Half marathon.. hmm. Doesn't seem like too much post Run Across America, but it's a different animal. Totally different animal!!! Run one mile at at time for 9 to 22 miles a day for 21 days is WAY different from running 13.1 miles straight.
I signed up for this race well before I took off for the RAA and haven't really thought about it too much since.
So as race day came I started to wonder.. I'm preparing for a 50 miler.. should I just go out and run a nice easy 13.1. I KNOW I can do it.. EVERY day if I need to.
So the night before the race I started to think that I should just lay it all out there and see what happens. I was thinking I would try to negative split the race. Um, Like you are supposed to. I was planning to take the first have as 'doable difficult'. A bit beyond my comfort zone.. so 8:30 to 8:45s then pick it up to whatever I could push it to on the second half.. maybe 8:00 to 8:30s.
It had been reported that the course had mostly rollers and ONE big climb at 7 miles then finishing on a hill. Rollers.. sure I can push it through rollers.
I took my Garmin with me, but planned to (try) only look at it around the mile markers because I was used to my 'map my run' app telling me splits every mile and I didn't want to be ruled by it. I did pretty well with this.
In the early parts of the race I got caught up with a couple of women. EVERY time I looked at my watch (which wasn't too often bc I was focused on staying w/ these women) I was sub 8 and was thinking.. HOLY SHIT I am NOT going to be able to hold onto this pace for 13.1 miles.
I didn't carry anything with me (stupid) and could feel when there was 'too much' time between aid stations. I could feel my body start to tank and the need for some glycogen to keep me going and just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore an aid station would show up, I would swig some Gatorade (or whatever it was) and some water and feel it kick in about 5 - 10 mins later. I'd get back in a groove and repeat the process. The aid stations after about the first two were spaced just a bit too far for my needs. Next time TAKE YOUR OWN!! If I had just been out there to run it would have been fine, but RACING is a different deal!
Just the days before this race Jessica went into the hospital.. You will remember Jessica from the Blue Jean Ball back in January. She has gone through cancer and a liver transplant and is now in the hospital with Pneumonia, her CT & MRI showed something non the lymph nodes around her liver which could mean nothing, post- transplant lymphoma or that her cancer is back!
Jessica's attitude is positive. ALWAYS! Through EVERYTHING! She is always smiling and gives the MOST AMAZING hugs. I get to run. Jessica has to sit in the hospital. I envisioned her beautiful smiling face so many times today on the run and remembered the words of Eric Opdyke during the Run Across America, "This isn't hard, Cancer is hard." I dug deep for this girl. I dug deep thinking about what Ann said in circle about her religion believing that you could take pain for other people. I tried so hard to shoulder just a small portion of Jessica's pain during this run.
In the end I had a PR of about 4 mins on a much harder course. Through the last 3 or 4 miles I thought surely I was going to puke That last hill felt like torture, but it was "easy" in comparison to what Jessica was going through. I was running while she was strapped to a hospital bed.
I ran for Team Fight. I will continue to run for Team Fight. I will fight for you Jessica! I will be by your side in spirt. I did day dream about packing my race medal in the car w/ me and driving my sorry butt down to MD to stop by for just a moment to give you a hug and my medal and tell you how proud I am of your strength and resilience, but alas I have a family that would have missed me much.
You are amazing! I might have run my heart out today, but you have truly fought for your life! Anything I do in my life will pail in comparison to your will to live!
Wow.. this blog post took a turn didn't it! Race report to rave review of a beautiful woman FIGHTING!
We can all fight for something in life. We are mostly blessed with good health and good fortune!!! If you don't have a fight FORCED on you.. what will you CHOOSE to FIGHT for!?
I choose to FIGHT for those that are struggling with Cancer! I choose to FIGHT for my own life in that it makes an impact on the lives of others! No more floating through and focusing on mundane bullshit! Time to make it COUNT!
Let's fight! Like Carlos from the Run Across America said... I am David.. fighting against Goliath.. every day!
Side note. I know this post is totally random... but I wrote it late at night... post race and possibly a glass of wine or two in... I refuse to go back and edit out the randomness. This is how I feel. It is the truth and it is from my heart. Jessica.. you amaze me and I can't wait to see you again!
For those that care. I ran a 1:41 - 4 min PR on a hilly course. 7:40min/mi avg. I am happy with this effort.