Thursday, December 3, 2015

When you just run instead of race.

Week 10

11/23: Rest
11/24: 4 miles 
11/25: xt. Gym time w the kids 
11/26: 4 miles, strength
11/27: Rest
11/28: 2 miles, strength 
11/29: Race. 13.1

Well. It's over. Seattle Half Marathon 2015 has come and gone. I can't say I'm sad it's over, but I'm certainly glad I did it. 

Two years ago, this race humbled me. I had trained hard but not the right way, and the hills at the end ate me alive. So last year, I was determined to conquer the course. I trained hard, followed my plan, and met my 2 hour time goal. 

I have this habit. I have a solid winter running season, and then I start to fall away from running around the spring time. I lose my momentum, run junk miles during the warm months, and then find myself starting almost new around fall.

It happens every year, and this year was no exception. Even with Rainier to Ruston and Ragnar, I was not consistent in my running. This year, I postponed my training until later in September which only gave me 10 weeks instead of 12. 

Immediately I knew that I would not be mentally ready to hit 2 hrs again, let alone sub 2. I trained when I could, incorporating more weights and cross training. I was stronger in some ways but definitely not faster.  My long runs were decent, but my speed work and hills were lacking. The week leading up the race, I had a moment of clarify and realism. I wasn't going to blow this race out of the water. And decided, that it would be alright. 

During my last 13 miler, I had an epiphany. Despite pounding the pavement for 2 hours in the pouring rain, I ended the run smiling. I didn't push myself to the point of pain, but ran comfortably. It's funny how running can make you feel so weak, and yet so strong. After four years of calling myself a runner, I can finally say that I understand. It's not about getting faster or stronger (although, who doesn't want that) but it's like art/sport imitating life-  isn't it all about learning to enjoy the journey? 

I had friends who trained for this race along with me, and it was nice I have someone to commiserate with on long runs, sore muscles, cold hands. I had running buddies who patiently listened to my daily ramblings about miles and weights and the snoring man on the train. I had a supportive husband and kids who yawned and turned over in bed when my alarm would blare at 4:00 every morning. Little volunteers who would massage my legs during evening story time. 

This race, this training - it wasn't all about me. They say it takes a village to raise a child but it is the very same village who makes life possible. Sure; I could have done this all on my own; but at what expense, and at what enjoyment?

So. Sunday. I covered my watch with my shirt sleeve, and just ran my feel. I had one of my favorites volunteer to wake up early, wait in the frigid cold to meet me at mile 8, and run to the finish with me. Please let it be known that this is the only way I will ever be able to cross a finish line with Miss Sam. #speedywhitehairedrunner

J, who has run this race with me the two years prior, opted this year to be my cheering squad. He stood next to me at the start, held my puffy coat, and snapped a couple of pictures. He tracked me using an app, and knew when I was rounding to the finish,  and took video of myself and Sam running down the finish shoot. I was a little surprised when I saw the time on the clock (almost 8 min slower than last year) but I was happy to finish to my buddy by my side, and have that medal placed around my neck. 

This time, pace meant nothing.

Running, it meant everything. 

Thank you to everyone in my life who keeps these legs moving, the wheels of life turning, and my heart so very full. 

*best parts of this picture - matching strides, with gloves/hat in hand, and I'm apparently I'm enjoying myself so much I'm whistling through the finish line.

*My sherpa, with my puffy coat in hand. XOXO