...and I feel like I should have written something by now. However, I don't have many words. I felt and still feel invincible, convinced that I am capable of anything if I commit to it and put in the work. Now to use that feeling in areas other than fitness... Running the half has changed me and I wish I had the poetry available to describe it. "2:03:07 FINISHER!" is all I've been able to come up with.
The morning started off wonderfully, with gear check being located indoors at the Louisiana State Museum. (I didn't have to patronize a single port-a-potty that day.) Runners were free to roam the museum and stretch between exhibits. While I found that a little troubling, I was glad to be able to see the slavery and civil rights exhibits right before I ran. I saw the same exhibits 2 years ago, so I didn't read anything. I only looked at images, and I couldn't have thought of anything more fitting before the half. In recent weeks, I've started to think of running for pleasure as a hallmark of freedom.
After my last long run (11 miles) before the half, I convinced myself that my ancestors would carry me through to the last 2.1 miles on race day. Obnoxious? Maybe a little bit, but they ran to escape. To survive. Well, maybe not my immediate ancestors: my mom's never strayed far outside of southwest Louisiana, and I don't know how much my dad's ran from colonization by the British. But somewhere down the line, someone ran because they HAD to. How wonderful it is to be able to run because I WANT to. To run for the sheer joy of running... I'll have to revisit this in another blog post sometime because I'm not articulating this as clearly as I want to...
I finished mile 1 a minute under my intended pace. Knee pain kicked in around mile 7, but I kept going. I was tempted to start walking around mile 10, but pushed through due to the knowledge I had run 11 miles a few weeks before. I ran the full 13.1. And I did it in Sketchers.
The course was beautiful. The food at the finish festival was delicious... though I wasn't able enjoy most of it because I felt nauseous. I was able to stomach some alligator chili though, and I'm grateful for that.
A year ago, I couldn't run 2 miles without stopping. I encountered knee, foot, and ankle problems during training that made it seem like I would never run a half. This was the first goal I've set for myself and fought to accomplish in a long time, maybe even ever. It was a truly fulfilling to realize it. Even if I didn't finish under 2 hours. I'm ready for the next one.