The Experience of a Lifetime Contemplated part 1 Getting to the Starting Line
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I had to laugh when I woke up the morning after my first half marathon. I did see it coming, or rather FEEL it coming the night before. EVERY inch of my entire legs hurt! It was a wonderful pain. An I DID IT kind of pain. I spent the day Monday laughing for joy at the silliness of such pain and the victory of completing a goal I have ALWAYS thought unattainable. I heard it said that most people will never even stand at the START line of a half marathon and that the effort I made to get myself even to THAT point was admirable.
As I stood in the shower the day before it hit me. It isn't about today, I thought. It's about all the days leading up to this one. Last April i started out on the treadmill with a 10 minute warm up, 10 minutes of running and a 10 minute cool down. I figured if I added a minute or two in the middle each time it might get me somewhere. And so I moved on up to running 12 minutes, then 15, eventually 20 minutes. At that point I had started my nine mile hike/runs and over the months gradually added more running. In September I did a full iron man distance challenge at my gym over the course of two weeks. Twentyfour miles of running, 112 miles biking and 112 laps in the pool. Little did I realized all my workouts were adding up. I started doing three miles twice a week with a neighbor before we started our busy Tuesday/Thursday routines and added a fun hilly 5 mile on Wednesdays. That made twenty miles a week.
In early October my running buddy sprung it on me. She told me I was ready to run a half marathon. The one that was going to be on November 7 in our own home town. You know how it is when you first think about doing something outrageous. Who, me? Next month? No way! I was reminded of my response when I considered doing my first sprint triathlon. Ha ha ha ha ha. I thought it was impossible. I'm not young, people. I'm 48 years old. I did a sprint triathlon in the spring of 2006 and 2007.
It wasn't long before I was on board with the plan and full into training both mind and body. There were a few hurdles I foresaw. Looking at the calendar and being female made me think that the, uh hum, time of the month, may not be ideal. Rain was in the forecast. My new shoes needed to be broken in. What if any or all of these things ruined my day? I realized that if I was going to sign up for the challenge I was going to commit myself to crossing that finish line NO MATTER WHAT. I would hobble across if I had to. I'd carry an umbrella. Make potty stops. What ever it took I would do it.
The weekend before I spent prepping myself. Tapering my workouts gave me time to sit around. I iced my calves and ate pasta. And ate pasta. I figured if one night of carbo loading was good for you then two might be better. So, after a long weekend of sitting around eating and resting the day came. I set out everything the night before, carefully planning what I was going to bring. Shaved, clipped my toenails, tried my outfit on and put my pacing tattoo on. My dear husband carefully fixed my phone to be sure it would be set right since it was daylight savings time. Didn't work and instead of being up by 5 and out the door by 6 I was up by 4. It actually worked great for me because I had lots of time to eat a bit of oatmeal and some banana. I even took a shower which was an unplanned treat.
Making it to the starting line was painless that morning since it is about the closest thing to my house but we drove and got a spot really close. Since rain was threatening we sat in the car, pinned our bib numbers on and prayed. We thanked God for the unusual blessing of our new friendship and equal partnership in running style, schedules, health, goals etc... Everything that makes us work together so well as a team and everything that got us to the line that morning. We got out, arranged our things, headed for the porta potties and found our place in the line. I was aiming for 3 hours but Running Buddy thought we could do it in 2:45 so that is the group we got into line with. The last thing I remember before we headed out was that it wasn't raining.