Back in April I made the ballsy move (I think) to register for a half marathon when I was barely able to run 6 miles at a respectable pace. I had seen ads for the race and my friend signed up for it, so I thought, “What the heck? It’ll give me something to work for.” It was definitely a struggle to get back into the shape needed to compete for 13.1 miles. However, I am so glad that I did. I had a wonderful time running through the streets of Annapolis (a beautiful town if you haven’t been there) on an absolutely stunning day. I really wish I could have taken pictures of the race with my eyes. The race started REALLY early (7:00 a.m.) and the sky was a beautiful lavender tinged with peach. The water was calm and the air was just warm enough to be comfortable. All-in-all, it was perfect race conditions in a beautiful setting.
As for the race, at first, I was very hesitant to run in a women’s race. In races, I generally like to find a middle-aged man and blow by him in the end because I am disgustingly competitive. Also, some women, I’m sorry to say, really annoy me. When I was waiting in line for the Porta-Potties before the race, I was incredibly annoyed with the fresh college graduates talking about their wine consumption the night before the race and being generally vapid. Yes, I am a curmudgeon, but I can’t take that kind of talk that early in the morning. If they were high school kids, it would be another story. These ladies should know better. Anyway, going in, I did not have high hopes for the race. However, at the start, the race proved me wrong. A camaraderie developed throughout the race. I actually wanted to encourage the other women to run well as opposed to beat them into the ground–this was a new leaf for me. Climbing up the bridges and seeing the women and few men on their way back as I was on my way out, I didn’t feel competitive with them. I honestly wanted them to do well and I was happy for them. The long races like a half marathon or marathon, I feel more competitive with myself than with my fellow runners. Long races can be so demoralizing, so staying positive for yourself is important. The nature of the race made me feel incredibly happy. Plus, I totally crushed my personal goal. It was a truly wonderful experience.
Throughout all of the training I’d like to say thank you to a few key people:
- Husband. Husband deserves as much credit as I do for the race. He was always encouraging and took care of Ben during my long runs. He was a cheerleader on the course and he always encourages my running. I really could not have done it without him.
- My running buddies. Big shout-out to my running buddies. They were an invaluable resource of encouragement and kvetching when running was not going as well as I wanted.
- The ridiculous hills that the cross-country team practices on. The hills we attack at practice allowed me to crush my competition on the bridges over the Severn River. Women who were ahead of me going into the hills were behind me at the bottom of the hills. Thank you, rolling terrain of the DMV.
- Ben. For being generally awesome and allowing me to push him in the jogging stroller for training runs.