Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We're All Winners!

Well. Who would have thought? A little over a week ago, I finished a half marathon--me, the nonathlete, the one always picked last for every PE team, the one who hates exercise. Go, me.

But this post isn't about the Triumph of It All. This is about Why I'm Not Doing It Again. Next year, when my co-workers try to persuade me to register, I shall read this post and remind myself, "Self, you do not want to do that again. Once was plenty."

The worst of it was the training. For me, short runs are fine; longer runs of 7 or 8 or 9 miles are awful. They're so tiring, it takes away half my day--and on busy weekends, I can't easily spare a half day. Then there's the guilt during the week when I miss a lunchtime run (or two) and the worry that I'll suffer for the lack of preparation . . . ugh. I'd rather just pull on my shoes and head out on a nice day for the fun of it, and feel good afterward instead of feeling like my hips are falling off (or wishing they would).

The start of the race was a pain--I was jostled and pushed and shoved and completely irritated by the end of the first mile. For a while I ran with my elbows out, half hoping to catch someone's teeth as they pushed past without so much as an "on your left."

The race itself went much faster than I'd expected. The previous weekend's 10-mile training slog felt soooo slooooww, and at the end of it I wondered how in the world I'd ever do another three miles on top of it. But during the race there was so much to see that time just slipped by. I saw GrandBob and the girls at mile 4--Special was up on his shoulders and I spotted them in plenty of time to cross to their side of the road and give out high fives. I knew I'd see them with Batman at mile 7, and that kept me trucking along for the next three miles. After mile 7 I REALLY needed a port-a-potty, and during the two miles that it took to find one I was afraid to walk. (I REALLLLYYY needed that port-a-potty.)

After my little break, I knew Batman and company would be at mile 10, and I was so anxious to see them that I only walked once, up a steep hill for about 30-40 seconds to give my hips a break. Batman was so shocked to see me at mile 10; I don't think he expected me to be as (relatively) fast as I was. Then before I knew it I was at mile 11, and when I looked at my watch and did the math and realized I could finish in under 2-1/2 hours, well--there was no stopping. There was also no speeding up; I tried that and immediately slowed back down to my regular pace. But when the finish line came into view, I grinned and gunned it and finished in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 14 seconds. Approximately.

And then I died. Well, not right away--I ate a banana and some trail mix and got my medal (not a half medal! a whole one!) and my t-shirt, and texted Batman and called GrandBob and found him and the girls; GrandBob took me home and I put on my most comfortable clothes and sat down, and THEN I died. My legs! My hips! My abs! My feet! Everything hurt and ached and there may have been some whining. It took a couple of days for the limping to go away.

I'm glad that I did it--so, so glad. For me, it was a huge accomplishment and one I never expected to even try. But I've done it, and I didn't embarrass myself, and now it's time to try something different. Perhaps competitive 5Ks. I think I can do well for my age group!


Angie said...

WAY TO GO LEIGH!!! I so proud of your accomplishment!

Anonymous said...

your momma reads your blog!! am proud of you in so many ways, not the least of which is training for this run. you are such a good example to your girls.