Hey guys! Hope that you’re doing well and that your Thursdays are going great. I’m actually, well I was going to say on a plane to my vacation, but I’m really likely just sitting in the airport right now *waiting* to get on my plane. Or maybe still driving there (I haven’t decided when I want to schedule this post). Hopefully I’m on my way and not still packing or anything aha. But I’m officially on vacation so it’s all good 🙂
Because I’m away I know that blogging myself (and sadly keeping wicked close tabs on you guys) isn’t likely. I’ll be having too much fun. So I’ve asked Amy (second city randomness) to do a guest post on her half-marathon experience (and throughout this weekend and next week I’m going to have friends fill in for me). She’s actually on vacay now too which makes her even MORE awesome for writing this for me. So stop by her blog too because she’s just that awesome.
I’ve always been somewhat of a runner. And have enjoyed it since high school when I risked my life by running on the side of some crazy curvy roads past my house (praying I wouldn’t get hit by the idiot out-of-towners whipping around the corner to get to the camp site past my house). Even in college my running would just consist of a couple miles here and there during my workout when I would wander aimlessly around the rec center trying to figure out what a good “workout” would consist of. Running didn’t become the main focus until 2009 when my cousin and I decided to go all-out with a 5k in April for our new years resolution. Only 29 1/2 minutes later and I was hooked. I wanted to do another one. Immediately. I’ve done 6 since last April and improved my time by over 5 1/2 minutes! (one of my prouder accomplishments)
I also dealt with my fair share of leg issues. Including a little stint on crutches I’m still not too happy about, undiagnosed leg pain before the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle, and some pains that I suspected would turn into shin splints if I wasn’t careful. Clearly, runners are all crazy. Yeah, I said it.
Either way, I persisted and started half marathon training in May. Last year this time, if you asked if I’d consider a half marathon, I would have laughed. And said, “well maybe I’ll do a 10k or something next year.” I did two 10k’s in July. Seems to be that I underestimated myself.
A lot of my friends also don’t get the “sport” of running. Or how I enjoy it. I could try to argue it’s all about conditioning and there is actually strategy involved, but there’s no point. Probably why I enjoy talking about it on here with you fine folks so much… And so what if they don’t understand? I finally found something I like to do that is mine and mine alone. My biggest competitor in running is myself. And I like the challenge. Because the me from four or five years ago (or even one year ago) didn’t think it was possible. The me from four or five years ago would have woken up at 6:30 in the morning and said “I’ve only been asleep for three hours? Damn… I need to get up and take some advil. I am going to be soooo worthless today. The boyfriend better take me to a drive thru.”
Who knew all I needed was a little kick in the butt?
“People can’t understand why a man runs. They don’t see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. For in running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability, with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions.” – Glenn Cunningham
So let’s talk about race day for the Rock n’ Roll Chicago Half… I was a little late getting into my corral, but I made it in time for the start (whew!).
With over 18,000 people running it, the start was crowded and bit hectic. Although it thinned out quickly and by mile 2 or 3, I was in my “happy pace”- somewhere around 8:40 and 8:45.
I honestly can’t tell you too much specifically about what was going through my head during the race. I got to a certain point where I completely zoned out. I didn’t even see my friends at Mile 6 until they were practically right in front of my face. But I looked up and there they were- so I shouted a happy shout of some decibel and it made me smile for a bit.
Here are a few things I do remember:
– People start to smell bad at around four or five miles. This really bugged me. Then I realized I probably smell just as bad. So I was ok with it. Because I’m no hypocrite.
– Watch where you run while going past water stops. Most people were really considerate about throwing cups to the side. But when you’re on the side, those cups are coming straight at you.
– I wonder where Guiliana Rancic is right now? I saw her earlier at the start… when does she actually run? What if she passes me? Would it be weird to try and strike up a conversation? Maybe they’re taping it and I could be on E!.
– I studied quite a few tattoos on the backs/arms of people I was behind. And wondered the story behind them.
– Ahhhh… once we were on the lakefront, the breeze was seriously CLUTCH.
– Ahhhh Gu. I hope they have Vanilla. I can’t do the fruity stuff… I can see myself hurling right then and there. Oh good- they have vanilla.
– My friends… where are my friends? I know they’re gonna be here around Mile 12… oh! There they are! (Seriously, at Mile 12 I was starting to drag, so seeing them jumping up and down and screaming got me to pick it up a lot for the last mile. For this I thank them!)
– My favorite sign along the race sidelines ended with “that’s what she said”. Yessssss.
– I have never been so excited to see a finish line in all my life (or the year and a half I’ve been doing official races- same thing).
I was smiling when I crossed the finish line. Because I wanted this SO BAD. I proved to myself that I’m a runner. And that I can do anything I set my mind to (Isn’t that the corniest thing ever? But so true!).
Running for me is a break from my day. It’s time that is mine and only mine. It’s something I do to make myself healthier and stronger as an independent woman taking care of herself. It’s something I’m good at and am constantly working at to improve. Running keeps me healthy both physically and mentally. I could not be happier that I found it. And can continue to enjoy it.
For all of you who run, why do you do it? And for those of you who want to start- just get out there and go! All it takes is a few small steps and a little will. It will take you a long way. Maybe even 13.1 miles if you feel like it. 🙂