13.1 and done.
Let’s just lay the facts out here… I started running, then developed tendinitis, then stopped running to heal, the started running again, then tendinitis came back, kept training, ran a 5k, then ran a 10k, then backed off of training due to ouchy-ouchy tendon for about 3 weeks prior to half marathon, then ran 13.1 miles at the Seattle Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon.
In the beginning, I wanted to run the half nonstop and get a good time. Throughout this process I discovered that what I thought would be the most difficult surely was not. My mental game is there, but my body didn’t quite follow. In fact, my mental game got in the way of the physical because I wouldn’t back down on my goal despite my body saying, “Girl, you totes cray-cray”. My end goal was to show up and do my best, whether that entailed waiving a white flag because I couldn’t take the pain, or crossing the finish line on hands and knees. I would have been more upset with myself for not showing up than showing up and not finishing.
So I showed up. And I promised myself to not push the pain to an extreme, to listen, and to, as that famous phrase goes, just do it. The longest run I’d completed to date was 6.2 miles. I’d ran 6 miles three times. Two were great, and one was not. 6.2 isn’t even half of 13.1, but it’s a good foundation. I reached the 5k mark and felt strong. I felt really strong at the 10k mark, too. I hit 7 miles with a huge smile. I championed positive thinking the entire time. “Becca, this is the longest you’ve ever run. 7 miles and you’re loving it.”
…and I’ve been sitting on this last post for a good 4 months. Maybe I should just post it?
7 miles to the final 13.1 was amazing. My hips ended up getting really tight the last couple miles. Had I trained more, this would not have happened. Instead of crossing the finish line in a beautiful stride, I felt like I was knotted and forcing my body a bit. As soon as I came around the corner and saw the clock, well… let’s just say I had to choke back tears. I crossed the finish with my hands in the air, a smile on my face, and some tears welling up in my eyes. A proud moment indeed. My only criticism of the race is that they throw a medal at you and ask you to smile for a picture literally 10 seconds after crossing the finish line. They corral you down shoots like cows — not awesome.
I walked to the meeting place the girls and I had agreed on. The minute we saw each other I burst into tears. Happy tears, mind you. Very happy. I told Chels and Mon that I didn’t stop once, I ran the entire race. CHAMPION! Chelsea had finished about 20 minutes before me. Alia, one of my little sister’s best friends from childhood, had carpooled with us and came to the meet-up point. She finished 15 or so before Chelsea. Basically, Alia is an uber-champion. My dear friend Joe met me at the finish with a camera and tallboy of Rainier in hand. He knows me so well. It was an incredible moment with some of my closest friends. What an experience. I hope I don’t forget it.
It’s December 3rd today. I gave myself a break from running. By break, I mean that I ran twice since the 1/2 marathon. Once was with Chelsea, and I almost threw up twice at the end of the run. The second time was for a dualthlon, which I ended up walking part of the 5k. Yeah, not a shining moment. This amazing thing happened, though: I didn’t feel as bad about stopping because I knew I had ran 13.1 miles without stopping. It’s not that I couldn’t; in that very moment, walking was going to be a better option and I didn’t need to feel bad about it. So, clearly I’ve learned to be a bit easier on myself.
Chels and I made a vow to run MWF. The first week, we made MF happen. We do about 3 miles around Greenlake. Slow as turtles aka my pace. And it works. There’s no rush or clock-watching. I don’t use the Nike watch. I don’t feel the need to push myself. I just take it easy and run. Well, jog. I basically jog. And I’m alright with that.
I decided to run a half-marathon in order to gain mental control and push myself. What I’ve learned over the past few months of therapy (yeah, maybe getting a therapist is healthier that forcing oneself to run a half-marathon) is that I need to allow myself grace and patience. I am so glad I ran and accomplished this goal. I am so glad that I feel capable of doing something I never thought I could do. It feels bittersweet that my mind was wrapped up in being its own drill sergeant in order to force change instead of being more supportive and open. If I ever decide to run long races again, you can bet I’ll be more supportive of myself instead of making a goal to bend my will, as if that wasn’t something already lacking. Huge life lessons learned, folks. Huge. 13.1 miles of them.