But I felt inspired. So I signed up for a local training group, West Coast Road Runners. I ran with someone the first day, on our trial run. Then I found someone pretty close in time the first time I did 8 miles. I ran a very lonely 10 miles and 11 miles, in between two pace groups, and found my first-day friend again when we did our 12 mile run (which ended up taking me 12.5 miles).
Along the way to the marathon, I completed a ridiculously hard 10K, that I mostly walked because of the mile-long, 10% incline. Then I ran the 3 miles back to my car, mostly mad about how darn hard the 10K was.
Last Sunday was the big day. It was my fourth half marathon. But it's been a long time - more than 6 years. I have two more children now than the last time I trained. I sleep less. I eat (and weigh) more. I am older. I have a zillion excuses. Which is why I needed to join a group.
My goal was 2:30. And I finished in 2:29.
I'm so proud of myself. It's my very worst half marathon finish time ever. But it's not the time that matters. It's that I finished. I ran the whole way. I ran faster (over 10 seconds faster/mile) than any of my long runs. And I had a lot of fun along the way. There were some hilarious signs. Some of my favorites:
- Four months ago, you thought this was a good idea!
- Worst parade ever!
- You've been training longer than Kim Kardashian was married.
- Runners are sexy. Your pace or mine?
- [Woman holding child and sign:] Hurry up - my arms are tired!
- Dad, you'll never win at this pace. Run faster!
- Stranger, I'm so proud of you!
There are others I am sure I am forgetting. The thing that overwhelmed me most, though, was just that there were people out there cheering (this makes a huge difference for a runner). I am so grateful for other runner's cheering squads and for those who didn't know anybody at all. I was actually inspired to train for my first race when my sorority alumni group signed up to work a water station -
It feels good to run again. Even if it is slower than before. Running, like life, won't always be perfect. But it is doable. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.