This morning I ran my 4th Half Marathon in 14, 160 seconds.
That somehow makes it sound much quicker than it actually was :) I have been on this running "journey" for almost 3 years now - and I have done some really really good runs, and some really really hard runs. I have maintained this "goal" idea for a Half Marathon of running it under 3 hours - even though for some runners that is the time it would take to complete a FULL Marathon (42.2km). I have now completed 4 Half Marathons all with this internal goal in mind - and this morning I ran the Mississauga Half Marathon in:
Finally - the goal is reached on the 4th try!
The whole weekend went great, Stuart, JP and myself headed up to Mississauga Saturday morning and went straight to the expo to get our bibs and running kits:
We spent the afternoon at Bass Pro, met my dear friend Katie for dinner and after a couple Benadryl's we were in bed, with lights out at a decent time. The morning came quick, after a nervous night tossing and turning and I was up, dressed and eaten by 6:30 - we met Jo downstairs at the hotel and headed to the Start Line (seriously - any friends reading this and planning a run - ALWAYS try to book a hotel within walking distance to the start line or shuttle - saves so much time and stress!)
The crowd was great, good size, loud music and after a rousing rendition of "Sweet Caroline" in honor of the Boston Marathon victims - it was straight to the Port-a Potty line for me for a last minute bathroom break!
No matter what size race you go in, there are always people in line right until the race begins!
This entire race felt different right from the start for me - weeks ago I had made a conscious choice to not stress about this run - I don't want running to become something anxious or stressful in my life - it is supposed to be stress relieving not creating. So I allowed myself to relax - I started off with a much slower pace than normal, I took in the scenery (this is by far the prettiest race I have ever run) and the people, the bands and the music.
Around 8k I thought to myself - "Hey, you can run faster than this - you need to push harder" and I probably could have, I probably could have finished with an even better time - but I wanted to enjoy the experience, I do not want to be the runner puking in the trees, or limping across the finish line.
I want to breath in the experience and appreciate the fact that I am capable of running 21.1km's.
I held a good pace and was way ahead of schedule until the 18th km - and than I just got tired! It was really hot out, and I haven't run in the heat and sun for almost a year now - I could tell that was taking a toll on me. I had drank all of my water bottles on my belt, was starting to get sunburned and my legs were getting weaker. I took a lot more walk breaks in that last 3k than I would have liked too but at that point I knew I would make it under my goal time.
As usual I started crying as I approached the finish line - there is just such a great sense of accomplishment, mixed with a lot of exhaustion! I was about 300 meters away when I heard my name called; I had a fan in the crowd!!! A running friend of mine from Barrie had come down to watch the run! It was a complete surprise and a wonderful encouragement in the last stretch! (Thanks Terry!)
I crossed the finish line hands held high, grateful for a good time - and thankful to God that I was once again able to complete something only 3% of people will do in their lifetime!
JP was waiting at the other side of the finish line (after an amazing finish of 2:21) and we both waited for Stuart to finish just a few minutes after me! I am so very fortunate to have had a husband so supportive of my running and crazy enough to try it himself!
So now we rest, with Stuart fast asleep to my left and Pismo fast asleep at my feet.
We rest feeling accomplished, and proud of how hard we worked.
We rest - in preparation for the next adventure!