Running teaches you a lot about yourself. The pounding of your feet on the road or the treadmill day after day, month after month makes you question why this was ever "fun."
A couple weeks ago, I ran my second half marathon. I was hot and sweaty and by the end, I thought I was dying. I literally collapsed at the finish line. My knees hurt. My legs were throbbing.
But I love it. Running is my thing.
My training for this race was not consistent at all. Some weeks I ran 30 miles, other weeks, eh, maybe 10. It was my last semester of school, I was working at the campus newspaper, freelancing for a magazine, and spending time with my fiancée. I knew I had a strong enough running background that I could slack some on training and still finish the race.
But, 13.1 miles is not easy.
I ran for almost 2 and a half hours. My legs trudged along (sometimes very slowly). My thoughts scattered. And, once I crossed the finish line I stopped. Literally. My legs stopped, I bent down to grab my knees, which as this point were throbbing and begging for me to do anything else other than run, and I collapsed. There was no way I was getting up without assistant. With the help of a sorority sister and a race volunteer, I made my way over to the grass where I could finally sit down.
The race was finally over.
The first couple of miles were awesome. I was running on adrenaline and bunched in a group with other runners, all trying to find our pace. Spectators and spirit teams lined the sidewalks. It’s an awesome experience. People woke up at 6 a.m. to watch me and hundreds of others run. That’s pretty incredible.
Once I hit the 4 mile mark, I finally settled into my race pace. I was running about a 9:50 mile and my goal was to beat last year’s time of 2:14.01. But, by the end of the race, my ideas changed.
By mile 9, I was hurting. Everything in and on my body hurt. My arms were heavy, my legs felt like they were barely moving, and I was starving. Eating gu-chews were not cutting it. I wanted real food.
By the time mile 12 came along, I knew the finish line was close. But, I also knew I would not be finishing under the time I wanted. My next goal? To finish in under 2:20 and to end the race strong.
The final stretch of the Murray Half Marathon is up hill. My lungs were burning, my legs hurt, and I couldn't suck in enough air. After 13 miles I could finally see the finish line. The last stretch of the race was filled with cheering spectators.
The encouragement from the crowd is what helps me finish strong every time. I crossed the finish line, was handed a 13.1 finisher medal and a banana, and was greeted with congratulations from friends and strangers.
My official time was 2:19.10
After the race and the banana, I went back to my apartment, complained about climbing three flights of stairs to get to my door, halfway took a shower, and passed out for the next six hours.
Half marathon #2 was a success.
“I find significance in all kinds of small details when I run; I'm hyper aware of my surroundings, the sensations in my body, and the thoughts running through my mind. Everything is clearer, heightened. I might be more addicted to this clarity than I am to running itself.”
Run happy, Meghann