When I began running a little over a year ago, I had no intention of doing long distances. My goal was to run a 5K in my 50th year, which I did in October—one with Noelle (she of the beautiful brown eyes) and another with Leah and Abbey. Somewhere along the way I was told that "If you can run 3, you can run 6. If you can run 6 you can run 10. If you can run 10 you can run a half." Kind of like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie only without the carbs.
So I took the challenge and signed up for the race last January. I found a beginner's training plan online and set off down the road to becoming a distance runner. The months of training were mostly pleasant, and I even enjoyed the long runs on the weekends, running some of my best paces on 11 and 12 mile days. If I could run those paces on race day, I would finish at just under 2:30, not bad for a 50-year-old novice runner.
Then came Sunday, the big day. The race started at 7 a.m., and the weather was cool (low 50s—perfect running temp) and clear. I thought I could do well.
Somewhere around mile 7 or 8 I suddenly realized I was cooking hot and could not get enough to drink. At every water stop I drank Gatorade and 2 or 3 cups of water, and still felt parched. The sun was beating down and burning my head and face. I don't know how it happened, but it went from pleasant to brutal in about 30 seconds. I walked way more than I wanted to, keeping my walks short and trying to get going again, but just couldn't seem to get into a comfortable rhythm. Every step was a huge effort, and I couldn't stop thinking about how far away the next water stop was.
Hospital Hill was murder, even though I had practiced running it many times in the weeks before the race. I walked about 85% of it. I wanted to sit down on the grass but there was no shade. At the top of the hill was a huge group of Marines cheering us on. I didn't want to give any of them the high-fives they offered because it would slow what little momentum I had.
In the end, I finished in 2:48, not nearly the time I anticipated, but I was happy to be able to cross the finish line running.
I said right after the race that I would never do another one. Now that I'm two days removed and the soreness is beginning to go away, I can see how a person might want to do another one. (My family is laughing at me right now.) However, I'll make sure it's one in the late fall or early spring.
Be thankful ~