After running the Lighthouse Run 10-miler in June, I started challenging myself with longer weekly runs and was surprised to find that my body was responding well. Then, earlier this month, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago to get another mid-distance run under my belt. Running-wise, this was a great race for me. Upon crossing the finish line, I felt capable of running further and a half marathon seemed within reach.
When I got home from the 15k, I bit the bullet and registered for the Schaumburg Half Marathon Turkey Trot. This was my first half marathon, so I was really nervous about making it the full 13.1 miles. I kept up my training, hydrated like mad and made sure I had some sweet jams to power me through the inevitable "can I curl up and die now?" thoughts that haunt mile 11.
Then--despite all my preparation--I wound up with a nasty cold the day before the race. Ugh. Staying home wasn't an option, so I got a good night's sleep and slammed some Sports Beans (the Havasupai trip started this addiction). Given that I was sick, my goals were to simply to (a) finish and (b) not walk. This was going to be one snotty race.
At the start line, I huddled near the 9:55/mile pacers, thinking that I'd need to stay around a 10 min/mile to make the full 13. Throughout the race, though, I felt like my baseline pace was a little faster. Eventually, I found myself in front of the 9:32/mile pacers for a total time of 2:02:05 (that's a 9:19/mile pace...WHO AM I?!).
Right as I was about to cross the finish line, I saw someone holding a sign that said "Your feet are tired--from kicking so much ass." :D I thought it was appropriate. I currently want to cut everything below my waist off, but I'm so happy to have finished...I feel empowered that I'm finally getting the hang of this running thing.
I can finally check off "Run a Half Marathon" from my list. I'm so glad that my biggest fan met me at the finish to see me do it. :) Thanks, dad!