I sit here on the eve of Half Marathon #5 and I feel that I should finish up my Race reports because as of tomorrow I will officially be behind again. I also find it fitting to do my IMT blog from the hotel room I am sharing with Laurie here in Wisconsin. She has been such a huge part of my running life. We ran IMT together. Parts of it hand in hand, sometimes for fun, sometimes because I needed the help. This is typical of our relationship. Sometimes it is for the fun of it, sometimes it is the support that we need. I know that I am lucky. When most people talk about their MIL, it tends to be less than favorable.
IMT Des Moines was probably the first HM I have done yet where I felt challenged. I didn’t back down from Laurie’s faster pace. I didn’t want to either. I knew that if I needed to back off and slow down, I would, but I also knew that if she pushed me, she would push me to a PR. This HM was my Half Fanatic Qualifying race so it felt almost…transcendental that it should be a PR. At the same time, I know I was inadequately prepared for running this race. I have had some major stressors going on in my life. My diet has been poor, not bad, but poor nutritionally. NOT what you want in the days leading up to a Half! Towards the end I could feel every cookie, every marshmallow, every piece of cake I had eaten in the prior couple weeks. I used my sister’s wedding as an excuse to eat sugar crap. Long after the wedding was over, I was still finding junk to eat and using the wedding cake as an excuse. This excuse making then led to an extreme frustration with myself, with my (perceived) lack of progress. I feel stuck. And that mental state is what I think the biggest obstacle for me.
IMT was an experience like none I have had before. Quad Cities is a pretty decent sized race, and you are running with elite runners, but never actually “with” them. IMT is HUGE in comparison. (Please keep in mind that I AM talking Iowa here and HUGE is relative to proximity) It is a VERY flat course. Very easy to run (again, keeping in mind the challenges mentioned in the prior paragraph), and the course was interesting, We ran towards the Capitol building, next to a river, through a park…. There was a nice variety of scenery. The morning was chilly. That kind of chilly that makes you dread leaving your sweatshirt at Gear Check, but you know once you get going, it will be toasty warm. We met up with Aaron (LEFTCIRCLES) for some introductions and photos and headed off to the start. Like I said we started off running towards the Capitol Building. We kept up a pretty good pace, I think. We smiled for photographers and a miscommunication on directions had me plowing into Laurie like a freight train. Now we know to specify direction when we say “Move”. From that day on it will be “Move Left” or “Move right.” LOL. I think one of my favorite parts was seeing the Elite Runners go past. For the split second when you are running “with” them (More accurately you are just trying to get out of the way), it is amazing to watch them run.
The end. Ok, lets talk about the end. I will be honest, as I always try to be in my blog posts, this one was hard. I wasn’t completely on empty but I was close. It was te longest mile I have ran in a LONG time. I had to dig deeper than I have ever had to go before. It was pure mental strength that kept my legs moving. I know it was mental, or maybe reflex, that kept my legs moving forward. They wanted to quit. The wanted to walk the last mile, but my will wouldn’t allow it. So I ran 3 minutes at a time. No matter what my legs tried to tell me, it was 3 minutes at a time. 2 minutes running 1 minute walking. It was what got me through the first 12 miles, it would get me home again. I just kept looking at the back of Laurie’s Half Fanatic shirt and willed myself to keep going. It was like I was staring my goal (literally) in the face. It was so close, within my reach…. There was no way I was going to quit. What am I saying? Quitting was never an option. Never. If it was, I would never be where I am today. I read somewhere that if you keep your arms moving, your legs will follow. I simply concentrated on keeping my arms pumping and strong. I held my head up and crossed that Finish Line smiling, as I was meant to do. Smiling because I had met another goal I had set for myself. Smiling because I had worked through a challenging run and come through on the other side stronger, smarter and more self-aware. Smiling because it was a PR race. Smiling because Laurie was by my side every moment of it. IMT was one for books for so many reasons. Every race is special to me, IMT is no exception, and I will DEFIINATELY be there again next year!
Time for picures!!!
Arriving at the Race Area
Me, Laurie and Aaron (LEFTCIRCLES)
At the Starting Line
And We are off!!!
We are about too get run over by an Elite Runner
This is the Roberts Dairy Cow. It seems cows will be a familiar theme...
This would be a "Digging Deep" picture. I was completely focused on the Finish Line
Done and Done! When I crossed that Finish Line, I became Half Fanatic #1437. I will always have that, no matter where I go from here. Now I am running a few more this year, mostly for fun. That is what it has to be for me. When I start focusing on the time, its no longer fun. I want to make memories, not torture myself. I know I can challenge myself. i know that I can push myself and I know that I will find the strength to finish what I have started. And I have the Bling (and the Blue Shirt) to prove it!