I did this race last year. In fact, it was my first half marathon ever. And it was a success!
This year’s race was also a success, but do you ever feel like all signs are telling you that you should not be doing something? Well, that’s how I felt about this race. Let me back up for a minute…
On Friday morning, I woke up and went to the basement to do laundry. Ah, the life of a working mom. Doing laundry at 7 a.m. Anyway, as I was walking back up the basement steps, I noticed that my left knee felt weird. In fact, it was cracking with each step that I took. I thought it was really odd because I ran the day before and was perfectly fine. As a former competitive figure skater, and now a runner, my knees have definitely been used a lot, but I have never had knee trouble before. And I’ve been thankful.
So Friday, the day before my half marathon, my knee hurt. It felt really tight and I couldn’t bend or straighten in the whole way. But if there is one thing I am not, it’s a quitter. Yes, it sounds cliche, but it’s totally true. I’m competitive and determined, almost to a fault. ALMOST.
So that was sign number one that maybe I shouldn’t be running this race. Then, sign number two came upon me at 5:30 a.m. on race day. In the form of lightning, thunder and torrential downpour.
I jumped out of bed (carefully as my knee still hurt) and checked out the radar, the news, the race hotline and any other form of information I could get my hands on. They all said the race was still on. So on I went.
I lined up at the starting line with barely enough time to stretch or get excited, but I made sure I had time to go pee. There’s no way I’m squatting against a tree during this race.
Before I knew it, we were off.
Remember how I told you about the torrential downpour early that morning? Well, the skies cleared up, thankfully, but the storm was strong with high winds, and because of that, the roads were completely littered with debris. Tree branches, sticks, leaves, and whole entire trees were everywhere during the race. And then it happened.
Before I even hit the damn ONE-MILE marker, I accidentally stepped on a stick and rolled my ankle. I heard a snap and I could not physically put any weight on my ankle. Disbelief is an understatement. A guy running next to me grabbed me so I didn’t fall and a lady behind me asked if I was ok and said she saw what happened. I told her I was ok even though I didn’t know if I was. And then, being the determined, competitive person I am, I walked it off. Or, rather, ran it off.
Yes, God, I hear you loud and clear, but I don’t want to stop this race before I even ran one friggen mile. So I had a come to Jesus moment. I hoped and prayed and crossed my fingers and asked that I finish this race successfully. Without knee or ankle injuries, without getting struck my lightning or hit by a car. I said that I didn’t need to set a PR, I just wanted to finish in one piece.
And that’s exactly what I did.
This was my third half marathon and dare I say it, they’re getting …sort of….easy. I know, I can’t believe it either! In fact, before I knew it, I was at the 8 mile mark. And then the 10 mile mark. And then the 12 mile mark and I was all smiles. Really, a volunteer even exclaimed, “look at that smile!” as I ran past. “Woooo!” I shouted and she echoed me.
The course is beautiful, around lakes, through tree-lined neighborhoods and I would recommend this well-organized race to anyone. Plus they give out nice finisher medals. However, there is a biiiiig hill at the end of the race. But by that point, you’re so full of adrenaline, you can’t help but run your heart out and finish strong.
And happily and luckily, that’s what I did:
A new personal best by 9 minutes. Methinks a sub-2 hour half marathon is in my future. As long as my knee doesn’t decide to turn its back on me completely. I’m icing it right now so it knows I’m sorry.