Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet...
Last year I got a bee in my bonnet. Maybe it was turning 40. Maybe I just needed a challenge. Who knows. I just knew that bee was bugging me.
Last year I decided I needed to run a half-marathon. Why? Of course, there was a bee in my bonnet.
I remember when I thought I'd never be able to run 1 mile. All I could think was how far that sounded. One Mile. Mind you, I'd never really been a runner. Maybe a couple of times in college when I pretended to run, I think mostly to get away from the residents on my hall.
So in February of 2009 I joined a gym. There was no way I was going to run outside in the cold. This Southern Girl can't handle the walk from the house to the car when it's below 40 degrees. Why would I subject myself to an hour + outside? So the gym and the treadmill it would be.
The race was in April. The Go! St. Louis Marathon and Half-marathon. Still thinking I was crazy, I paid my entry fee and was off and running, so to speak.
Remember that mile I thought was so far? Well, it was. Sooooooooo far. But eventually I made it 2, then 3 and eventually 7. Wow! 7 miles.
The crazy thing about running a half-marathon is that training plans never have you run the full 13.1 miles. 11 was the farthest distance I went before the actual race. But I knew my friends had my back. Chris had been encouraging (sometimes annoyingly so) in my training. My facebook friends were cheering me on. People at church cheered me on. Seems everyone I knew was cheering me on. And one friend in particular--Cory--reminded me almost daily that I could do it. And if they believed in me even when I didn't, how could I let them down?
Race day dawned cold and rainy. Yes, you read that right: rainy. But I had made that commitment to run. So run I did.
My goal was to finish. And I really wanted to finish in under 3 hours. Miles 11 and 12 were the worst. So close and yet so far. Water was running off the brim of my hat. I was soaked to the bone. My socks were squishing in my shoes.
But all along the way my family was cheering me on. They drove downtown, jumping the course so they could see me in several places along the way. They ran along side me. They rang their cowbells, and I knew they'd be waiting for me at the end.
And I did it. I met both of my goals: I finished in under 3 hours. JUST under: 59:38.
Well I thought one race would get that bee out of my bonnet. But no, now there's a whole hive in there.
I ran the Mardi Gras half marathon in New Orleans in February, finishing in an amazing (for me) 2:30. Mind you, the course was totally flat. But that finishing time was a big ego boost.
This past Sunday I ran the GO! St. Louis again. Unlike last year, the weather was beautiful. Cool and sunny. And I shaved 12 minutes off last year's time. Still slow, but faster than last year.
Now I'm actually setting goals for myself. I want to get faster. I want to go stronger. I want to someday feel that "runner's high" I've heard so much about.
My next half-marathon will be Aug. 1 (my 42nd birthday) in Chicago, IL. Between now and then I'll run several 5k's. I'll work on my speed. I'll find some new places to train. I'll get out and enjoy the weather. I want to reduce the size of my butt...;-)
39.3 and counting.
Make a little birdhouse in your soul.