Yesterday I ran my 8th half marathon. I think it is the perfect distance for several reasons: you have to plan and train for it, it's not too hard on your body, and it is a big accomplishment if you finish. This race was the Boulder Half Marathon and they really do it right. It is well organized and limited in size and they have the BEST giveaways. When I got home I told my husband I finished in 2 hours and 17 minutes and he asked me, "What do you think about the whole time?" Well, here goes:
Mile 1 - In races, they usually have you line up based on your average time per mile. I average about 10.5 or 11 minutes per mile. They do this so the slower runners stay out of the way of the faster runners and I always comply. Well, this time I don't. I line up closer to the front. Turns out that everyone must already do this. I am clearly in the right group, as I don't have to run around people or run behind much slower people until I can find a way around or try to get a good pace going while zig zagging. Lesson learned.
Mile 2 - To the left are the foothills, to the right is the smooth, mirror-like reservoir with several hot air balloons taking off above it. It is brisk and sunny. I am running on a dirt road in one of the most beautiful settings and I appreciate it.
Mile 3 - As I am topping a hill in the beginning of mile 3, I hear my friend Megan yell, "Way to go, Betsy". Thanks, I needed that!
Mile 4 - This is where I pass by my friend Mike's house. Last year he made me a sign, a HUGE sign, that said Go Betsy. By far, the highlight of my running career. I didn't let him know I was running this race again, so I don't have a sign. But, the funny thing is, that exuberant feeling I got last year when I saw it? Is there.
Mile 5 - I recently took a public speaking training and the beginning of the session was focused on how your body reacts to the adrenaline: the increased heart rate, shortness of breath, ,shaky voice. Well, my body reacts in a similar way when running a race and I find myself fighting with my lungs to cooperate. Mile 5 is about the time I find myself in a great pace with regular, smooth breathing. Breath in, 3 steps, breath out, 3 steps... ahh.
Mile 6 - This is an out and back race, so we turn around. It's all downhill from here. Well, not literally. I do live in Boulder, you know.
Mile 7 - When you get a group of friends together to go out, there is always that friend that wants to go home before the others. Well, if my body is that group of friends, then my left hip is that person.
Mile 8 - Getting tired, my mind starts to wander. I wonder if that skinny girl in the short skirt knows how much cellulite she has? I will never wear a short skirt to run. I have that same shirt, hello guy that ran the Horsetooth Half Marathon. Hey, is that Keith Richards? Wow, look at that girl's gait... I hope I don't look like that when I run. That lady must be 65 years old... I hope I can still do this when I'm 65.
Mile 9 - Running by Mike's house again. I kind of need to pee. I wonder if I can stop? Maybe I don't need to pee and I just want to stop. Don't. Stop. You'll never get going again. I don't stop.
Mile 10 - Blisters and burping. I bought new running shoes for this run and training. They have been with me for about 2 months of long Sunday runs. My last long run resulted in a big blister on my left foot. And it's back. And it hurts. Also, I only drink water through a race until the last aid station where I grab a Gatorade. I accidentally grabbed a Gatorade at about Mile 5 and I'm reminded why I only drink water. Gatorade burps are gross. Water burps are slightly less gross.
Mile 11 - It's getting close to the end, so what does my Type A personality want to do? Feel for my keys in my pocket. Remember where I parked. Look at what time it is and figure out when I'll be home. Think about what all I need to do today. Plan out the rest of my day so I can get it all done.
Mile 12 - This is where my boot camp mentality starts kicking in. 2 more miles! You run 2 miles in your sleep. Can you run faster? Then do it! Leave everything out here on the road! Leave it HERE! Don't get to the end and wish you had worked harder! This is what you've been training for! It's just your body, you will feel fine in a few hours! Freakin' GO!
Mile 13 - Just a little further. I can see the finish line. It won't be my fastest time, but it will be my second fastest. I am about to complete something that statistics show 98% of the population will never do. I set this goal. I worked for it. And I'm about to finish it. And I OWN it. It is my body and my preparation and my hard work and my desire and my heart that created this. I feel this pride and happiness and excitement every time I finish. And that is why I run like a girl...