A few Saturdays ago, I woke up and strapped on my running shoes, half-intending to run the 5K I had signed up for.
Then a friend's voice entered my mind. She's a colleague and fellow NOLA runner, and the day before, we were at a holiday potluck together, mowing away at heavy, rich holiday dishes, commenting how many would make great "pre-race" meals rather than what they really were: high sugar, high fat excess.
Anyhoo...she said that she actually was running a race the next day: The Ole Man River Half Marathon. This is the same one I ran last year--my first half marathon. She said, "yea...my friend, Anne and I decided that it would be fun and, what the hell, we need something to motivate us to get a long run in as we train for next February's Rock and Roll Half" (which I'm also doing).
Instantly jealous, I started to calculate how I'd change my evening in order to be rested, fueled and ready to run 13.1 miles rather than 3.1. I'd need to skip happy hour, eat only one more light meal and get to bed EARLY.
Excited and nervous--and questioning whether I'd really trained enough to pull this off without injury--I tossed and turned all night. My husband came home and I told him there was a good chance I'd be running a half marathon in the morning.
Concerned Husband: "Do whatever you want, hon. I know I can't talk you out of this...you probably can't even talk yourself out of it now either. Have you honestly trained enough for this, hon? Please don't hurt yourself...."
And off he went to sleep as I continued to weigh the factors in my head.
Fast forward to 7:50 am Saturday, literally 10 minutes before gun time: I was at the registration table, switching my name to the list of female runners in the longer race. Then I let my husband know there was no turning back.
Well, I may not have wanted to stand for this picture, taken about 5 minutes after I crossed the finish line, but I was immensely proud of my decision to upgrade my race status from 5K to half.
Part of my strategy on long runs is to NOT listen to music because it makes me run faster than I should, causing me to get tired. I like to save a few songs for the final mile or two.
So, odd as it may seem, this song was the one that made me feel the happiest and the most motivated. Try it some time...you'll find yourself grinning by the end of the song.
[Friend, coworker, motivator. Thanks, Lisa (left), for making me do this!]
Yes, I was laughing in this picture.
I was amazed that I did it. I was thrilled (and a tiny bit surprised) at how great I felt.
My husband called it: Once I get my mind set on something, it's pretty much over.
As I reached my car, I settled into the driver's seat with a happy, exhausted thump. I pulled out my phone to find this text from my husband.
Last year, inexperience and pain caused me to take 2 hours and 27 minutes to finish the half marathon. This year, I crossed the finish line after only 2 hours and 7 minutes of running. It's amazing how great something can turn out when you don't allow time to over-stress about it ahead of time.
So, now I know I can finish a half marathon without limping across the finish line. I can do it and actually feel GOOD afterward. (Even knocked out 3 hours of yard work when I got home).
Now my jitters about the February half are gone and am left with only excitement. Next road race: Jackson Day 9K, in two weeks.