Sorry I’ve been so MIA, Awesome and Unemployed! I just got back from Japan and work has been going in overdrive! But I’m here. I’m feeling inspired today, so this post is going to be more inspirational than tactical. But every now and then, don’t we just need a little motivation? :)
Today, I ran my first half-marathon at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. It was excruciating at some points, but I’m so glad that I stuck with it. No matter what, I knew I was going to make it to the finish line. This lesson is about finishing at your own pace.
I think that almost everything that could have gone wrong did. I have been training the past few months for this race (not very hard, though :P) and it all came down to this day:
First snafu: I woke up at 5:45 and walked over to the starting area. Three of my friends were supposed to meet me there at 6:45, but they were running late, so they never showed. As I walked into the starting gate alone, I thought: this is going to be a looooonnnnnnngggg 13.1 mile run. I started to feel pretty alone.
Second snafu: I forgot my race day shirt and my interval watch. I had been running with my watch for my long runs and it really helped me keep pace and stay on track. Without it, I was left to the mercy of my will, which could not be trusted!!
Third snafu: It normally takes me about 2-3 miles before I’m really warmed up and at a good pace. At about mile 2, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom and that the first restroom stop was mile 4. Apparently, everyone else had to take a break, as well, so here I am, standing in line for 10 minutes, when I should be running. I stopped again at mile 7 to go again! Don’t you hate it when you’re finally getting the hang of things and you have to start over?
Fourth snafu: The hills were just hard! There are about 4 miles of hills in the NWM. Just when you think you’ve got the hang of things, you have to climb a mountain. Although I survived, I got an excruciating cramp in both of my knees at mile 9.5. Again, I stopped to massage/roll it out and start all over again.
Fifth snafu: Rain and hail [ok, maybe it was just rain that was being swirled around at high speeds by the wind?? it hurt like hail!!]. There was nothing I could do about this one, except to push through it! I was soaked by the end of the race!
I nearly gave up. I watched as girls around me were pulled out because of injuries. They were just not able to go on. I heard a coach pull aside a sobbing runner at mile 12 saying, “Let’s go home. You did great.”
What got me through this? I pictured my honoree, Stephanie (see photo), at the end of the finish line, waiting for me (if I saw her as I was crossing I planned to pounce on her and give her the biggest hug imaginable). I pictured my brother and all my friends. My coaches got into the race and ran with me through the hardest parts to make sure that I was okay. My Team in Training mentor and teammates were waiting for me at the finish line and gave me a high five, giving me the energy I needed to sprint through the end of the race. It was not easy, but knowing how sweet it’d be when I got there was my motivation. And when I needed help along the way, I befriended someone else who was fighting the same fight.
All around me were women pushing their limits, fighting challenges, perhaps even fighting cancer. They were fighting because they knew there was something more at the finish line. No matter what, you’ll get there, Awesome and Unemployed. Don’t worry about your start time, your end time, just know what’s in store for you at the finish line and focus your energy on that. There are things that may get in the way of your goal, but eventually, we all get there.