We Did It
I wake up at 3:15 from only getting about 2 and 1/2 hours of sleep. I go to the hall bathroom to get ready without disturbing L, who is sleeping (as anyone should at that time of night). I put on my running shirt, pants and lace up my running shoes, nervously double knotting the laces. A quick breakfast and I jump into my dad’s truck, which flies down the freeway, blissfully open and devoid of drivers at 4 am. We climb into the shuttle, listening to the stories of the runners around us.
“I’ve run 100 marathons, now I’m going for 100 halfs.”
“I’m trying for a marathon in every state. I’m up to 28, but Maryland is hard because they don’t host very many.”
We clamor off the shuttle and we’re thrust into a churning, excited, noisy crowd. Everyone stretching, lining up for a last minute session in the less-than-pleasant port-a-johns, teams in training eating breakfast on the go. It’s cold, really cold. My dad and I stand around, commenting on shoe styles, stretch techniques and just marveling at the sheer number of people who are running.
We head towards our corral but are still freezing. Warming up near a generator, we slowly regain feeling in our fingers and arms. In our corral we pass the time by remarking with other runner at how annoying the announcer is and wishing we were in a lower corral so could just run and not have to hear her harping. We’re at the front of the line and then we’re off, running. The first mile is hard. We’re cold, not ready to run. After the second mile, we get into a groove, pacing ourselves with others around us, taking walking breaks at the hills. Down to the freeway. How fun to run on a freeway and how quiet it is with no cars flying past. We’re doing great, alternating walking and running. People with posters are cheering us on. My dad sees about 3 people he knows as we run along the course.
At mile 10, we hit it. That wall. But it’s not a wall that makes us want to stop, to sit down and curl up and quit right there. It’s a wall that starts in our hips and travels down to the balls of our feet. We end up walking a lot. That’s ok though, we just want to finish. This is our first half, after all. We try to jog at short intervals but even that is excruciating. My dad keeps checking with me… we want to make it under 3 hours. It doesn’t sound that impressive but we didn’t really train for this.
We’re getting closer to the finish line but the last mile is deceiving. We can see the finish line but it’s still a mile away. We push for the end. Jogging, walking, jogging, walking. We’re at the last .1 mile and decide we’re going for it. We take off running, we can hear the announcer and see the photographers turned towards us. One last turn and there’s the finish line. I look over at my dad, he grabs my hand and we joyously cross the finish line. We did it. We did it in 2:58.20.
I didn’t talk about it with friends because I didn’t think I would actually do it. I didn’t think I could do it. But it was a great thing to experience with my dad. We don’t get a lot of time to just hang out together and this was fun. It actually WAS fun. I had a smile on my face almost the whole time. I felt strong and happy for the entire race.
Thanks Pop. I will always look back at yesterday with a great sense of accomplishment and love.