On Sunday I finished my second half marathon. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I went from a 3:01:02 to a 2:54:22 finishing time. My entire body still aches from my head to my toes. But my soul is happy. I did something a year and a half ago I would have laughed at. Over the past past year I have pushed my body to run 5Ks faster, run 10ks and now 13.1 miles. I have run over bridges, through tunnels, in two different countries, on pavement and dirt, through trails and along rivers. I run in sweltering heat, sleet, snow, mud and perfect sunny days. I have taken myself from pre-hypertension to the very low end of normal.
When I crossed that finish line on Sunday I cried. I have never felt the urge to cry during or after a race before. At that moment something hit me, I had done it. I had spend hours cross training. Pounding the road. Forgetting fuel and failed at my long run. I was chased by dogs. I had good days and I had bad days. There were days I pushed my daughter in a stroller. Days I ran out the door as soon as Eric got in the house.
I signed up for the Detroit International Half Marathon on January 1, 2017 at a little after midnight. 10 months and 14 days later I completed it. These past 10 months I have learned a lot about running. I have learned new techniques, I have learned about gear and the most famous distance runners in the world. But, I have also gained a deeper love for something that makes me better physically and mentally. I have gained new friends, reconnected with old ones, found new support groups and new ways of dealing with stress. These are the things I will remember, cherish and use. Not the information. The lessons learned while out on the road are the important ones.
Now that I have checked the half marathon off my running bucket list, what are my plans? After a lot of thinking and debating I have decided to stick to shorter distances. During training, running became more of an obligation versus something I wanted to do. With a crazy work schedule and a toddler and no treadmill, that made training hard. I simply didn’t have enough time to do it right. I want to get back to a place where I’m running more often but shorter distances. By shorter I mean 4-6 miles. I want to work on my cross training. I want to make myself stronger before I commit to anything longer than a 10K again.
Don’t worry, you will definitely see me on the road and at races. I might throw in a few longer runs here and there. But I’m going to go where my legs take me and do what feels good.