After months of training indoors to avoid the ice, snow, and extreme, polar temperatures, the day for my first half-marathon of the year dawned clear and sunny. The race starts and ends at a nearby park and runs right by my house. The full marathon started off at 7:15 a.m. and I put on some sweats and brought my coffee out to the sidewalk to watch the runners. The rangers came first on their mountain bikes chatting easily and laughing as they led the way.
Next came a lone runner, then two more, then a crowd of runners. Each one looked like a runner, long and lean. They didn’t even seem to be trying too hard. I compared that to the diversity of runners in even the half-marathon. Clearly there is a stepping-up in commitment and lifestyle between the marathoners and the rest of us.
My race started an hour and a half after the marathon, with the 5k and 10k in between. I left the house ten minutes before the race and walked down to the start. I was astonished to see the first marathoner, only slightly out of breath, in the sidelines. I later looked up his time and he’d run the marathon in 1:33. I couldn’t even wrap my head around that.
I found my place in the crowd just as the race started. At the one-mile mark, a young woman remarked, in astonishment, that it couldn’t be right, we couldn’t be at only the first mile. I suspect she finished the race ahead of me, but I’ll also bet I recovered faster. I really can do this distance, just not as fast as I’d like and not without training.
I had planned to distance train, lose weight, strength train, and improve my time significantly. I did do the distance training, but the rest didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, I’ve put on some weight, had little time for strength training, and my time was not my worst, but close to it. I had a lot of time to think during the race and mostly I thought that I needed to step back from half-marathons so that I could do the other things, then build back up again.
Later a friend and fellow runner asked me what my time was. She sighed, “so you didn’t get a better time”. No, I hadn’t. She understood my frustration exactly. I told her my plan for cutting back until I could build strength and lose weight. I had gone back into Spark People after a long hiatus and entered my stats: weight and measurements. I told her that I’d gained weight…then I said the upside was I was down an inch in waist and hips. Simultaneously it dawned on us both that I’d gained muscle and lost fat. So, all was not for naught!
All in all, it was a race I wanted to run and I ran it. I finished it and got my lovely, sparkly medal to remind me of my accomplishment. I learned lessons, as I usually do, and I have started to formulate my next game plan.
Find the Joy in the Journey…detours are ok too!