In fact, I’m pretty well convinced that I
would have been better served and ended up with a better time had I
walked some of the way instead of trying to run it all. There were
several times – especially on the hills – when I know I could have
walked it faster than I was running it. There were run/walkers who
came in far ahead of me, and many people who walked the entire way who
went faster than me (including the older gentleman who, after a mile or so, I couldn’t even spot in the distance.) But this wasn’t about having a good time or being
fast. This was about forcing my body to do something its never done
before. Forcing myself to accomplish something I’ve worked so incredibly
hard to do. I wouldn’t have been disappointed with myself if I’d had to
walk, but I wanted to do my very best. And on Saturday, November 12th,
my very best enabled me to run – not walk – 13.1 miles.
Thanks to Manuela, I have several pictures of myself running the race, that
I’ll always treasure. Incidentally, that’s a great illustration of the
difference between Manuela running and Rina running… Rina: lock eyes
on one tiny spot in the distance and concentrate on putting one foot in
front of the other and trying to breathe. Manuela: take in the
scenery, snap a few photos, talk on the phone… Poor Manuela, I make a
pretty lousy running partner.
Here we are, together before the race:
This is probably my favorite picture that Manuela took during the race, because it was during a stretch through the park that I really enjoyed.
This next one makes me laugh, because right before she took it, Manuela asked me “do you want me to take a picture of you from the front or the back?” And I groaned: “I don’t care!” and thought it was crazy that she could even THINK about taking pictures right that moment!
Manuela talks a lot about bringing her good camera with her on these runs, and in theory I agree that it would make for some beautiful pictures, but I know in practice that I wouldn’t take a single one. Something about my need for oxygen and the fact that if I stop I don’t think I’ll be able to start again makes it pretty unlikely that I’ll ever be able to advertise myself as The Running Photographer. I’ll gladly let Manuela corner that market.
I don’t think I’ve shown off the back of this shirt before, here’s a closeup:
If you didn’t catch it in the other picture, the front of it says (or said, before we changed “10k” to “half marathon”) “couch to 10k.” Manuela and I and two of our other friends, Michelle and Amy, got them to run our last race in, and the backs have each of our personal weight loss numbers and goals on them.
Here I am, in the last stretch, fiddling with my ipod. Pretty sure I was trying to find “Faith Enough.” :)
If you’ll look closely, you’ll see that my left foot is off the ground while the right foot is making contact. In the rules of speed walking, this would disqualify me as a RUNNER, thankyouverymuch.
Need a closer look?
Right foot: OFF the ground. Left foot: ON the ground. RUNNING.
That hill was a BEAST, by the way! So cruel, to situate the course so that we had to run up a giant hill on the last stretch. For most of the way up, I tucked my head down, watched my feet (so I didn’t have to see how much hill I had left!) and with every footfall repeated the words “I. LOVE. HILLS. I. LOVE. HILLS.” It’s true. I love them. I especially love the tops of them. :)
At the bottom of the hill, just before the last turn, was a man holding up a sign that read:
IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE. RUN!
I could have kissed that man.
My friend Michelle took this one, as I came up on the finish line!!!
You can see my husband in the back, watching (he’s the guy with the beard and the sunglasses.) He actually ran in with me, and then left me just before I got to the finish line so I could cross it on my own. Running with him at the end was absolutely wonderful!
Official time: 2:56:08 (not sure why the clock here says 2:58:35, on the website it’s posted as 2:56:08… either way, I don’t care, I made it under 3 hours!!!)
Here’s Manuela running in (she came in before me):
Crying on Michelle’s shoulder:
Crying on Jon’s shoulder:
We did it!!!
Afterward, I took both my shoes off and limped toward the car. I hurt EVERYWHERE. Later, I discovered that I had a giant blister on my big toe and another on one of my smaller toes. No wonder my feet were hurting! On the way back to the car, I got lightheaded and dizzy and had to sit for a bit while Jon made me eat a banana. I felt better very soon afterward and it makes me wonder how things would have gone if the course had gone just one more mile. It also makes me realize that I’ll need to do some things differently when we run our Marathon – like accept some of the snacks and gels they offered along the way, or take some with me.
Once we got home I had Jon and Bunchkin take some pictures of me with my medal:
30 minutes later, my daughter took one last picture:
As always, thank you for your support and for sharing this journey with me.
One last thing… I haven’t mentioned this much, because it’s difficult for me, but I’m still accepting donations for the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation in honor of my Aunt Lisa. If you feel led, please click the link below to find out more:
PS. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this and left comments on this post. I’m sorry that I can’t reply to everyone individually, but I’ve written a “thank you” to all of you Here. Your encouragement really means more than I can say.