Tuesday, April 16, 2013

running the empire

I wrote this post yesterday and was scratching my head over what to title it when I saw the news about the explosions in Boston. My focus immediately shifted to that situation and everything else fell to the wayside. This morning I opened my computer and found this post sitting open in a Chrome tab. I debated posting anything because the day after a national tragedy is a sensitive time. People are on edge and we are quick to point fingers and call names. We want answers, not distractions. 

But my words have nothing controversial in them. And maybe you do need a distraction. Maybe you're like me and you feel compelled to sit and watch hours of news even though you know it's not healthy. Having something else to read and focus on, even if it's for 2 minutes, is good for you. After this, go outside. Pick up a book. Go grocery shopping. Play with your dog. Step away from the news for a little bit. Step away from the fights on Twitter and Facebook. 

Truly awful things happened yesterday but today, focus on the good. Let's all be kind and gentle to each other. 

I've started and restarted this post about six times. Yes, this month's race was just another half marathon but it was also so much more than that. This race was the start of traveling for my 12 in 12 plan and I felt immense pressure for it to go well to prove that all the time and expense of traveling this year was worth it. I'm a worrier by nature so I worried if I didn't PR I would find it hard to justify the rest of my travels. That jparks would be disappointed in me and guilt me into not going away again. That the whole trip would be money wasted and I wouldn't want to step foot on the plane to Portland in May.

Oh y'all. I invested all that worry into this trip and there was no reason for it. Going to NYC alone was awesome. I had the best time wandering around the city without having to worry that jparks would sprain his eyes rolling them as I slowly walked all nine floors of Saks. (9! A whole floor of the most beautiful shoes I've ever seen!) I could eat whatever I wanted even if that was cupcakes for dinner. 

The race itself worried me because the course was a loop through Central Park, repeated twice. I've never run a race that was like that and in my mind that second lap would be awful. I would know where I would struggle. I would know when the hard parts were coming. Worry worry worry. 

Surprise, that worry was pointless too. The second lap was fine. Totally, shockingly fine. I run the same route around my neighborhood all the time and knowing what's coming doesn't make my runs unbearable. The first lap passed much faster than I expected and the second was even easier. At least until I had to cross the start line for the third time at mile 12. 

For some reason crossing it the third time got into my head something fierce and I had to stop running. There was no reason why I couldn't run the last mile but my anger towards that start line slowed me to a walk. I walked about a quarter of a mile then finally managed to shake myself out of that funk and started running again. I so wish I had been stronger than that start line but I wasn't. Screw you start line. 

The only other complaint I have is that when I registered I must have underestimated my pace and I was slotted to start with the last group. I spent the first two miles weaving my way through the walkers and slower runners, trying to get to the pack of people moving at my pace. Lots of wasted energy there, but totally my fault. Hey self, you're faster than you think. Start owning that and race day will be much better. 

I finished in 2:23:18 which isn't my best time, but I'm happy with it. I enjoyed my trip, I enjoyed running with 7,550 other women, I enjoyed the sign that said "Keep Running! (Because I don't know CPR!)" and I enjoyed how supportive everyone was of each other. When Deena Kastor, who won the race with a 1:11:03 finish, passed me at mile 4.5 on her final lap (about her mile 10.5) we all clapped and cheered for her. It felt like no one got their medal and left the Park. Nope, people walked to various points along the route and cheered for us still out there trying. I've seen people do this at other races, but not this many people. It was really great.

Big thumbs up to the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Half. I would definitely run it again. Care to join me?