It’s been so long since I last posted….I guess I was feeling a bit uninspired and bored with the blog but I just had to write about my race on Sunday. It wasn't a spectacular time and it wasn't the best run I've ever run but I it was a great experience and I’m so glad I ending up going to run it. If you don't have the whole day to read about it, the title of this post is pretty much what it is about.
I went to bed on Saturday feeling really bummed with myself for not training for this race and honestly, the ONLY reason I woke up at 4:30 am on race day was because I paid for the race already. I didn't want to run, and I REALLY didn't want to run 13 miles. Knowing it was coming up and knowing I’m too cheap to not toe the line on a race I paid for, I gave up real training for running it and started a walk/run training plan with the goal to just finish it. I told my family and friends to not come as I was too embarrassed as to what my time would be and they’d be waiting forever for me to cross the finish line. Even as I waited for my corral to line up, I continued to be grumpy…I was cold, I was tired, I needed to pee, I wanted to throw up, everyone else had cuter running clothes than me, I wanted to be back in bed.
And then something magical happened… once the national anthem was sung and I started running, my bad attitude just melted away. I love running. I love how it challenges me, I love other runners, I love how I feel when I’m finished. Matt can attest to my attitude fluctuations on days/weeks I don’t and days I do. It’s therapeutic and I NEED those minutes/miles/hours, really just time in general to sweat, think, and reflect on life. It’s a selfish sport but I solemnly swear that the time I spend running is selfish time that turns me into a different person.
It’s like a shower. You shower to make yourself clean, look nicer, and while that is selfish, your friends and family benefit from you not stinking up their life. Win win. Running is a great sport and I am thrilled when someone I love starts to love it too.
The thoughts of a runner who didn’t want to run.
There are so many adorable running outfits.
I want new running clothes.
The spectators were amazing, the signs were so funny in mile one. People are dressed up in costumes and I love that. Runners that wear tutus just kill me. I hate getting beat by a runner in a tutu. And it happens.
Every. Single. Race.
I’m wearing a freaking tutu next time.
I start getting strangely emotional. Things are making me cry. I run by a nativity scene in Downtown St. Pete.
Oh, how He loves us.
Mile Two- More emotions. The spectators are way more encouraging than I’ve ever seen. An older gentleman that looks like a runner is standing by himself giving advice and using our names (they were on our bibs). He was pumped to be out there cheering for women he didn’t know at 7am on a cold and windy Sunday morning. I saw two dead squirrels. And I sure cried for them.
Mile Three- There is a girl running in front of me with a shirt that says she is running in memory of her dad and it gave his birth date and the day he passed away. Using my exceptional math skills I realize he died five days ago. I wept for this girl. Around this time I put on my sunglasses even though there was no sun and it was still dark outside. I’m an ugly crier.
And I am so thankful for my Dad.
Mile Four- The dogs. Oh how much I’m realizing that I am a dog person. I am the dog person I used to make fun of, those that love every single dog alive. I am that girl and there were so many dogs. I want to spectate a race with Luke so I can give other dog people that run the same joy those spectators and their pups gave me yesterday. I didn’t cry this time, I just smiled. So big.
Mile Five- Seeing how the race was in St. Pete, we ran by quite a few retirement homes. In front of one was a group of older folks that had set up a table with Dixie cups full of water and were cheering for runners. A block down the road were two elderly men in wheel chairs handing out water bottles. Yup, tears.
Mile 6- At mile 6 a younger guy in a wheel chair was screaming for us. Like super super pumped about cheering for us. He was waving a sign that said, “run while you can!”. I may have cried.
Miles 7-10- The miles were just ticking off until mile 10. I may not have been flying by but the time sure was. I thought about the pumpkin bars I'm bringing for Thanksgiving and the thought of Luke eating them while we drove to Tallahassee in the car plagued me for about a half mile. Mile 10 was a turning point for me. I did a little self-assessment and knew I was hardly tired, I felt fine, and that seemed like evidence that I needed to give a little more energy because this was a race and I was just floating through it. If you have time to think about what you are making for Thanksgiving and the idea that your dog might eat it on the way over, you probably aren't trying hard enough. I had a long drive back to Tampa and I didn't want to spend the time thinking about how much I cried through a race.
I also see that there are lots of men that I've seen along the race course on bikes toting those little carts behind with their kids. I imagine that they are going from point to point on the course to find their mom and cheer her on. Crying.
I also passed the St. Pete Taco Bus which apparently smells like tacos even when it is not open. There is hardly anything more motivating than the smell of food when you are running. Get me a taco. It HAS to be from Taco Bus.
Mile 11- Around this time I had to restart my music playlist because I’d run too slow to finish by the time it did. I planned a great mix too so I didn't mind listening twice. Part of the mix included songs I liked in college. It was fun to have songs bring you back to a time and reflect on how you changed.
And how you haven’t.
But how you should.
Mile 12- I am pretty sure I started sprinting at this point, at least it felt like a sprint. I wanted to finish exhausted and I was still hardly out of breath. This is not a testament to what a great runner or athlete I am but instead, how slow I run. So slow. In college I ran with my friend Kara almost everyday and her sister would come with us and walk beside us.
That brand of slow.
I got so excited realizing I was going to finish that I called Matt around mile 12 to tell him. He wasn't up yet so I left a surely ridiculous sounding voicemail telling him how proud he should be. Humble city over here. It was probably funny for people watching runners in a race and one was on her cell phone.
Mile 13- All out sprint (again, let’s keep “sprint” in context). I passed lots of girls which never happens and is surely proof that barely jogging the 10 miles before enabled me to expend all of my energy on the last mile. I saw my friends Whitney and Ben when I turned the corner to the finish line and my heart literally jumped. Familiar faces are so energizing! I ran my first half marathon with Whitney (ran “with” is not literal as she is Speedy Gonzalez and I am a tortoise but we drove together to the race). I wished I’d told Matt to come because he wouldn't have had to wait as long as I’d thought.
Sidenote: Whitney finished 29th overall and she had the stomach flu. Seriously.
Done! I never had to walk, I felt good, and I was about 10 minutes shy of my personal record (which is about an hour shy of what I deserved to finish in). The weather really helped as the sun never made much of an appearance. I had Gatorade twice from aid stations but started burping it up and got grossed out so just got water at every other station instead. I started eating one date per mile around mile 5 which was probably the grossest thing anyone running around me had ever seen. Dried dates look like roaches and add that to the fact that I refuse to buy a fuel belt and instead stick the baggie in my running shorts and I’m sure the whole process was vomit inducing. Oh and the dates stick to your teeth in a way that makes it seem that your teeth are rotting. But they are a whole food, not chock full of crazy chemicals (have you ever had a gel? Woof.) and I know dates won’t make my stomach revolt like other stuff can.
In addition to the other thoughts I've allowed the internet privy to, I remembered how thankful I am for how rich my life is. I forget a lot when comparing myself to others and that is so destructive to every single part of your life.
My next race is in December and a trail run, be still my heart. I am happiest surrounded by trees. Running while surrounded by trees is bliss. Running, while surrounded by trees, while the weather is cooler than the sauna I’m used to is just too much to handle.
Look for me in the red tutu.