I am so...thankful. I participated in my 2nd half marathon on Sunday and what an experience. Amazingly I only wavered once prior to the race on not showing up...that was during traffic on the way there. It was horrendous. But I figured I was almost there, why not? I texted One Crazy Penguin to let her know what was up and where I would be.
So I arrive at the race venue at approximately 630am (after sitting in traffic for 35 mins) and decided to hit the john, or porta potty as it is so lovingly referred to, just in case. I soon realized that I hadn't had a number 2 for some time and prayed I wouldn't have to anytime soon. I was fearful. Who really wants to do that in the porta potty with 100's of folks waiting outside for their turn. Well, I didn't have a choice and I'm very thankful for those porta potties. and I'm very sorry to the person who entered after me.
After that I went to stand in line with the "15+" pace line. I was looking for "hot pink knee socks". I saw none. I soon realized I had forgotten to tell Tiina what I was wearing. The race started at 715am and the lines started to move. Still no hot pink knee socks. I crossed the start line at about 736. The first 2 miles were, how shall we put it, hell. So many walkers. I never knew there would be SO MANY WALKERS!! Now mind you, I don't mind walkers; I am a seasoned walker. But there were so many of them (excuse my grammer/puncuation-I've lost my English book) and boy were some fast walkers. I probably did not use my energy wisely the first two miles as I was jogging in and around walkers whose pace was not to my liking. It is no offense to them, I just need space. By mile 3 I had found a zone and was good with it. I would jog a lil, walk a lil and repeat. Over and over and over. This got me through the first five miles; until I realized that my lovely garmin was stating I had gone six miles, not five. WTF (later my pal stated that my strides are shorter than the average thus making it seem I went more miles).
By mile 8 I was beside myself with emotion. I can't even explain it. Although there were some wonderful spectators cheering us on (some even calling me by my name) I could hear individuals from my past saying mean things. I shed a few tears and said to myself "it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it only matters what I think. You're doing GREAT, you can do this." Then I started chanting (silently to myself) a silly lil cheer from grade school. "That's ok, it's alright, you can beat them anytime!" I have no idea why but it got me to mile nine and that's all that matters. Miles 9 to 11 were relatively uneventful. One foot in front of the other. Until I came to this one gal who was yelling at herself. There had already been some interesting folks doing this half marathon (like the old gals trying to get the truckers to honk their horns as were were crossing the bridge and the beauty queen with her hair done to a tee-poofy but to a t) but she took the cake. I've heard of tactics to keep yourself motivated but that scared me (sorry).
I finished the half marathon in 3 hr and 35 mins. 7 minutes faster than my previous half marathon. By myself, with no friend to use as a crutch. My legs are sore, very sore. Had I trained properly I could have done better. But I learned a vaulable lesson. I can jog without feeling like people are staring at me waiting for me to screw up. I was able to find a mental zone and keep going. Besides, I realize, who cares how I run as long as I run.
P.S. Tiina-I'm sorry we couldn't meet; we'll plan better for the next time! I'll be wearing the same outfit so you can find me!!