Sunday, October 3, 2010

Half Marathon #1

this morning involved a few nerves, drippy sweat, a little pain and a whole 'lotta pride.
this morning i ran in the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon.

i registered back in april during an enthusiastic, emotional high after the completion of my first race ever (which was, ahem, only 5 miles) ... frankly, i thought i could conquer the world. also, back in april, october 3rd felt like light-years away. i had pleeeenty of time to train, right? 

uh, no. 
it wasn't light-years ... it was only five months ... it was only 150 days ... it was today. 

the weather was perfect for a race. sunny with a high of 63 -- are you kidding, st. louis? bless your nasty little humid heart! i got to the race venue at 6:15am, drank some water, ate a chocolate chip CLIF bar yum, used the port-o-potty twice, stretched & took in the scene ... hundreds of people jazzed-up, leaning and bending, jogging in place, sipping and chewing on energy in a thousand different forms, pulling their hair back, putting deodorant in ungodly places, laughing, giggling, doubting themselves ... it was energizing & inspiring. in the midst of thousands of people who are preparing to do and accomplish something big for themselves is a very beautiful place to be. there is excitement and faith and fear and encouragement and fulfillment. 
there's an aura of success before the challenge even begins. 

we watched the sun rise together, went to our mile markers and waited for the gun shot. 

the shot sounded and we were off ... all 8,000 of us.

we trekked over blocked-off highways, and suburban streets ... through cornfields and across bridges.

it was a neat course, i really enjoyed it. it wasn't too tough, and not the easiest in the world. there were people cheering and music blaring from cars on the sidelines ... my favorite sign read, "IF IT WAS EASY EVERYONE WOULD DO IT." cute. true. uplifting in the middle of mile 7. 

i was pretty surprised that my adrenaline carried me at a 8min/mile pace through the whole first 6 miles, and then i decided i better take it easy. the rest is a blur. i ran and jogged and walked. mile 13 (the last one) was the longest stinkin' thing EVER. it would. not. end. and i wanted it to so badly. i was ready to be done. i slowed to a pretty lazy walk and an older woman jogged up beside me and said, "come on, sweetheart, you're almost there ... run."
and so i did. 
i ran, and my muscles liked it much better than my trudging steps. and so i ran a little faster, and then i saw the finish line ... so close, but so far away. i was discouraged again. i couldn't keep up a run that far. i jogged. i almost walked. wanted to walk. just about ready to walk ... and then i heard it ... my sister cheering my name. she was yelling for me. screaming her cute little scream, clapping, smiling. 
so i didn't walk. i ran faster ... passed a bunch of my weary teammates ... and zipped across the finish line.

the minute i finished!

proud mama ... delirious victor. 

my cheering section:

cutest cheerleader ... ever. 

so i did it. and now my legs are sore and achy, my appetite is through the roof & my pride is a bit more polished. i am very proud of myself, so glad i stuck with it and participated, and grateful that my mom & sister came to see and celebrate along with me.

half marathon: 13.1 miles
time: 3hrs 3min
avg. min/mile: approx. 14 min/mile

 i am so doing it again next year ... and i will beat my record, just so you know. 


Saundra said...

YAY Ali, I'm proud of you too! Way to go!!!

Anonymous said...

You know how STINKIN' proud I am of you. You're absolutely inspiring...totally. :)
Glad my little screams could be of a tiny bit of help to boost your RUN to the finish.
I love you. year. Two sisters. "Is that the cute, thin Olsen sisters running the race with us???"

Laura said...

That was darn good writing, Al. And a great, inspirational story. You're awesome. I'm so proud of you.