One month ago (sheesh), in the thick of the training for my first half marathon, I ran the Soldier Field 10 Miler with Anne. And it felt AMAZING! The best run of my career!
|Before the race with Team Awesome:|
Anne, Me and Amee
|Obviously not hating seeing myself on the Jumbotron|
I looked up into the stands, and of course didn't recognize anyone. I just walked off the field. I was high on my accomplishment, and bummed to have reached it alone. Sure, Anne would be there in a few minutes, and her husband finished long before us, and our friend Amee was there somewhere, too, but in the moment, I was alone. A soldier named Sherman put my medal around my neck, I jammed out with a 312 to some Soul Asylum, and headed home - feeling pretty good.
|With my first real medal|
My half marathon was a mere two weeks away. So I did what every
Fast forward to race day. Natalie and her husband showed up bright and early, and B drove us down to the South Shore Cultural Center. The weather was PERFECT - partly cloudy, a little cool (like mid 50s - only reaching about 65 by the end of the race). Gorgeous. B had NEVER come and supported me at a race, so I was beyond thrilled to have him there.
|With the sign H made for me|
I don't set goals, well, other than to not finish last, but Nat and I both said that our only goal was to finish without walking, and I secretly had the time of 2 hours and 30 minutes in my head as a not-really-a-goal-but-it-would-be-nice. We corralled up (is that a word?) and the race began.
|Might I note that race photographers love matching outfits|
We were quick. Really quick. Natalie and I were talking and enjoying the gorgeous weather and scenery. Our first 4 or 5 miles were each between 9:30 and 10:30. Looking back, I know it was TOO FAST. I could hear Anne's voice in my ears talking about negative splits, but instead I was just enjoying the time with my best friend of 27 years.
|Hmmm...only one of us looks like we're enjoying this|
Enjoying. I just said I was enjoying it. I NEVER thought I'd ever say this about running - let alone running 13.1 miles. And then mile 9 passed. And we both decided that we'd do better if we'd stop and use the bathroom. So we did. And I really think this is where I just completely lost my momentum. We continued running. Then mile 11 hit - right around an overpass that felt like a mountain. And it was hard. I told Natalie I was going to walk and she told me I was going to do no such thing - that we'd just slow down. But the mind games I was playing with myself began to take over. I didn't want to quit or anything, but I was hurting. Badly. My legs were cashed. So I sent her off, promising that I wasn't done running, but I just needed a short walk break. I walked off and on from mile 11 to mile 12. And it was HARD. I felt defeated. I was mad at myself for walking. I was mad at myself for sending her ahead. I wanted to be at the finish line together. And then I saw the chute. Had I been paying attention to anything other than my own survival (alright, that's more than a little dramatic), I'd have realized that we still had like a half a mile to go. But that chute did it for me. I started RUNNING. And RUNNING. Some guy held out his medal to me and said, "You've got this Melanie! You're almost to your medal!" And I started to ugly cry. But stopped. There were going to be cameras at the finish, duh. And B. And Natalie and her husband. And darn it, I was too mad at myself and too proud of myself to cry.
|Finally crossing the finish line|
I finished, running as hard as I could in that moment. My official time 2:37:21. Only 7 minutes from my not-really-a-goal, and it included a bathroom break and some walking. Nothing to sneeze at, really. All along I said it was my first and last half marathon. But now, looking back, I don't know. While I've never been prouder of myself for accomplishing something so great, I also know in my heart of hearts that I didn't train as well as I could have, and I know I could have pushed myself past the mental bullshit, but I didn't. So maybe it won't be my last. Who knows? There's this half in Ft. Wayne in September that I'm kind of keeping my eye on. A hometown race might be kind of fun...
|And we're done|