A TALE OF TWO RACES
BIG SHOUT OUT TO THESE FELLOW RUNNERS:
(If you’re a blog reader and I know you and I didn’t mention you I’m sorry!!)
Bill Brinkerhoff – training for the Ann Arbor Marathon with a 1/2
Chris Lawrence ~ 1st ever 1/2 marathon
David Martel – 5k – Getting back into the groove
Jeff Morris – 5k- Getting back into the groove
Jennifer Olmstead – her millionth 1/2, and proving once again what a beast she is
John Schaefer – 1st ever 1/2 marathon
Kathy Sample – training for the Ann Arbor Marathon 1/2 with a 1/2
Erin Snyder – 1st ever 10k
OK, now for my story.
Once upon a time there was a middle-aged woman who decided she should take up running. Prior to this point in her life she HATED running. From time to time she tried to make running a part of her fitness regime. All attempts ended in failure. She rationalized these failed attempts with thoughts like:
“I’m just not made to run.”
“Runners have long lean bodies – you do not – no wonder you don’t enjoy running.”
“My knees just won’t withstand the pounding. I mean there are some knees that are made to run. Mine are not.”
…….and then the best of them all:
“People that run long distances are just a bit crazy. You are not crazy, therefore you do not like to run.”
Then one day I changed my mind. I decided I was that crazy. We’re all a little crazy aren’t we? And runners, well, they just push the envelope. I have learned to embrace the craziness of running as it has helped me overcome all of those other excuses. My knees are fine. My body is far from long but it is getting leaner and leaner and you know what? I AM made to run. Aside from those with physical disabilities, we all are made to run.
365 days ago I completed my first half marathon. Today I completed my third. Today I ran the 39th annual Dexter-Ann Arbor Half Marathon. 1st and 3rd. Night and Day. Completely and totally different races for me yet both of them left me with a feeling of sheer joy and accomplishment.
Rewind to last year. The farthest I had ever run before race day was 12 miles. I ran 12 miles once in that training cycle and didn’t particularly enjoy it. Race day came. I had a vague goal of trying to run 13.1 in about 2 hours. I was nervous and excited and just wanted to get the show on the road. It was hot and humid but not unbearable. Through mile 6 I was just fine. I started to struggle a bit between 6 and 8 and then tanked from 8-13. It was hard physically and mentally. I think I walked 5 different times (and it wasn’t even on the hills!!) It felt miserable and I just wanted to be done. I finished in 2:04:15. Not too far away from my vague goal so for that I was happy. My first 2 thoughts after I crossed the finish line were:
1. Oh, Thank God that is over!
2. Who in their right mind would ever run twice that distance in one single race? Not me! Not in a million years.
Fast forward one
million years year.
This training cycle has had me running 20 mile long runs 5 times, sprinting around a track to the point where I’m not sure I can breathe, and running 6, 8, and 11 mile tempo runs with The Stubs in full protest. I didn’t always enjoy the workouts while I was completing them but I always felt a huge sense of accomplishment after. I knew that I was working toward a goal and each workout was getting me there one small step at a time.
Race day came. My goal was to use the race as a training run and to figure out how I was going to handle the water stops. The goal pace for the run was to be 9:44 translating to a 2:06 finish time. Slower than last year but there was a good reason. I was never nervous before the start just a little excited. I had nothing to be nervous about. I wasn’t racing I was just going to run. So I ran. And I felt great. I had to talk myself out of attempting a PR on 3 different occasions. The only time I walked was through the water stops so I didn’t choke. Otherwise, I never even thought about walking. In fact, the whole run felt easy both physically and mentally. I finished in 2:04:20. Very familiar number and 2 minutes faster than goal time. My first two thoughts after I crossed the finish line were:
1. Dang, that’s it? It’s over already?
2. Hmmm. I think I could turn around and run the 13.1 back to Dexter without too much protest from The Stubs.
So there you have it. A Tale of Two Races. One year apart. Same course. Very different runner. And yes, that runner is a little crazy.