Monday, February 25, 2013


Yesterday was my half-marathon, and I survived it. Officially, I finished in 2 hours, 53 minutes, and 50.52 seconds. I was kind of surprised at the emotions as I ran this race--trepidation at the beginning, and the realization that I hadn't started far enough back in the pack (the race organizers asked for fast runners up front); resignation that a lot of people would be passing me; surprise that hundreds of feet running sounds just like rain falling on the roof; laughter at some of the signs of spectators (the best was "Worst. Parade. Ever."); wonder at the goofy costumes worn by the volunteers at the water stations; joy at seeing my niece and the Dig-Dog cheering my on near the finish line; and tears at the end of the race.

This isn't a great picture, but it shows me at home with my medal before I went to go take a bath.  I was tired, but happy!

If it weren't for the fact that I would have looked silly, I probably would have started bawling when the volunteer gave me my medal for finishing--between the fact that there were several photographers there and my stifling the urge, I was able to keep it together, barely. Then the moment passed, and I was ok--achy, but ok.  I still ache a little bit today, but not so bad that I can't get out of bed.  Instead, I feel like one does when the day before was a particularly strenuous workout--you can feel every muscle that was stretched, but it is a good ache, not a bad one.  I'm actually surprised at the fact that my back and shoulders were used yesterday.  My Niece took some video of me running the last 1/4 mile, but the quality isn't that good, since she was using her phone and running with me.

I need one of these buttons. 

I also feel quite a bit of accomplishment and relief, although I know that I'm going to need to do much more training in order to finish a full marathon.  For the first time in my life, I'm sorely tempted to buy a bumper sticker to show the world that I did a half-marathon!
They have ones like this at Up and Running, the local running store.

Of course, that means that I will need to get one like this after I finish my marathon in October...
Yup,  I'm going to be even more proud when I finish my marathon.

In the mean time, I'm already planning on running a 10K on my birthday as a birthday present to me, and would like to invite anyone that wants to, to join me (this isn't that far--only 6.2 miles!).  I also want to run at least one more half-marathon before the marathon in October, probably in June/July.  I'm limiting myself to no more than one race a month, but like the way that running the races helps me to gauge how I am progressing.  Even so, unless I am actively training for a race, I plan to switch from long runs on weekends to hiking again, especially since the weather is getting so beautiful.

The last time I went hiking, I realized that I am using some different muscles while hiking, so if I don't start doing so regularly, I may have some issues on my Camino.  Dig-Dog loves it whether we go running or hiking, so she is indifferent to the change, and I still have yet to conquer the Smuggler's pass trail completely.  I know that it ends someplace in McKelligon Canyon, but haven't actually gotten over the mountain range yet.  Part of it is that one point in the trail is a 2 in. chain bolted to the rock, so it isn't something Dig-Dog can conquer, and I feel guilty not taking her--she whines terribly, as she recognizes my hiking/running gear, and then is crestfallen when I leave without her.  According to my niece, she continues to whine long after I leave from the few times I've left her at home.  One of these days, I'm going to video her shenanigans before we go hiking/running, then put it to music--it is much like a choreographed dance!

Dig-Dog after a run--the poor thing is pooped!
The thing about these long distance races is that I'm not worried that anyone is going to beat me--I'm old and I'm still overweight, so there will always be others before me.  I'm just wanting to beat myself, and that is a bit of a first for me.  I'm normally very competitive, and, truthfully, I love winning.  But just having finished my half-marathon puts me in a group of people that I never thought I would join the ranks of--that of an amateur athlete. I will probably never have the speed of an Olympian, but it still amazes me that I have been able to do these races and not be last; that I can strive to be better--in practicing, I have been able to shave minutes off of my 5k time (from 42 minutes for my 1st 5K to a little over 35 minutes at my second).  I'm at a place where it feels weird to NOT exercise, rather than the opposite.

One of my favorite shirts at the running store has the following on the back of it:

Dear God,
Please let there be somebody behind me to read this.
I was tempted to buy it to wear to the race yesterday, but I decided against it....maybe for my marathon, but I hope to get to the place where I am running a 10-11 minute mile consistently before then, and If I can do that, I don't have to worry about being last.  Besides, I don't run to compete against anyone but myself...Even if I came in dead last yesterday, I still would have finished, and that says something about who I am and who I want to be.
Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
As I get older, these verses in I Corinthians 9 remind me that, even as scripture alludes to races where there is a clear winner and loser, we each have a chance at the Prize God has for us--we aren't racing against others, but against ourselves.  Our foibles, our character flaws, our laziness, our discipline.  And research shows that, when we get more disciplined in one area of our lives, others tend to follow.  Here is hoping that all of us are running so as to win the prize.