Today I ran the Mermaid Series half marathon in Fremont. I went in today with no real expectations. I anticipated finishing around 2:34-2:37 and wasn’t aiming to do anything except to finish.
The weather was disgustingly warm today, and with an 8:00 start, I felt a little toasty to begin with but luckily I had my trusty Camelbak and had studied the course map to know where the aid stations were.
I went to the restroom about a thousand times this morning and was regretting how many Doubletree cookies I ate the day before. But I justified the carb loading and frantically made it to the start right before the introduction before the race, where the announcer has us repeat after her all these messages of positivity about ourselves. I experienced the same thing at the SF event I did back in November, but both times I’ve muttered the words under my breath because anytime I say that kind of stuff out loud I get overwhelmed with emotion and was not ready to cry and cramp so early on in the race.
The first eight miles were so awesome. I mean, I was a little slower than I thought I would be, but still making decent mile splits. My legs felt really, really good. I could tell that all of the training I’ve been doing under my running coach have helped get me stronger. My game plan was to run the first ten miles and then survive the last 5k. That plan fell apart. The heat got to me and even though my shorts and backpack are broken in the heat made me chafe like no ones business. (TMI SORRY). Also, I think it’s time for new running shoes. The toe box on my Nee Balances made my pinky toe blister over like mad. My feet hurt more than my legs did and that’s part of why I had to start my run walk two miles earlier than I hoped.
All of a sudden, while I was alone conquering 13.1 miles, it all hit me.
Since January, I’ve done the following:
- Rehearsed and performed an entire run of A Little Night Music (17 performances total)
- Rehearsed and opened the musical Tarzan (opening night was on Friday. Yep. Like two days before the race)
- Started a new job
- At said, new job, have had my department of three shrink down to a department of one and I’ve been holding down the fort
- Fought my weight gain of 22 pounds. Trying to get back to my WW routine but I’ve not found the groove yet.
- Compacted what would normally be 10-12 weeks of training for 13.1 into five. Yes, five weeks.
- Generally tried to stay afloat in all other aspects of life.
And I told myself for months and months that if I just got to this event it would be the culminating event on the crazy calendar I’ve had. And at mile 10.5 the reality sunk in and I started crying. I was done. Chaos is finally settling. And it was like a wave washed over me of everything I’ve done and conquered and achieved and fought through and I started to cry. I cried on and off but made myself hold it together out of fear of cramping. I cried during the last mile of the Santa Rosa marathon and I learned the cramping lesson then, lol.
When I looked down at my watch around the time I hit mile 10.5 I realized I was going to finish closer to 2:50 than I thought I was. I thought about how I felt like I had let myself down for having such a slow finish time and worried about how I would ever break 2:20 at the SR half, and how I couldn’t do it. And then I asked myself if I was running with a friend and they said those things to me, what would I tell them? And I would tell them that they don’t need to worry about the next race, they need to worry about this one. And maybe they can’t run the rest of the way, but what can they do? And I told myself I could finish, regardless of what the clock said. So that’s what I did. I finished.
And as I was stumbling to the finish line, I was cheered on and motivated by women who were finishing with me. I needed it. They helped me.
Now that I’ve had a few hours away from the race to clear my head and share about it, I realized an important thing about life. It just keeps going. I can’t stop and wait for perfect race conditions, expect to always PR, I won’t always be well rested or at race weight. I won’t always be where I want to be. But I can always be my best in that moment. Today reminded me of that.
While some of you may think “why the heck would you ever want to do this to yourself?” I’m not entirely sure. But I also can’t wait to do it again in a few months at my next half marathon!!!! San Francisco 2nd half, July 23rd!!! Here I come!
Cheers to Mermaid athletes! ❤️