So, let me begin this post by saying, I reached my goal! 🙂 I successfully completed the 5 Points of Life Half Marathon in Gainesville, FL on February 14, 2010 with a time of 1:53:58.8! I was 18th of the females in my age group, 70th in females overall, and 190th out of 609 total runners! Crazy!
Race day was great! I only got 4 hours of sleep the night before and it was 30 degrees outside when I left my apartment at 6:20am. I had to scrape frost off my windshield with my debit card (I’m becoming a true Floridian). When I got to the site of the starting line, I saw two of the marines that used to recruit on campus who apparently just heard about the race last weekend and decided to run it. They both finished way ahead of me–not fair. I also saw a few others that I knew–super encouraging! 🙂 We started the race at the same time as the full marathon so it was a semi slow start because of the huge crowd. After we got out on the main road, it was smooth sailing. At mile 2, I started to have to pee. Not good! Around mile 5, I got the best surprise ever–my parents! They came up to cheer me on! At mile 7, I was pretty sure I was going to have to stop to use the bathroom or pee my pants…but managed to push through. (Sorry, probably TMI…but true!) Around miles 10-11, the route took us through campus…but not in a fun way for me. It was too much winding and up and down hills. I definitely enjoyed the regular roads better. That is probably because I trained on pretty straight roads–not a lot of turning. I just felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere on those 2 miles. I saw my parents for the last time right after I passed the Mile 12 sign. The way the route was made, I knew there was no way they would make it to the finish line before me. I was right. I beat them there! But…because I was not expecting anyone to be there to watch me at all, not having anyone at the finish wasn’t really disappointing. Tyler (one of the Marines) was there and was trying to be encouraging. Fail. I don’t handle encouragement well from a guy who can’t remember the last time he ran over 5 miles and still finishes way before me! 🙂 Overall, it was a great run! Even though it was cold in the morning, it was perfect race weather.
Favorite part about the day? Along the way, there were signs to “motivate us.” It was Valentine’s Day. For those of you who do not know, I am one of those bitter Valentine’s Day haters. Of course, many signs had something to do with love. First one I saw–“Your ❤ <3’s you.” Thanks LifeSouth, I’m sure it does–but nottttt so encouraging to me. 🙂 I did enjoy reading some of the clever signs that were made for the runners though. IF there is a next time, I will make sure I have supporters with signs! 🙂
So…a few things I’ve learned in the past few months of training:
1. I really enjoy running. I am a pretty competitive person…but not really good at anything. Someone is always better than me and I get frustrated easily because of that. But…running is a little different. It is a competition with myself. Yes, I wanted to beat other people on that race yesterday. No, I did not enjoy when people passed me. But, at the end, I was really excited because I had done something that I have never done before. AND…even though I finished saying “I will probably never do this again…”–there was a small part of me that was saying, “Next time I will do this and this and I can finish faster!” Running has good days and bad days…but overall, it is a LOT less frustrating to me than any other sport I’ve ever done–competitive or recreational.
2. With all of that love for running that I just talked about, you may call me a hypocrite…but…I think have decided that about 7-8 miles max is plenty…after that, I get bored. I might enjoy longer runs more if I had a running partner or two (hint, hint–any takers?). The half was perfect for this because I only trained up to 11 miles and those really long runs only happened once a week. Otherwise, the shorter runs are much more up my alley!
3. Training for my first race in my last year of school while working and trying to find a career was probably not the ideal plan. My training was sometimes sporadic because of exams, wisdom teeth, sickness, overwhelming life obligations.
4. With number 3 being said, I don’t believe there will ever be an “ideal” time for training. Life happens. Something will always be in the way of training and you really just have to suck it up and work through it. I wish I would have not let training go by the wayside so much because of life’s interferences. Coulda, woulda, shoulda…
5. Cheerleaders on race day are IMPORTANT. Seeing my parents and other people I knew along the way was probably one of the most motivating things about the day. Yes, the excitement of the race and the other runners around and strangers on the road cheering were great motivation, but having people who knew me and were there for me personally meant so much more! So–if you are running your first race, I encourage you to make sure you have cheerleaders! If you’re running near me, I’ll come cheer for you!
And last, but not least, 6. I am a much better blog reader than I am a blog writer. As anyone who has read this blog knows, I am TERRIBLE at updating this. So, this may be my last post for a while. I’ll still be reading blogs as I do every day when I should be paying attention in my classes…but writing them is just not my thing.
Thanks for all of the support in this training process. It was a great run and I’m so glad I did it!