That's right my bloggie friends - I did it! I finally reached my life's goal of running a half marathon in under 2 hours. If you haven't figured it out, the title of this post was my time. I am on cloud 9 right now. And into the bucket list it goes (sorry for the lack of pictures in this post!)
Only ... it did not happen as I expected. I ended up having to leave the course at mile 4 at the National Half in Washington DC (I posted about that race here). I made my PR just yesterday in the Wilmington Delaware half marathon. Want the full stories? OK.
The day before the National Half I woke up with awful chest congestion. My kids had been pretty sick for the prior couple of weeks, and I was on an antibiotic myself as I had a sore throat earlier in the week. I felt great all week though and was excited. However, that Friday was not good. I hoped it was early morning funk and I'd feel better. I tried Mucinex and water. When that didn't work, I tried green tea, Emergen-C and vitamin water and more regular water. I sounded and felt awful. I tried a nap, spicy food ... nothing. I was coughing but the congestion was not loosening at all. I knew this was bad: running is all about breathing and my chest hurt. I was confident I'd wake a new woman, so I pressed onward. I woke up the morning of the race and felt a little better but not 100%, not even close. I felt a little warm but not so warm that I couldn't give it a go. I got to the start, felt fine, and ran normally for a few miles. Around the 5K split, I started feeling really bad: I think I had a fever, my chest was screaming and, scariest of all, I was light-headed and dizzy: something I have not felt in the 20 years I've been running. I told my friend with whom I was running that I didn't think I could go on and she should keep pressing. She was kind enough to slow her pace and tried encouraging me, but I felt that awful at mile 3.9 ... I knew I could not handle another 9. At mile 4, I told my friend to go kick butt and I ran off the course. I sat in a beautiful spot in between the White House and the Washington Monument on a glorious day and hung my head and cried. I felt like a quitter, and I do not quit. But I knew in my gut that if I had continued I would have toppled over. Quitting was the smart thing to do. So I hobbled back to my hotel and crashed in the bed.
Later that night, I was feeling marginally better, but still disappointed. I decided to look for another half the following weekend. I was trained, ready, and committed to making my goal. Lucky for me, I found a half marathon in Wilmington Delaware the next weekend. I signed up on the spot. I felt better and better each day last week. My runs were hard - my chest wasn't happy with me, but I kept it up and was easy on myself.
This morning, the weather was cool and damp. I love running in the cold, so this was perfect. The cannon went off (seriously: this race starts with a cannon, not a gun!) and off I went. I was stunned that my first couple of miles had an incredible pace - probably because the course was all downhill. The rest of the course was good, if extremely hilly, and culminated in a .25 mile climb up to the finish line. When I crossed and saw my time, I jumped and yelled and OH MY GOSH I did it. I had that feeling that you only get when you finally reach a life's goal. True and total joy.
Next up: a sprint triathlon in a few months. Onward!
See you swoon,