(I know there’s a lot going on internationally these days, and at some point I’ll comment on that. My mind is still trying to process it all, so instead I thought I’d post on something a little lighter in the meantime.)
I’ve had a goal for awhile now. Over the past two years I’ve run seven half marathons. My first time was 2:09, and subsequent races have been between 2:05 and (during the summer in NYC) 2:26. I’ve gotten my training times down to sub-9 miles only to come down with a cold and have a setback. But I had hopes for this next race.
This past weekend we went up to Vancouver for the half marathon. My times leading up to this race led me to believe I could do it; I ran 12-mile training runs on pace to finish a half at 1:58 or 1:59. I was feeling really, really good.
But as the race approached my knees started to hurt. As in, they hurt even when I was just sitting or walking. I even managed to give myself a blister walking around town the day before the race. I wasn’t trying to psych myself out, but I realized that it was possible it wasn’t going to happen this time, and I shouldn’t push myself to the point of injury just to break this one barrier.
On Sunday morning, after an evening of very yummy carbohydrates and a good night of sleep, I got up, got ready and headed down to the start line. It was sunny and crisp and completely clear. I started at a good pace and just felt good. The course was well supported, with water and gatorade every kilometer or so. There were people cheering us on all along the city street part of the race, and the “go Ashley!” cheers I got (thanks to the race organizers putting names on our bibs) really helped motivate me and keep me going. I probably also got a boost from listening to the “Sex and Other Human Activities” podcast, which is hilarious and not at all appropriate for those with innocent sensibilities. It’s hard to focus on being tired when you’re laughing. It may use up a little more energy, but it certainly kept me going mentally, especially as I was heading up the steep hill at mile 8 in Stanley Park.
With about three miles to go on the course I realized I could really do it this time. I would have to really slow down to almost a walk to not do it. At mile 12 I switched from podcasts to music, and with a little help from Outkast’s Hey Ya and Beyonce’s Crazy, I did it. 1:55:20 after starting the race, I crossed the finish line. That moment was – well, a it was honestly a little overwhelming. I have been working hard and training in horrible weather. I’ve gotten up at 4:45 to run, and I’ve run between evening appointments. There’s something pretty amazing about the feeling I got when I realized that I actually could do something like that if I put my mind and energy to it. And today, when I started my five-mile run as I continue training for my next half marathon at the end of June even though all I wanted to do was lay on my couch and watch something on Netflix, I reminded myself that I’ve done it once and I can do it again.
To cap it all off, last night, I was treated to a surprise deep tissue massage at a wonderful spa, followed by a yummy homemade dinner, all courtesy of my favorite video game programmer. I’m a very, very lucky lady these days, and whenever work gets overwhelming, or I feel stressed, I try to remind myself of that.