Paul and I spent almost 6 days in St. Louis with Chrislyn and I'm so happy to say it really felt like vacation, even running 13.1 miles.
The mid-west weather made me feel like I was in the tropics.
Shorts and tank tops - NO jackets!
Birds chirping. Tulips in full bloom. Tan lines. Sunglasses. Windows down. Evening rainstorms.
We even used the AC one night because the apartment never cooled down.
We arrived in St Louis on Thursday and went for a 3 mile jog on Friday. My lungs hated the heat and mugginess and I was really nervous for the half because of how I felt after running 3. My asthma hasn't kicked in since high school and was making a reappearance.
Thankfully, the humidity had lowered by race day, even though it was even warmer. We hung around outside at 6:30am waiting for the race to begin (spending most of the time in line for the porta-potty - didn't want any accidents during our run) and it must have already been 70 degrees. It was 80 degrees by 10am, hence the pounding head and dry throat around mile 7.
The most I had ever run prior to Sunday was 9.3 miles, so approaching mile markers 10, 11, 12 and 13 were each monumental. I also ran past several people who were receiving medical attention - ivs and oxygen. No bueno! I took advantage of each water station and starting drinking 2 cups during each stop. I was going to finish this thing!
Paul, Chrislyn and I ran together for the first 6 miles and we maintained a 10-minute mile, which was my goal pace. I dropped a few steps behind, and then Paul was nowhere in sight. He finished the run about 15 minutes ahead of me, maintaining his goal pace - way go go, babe!
Chrislyn pulled ahead of me at mile 11 and I came in 3 minutes behind her, still finishing within the top 50% of the runners in my age group at 2 hours, twenty-something minutes (at almost exactly 50%). Slower than I had hoped, but considering the heat and humidity, and some lengthy uphill portions, I'm ok with that.
There were a few points during the run that I remember thinking "this is the hardest thing I've ever done." Looking back, I could do it again. I'd love to improve my time.
Running alongside 15,000 people was an awesome feeling, as was running past thousands of spectators. The signs were awesome:
"Good job! You're ahead of everyone behind you!"
"Chuck Norris never ran a marathon."
"Runners have balls - other athletes just play with them."
"Hurry! I'm in labor!"
And a pick-me-up at mile 10:
"If it was easy, everyone would be doing this!" So true.
My bottom half has never hurt so much in my life. My hips, knees and ankles. And then day two, add sore calves and lower back. My knees are still making a gross 'crinkly' sound which is new, so I'm not really sure what to think about that.
I really surprised myself with how I kept up with it - I put in 200 miles on my running shoes in preparation for the big day, starting from ZERO in November. I can remember the first time I ran 4 miles back in December, which was hugely monumental for me. I had conquered the lake which had been taunting me each time I drove past. And now I've conquered a half-marathon and I feel GREAT! I'm emotional just thinking about it. It was running that gave me a goal, something that kept me going during a season of dryness and discouragement. At times, it was the only thing that got me out of the house when I was feeling sorry for myself.
So, am I addicted to running? I don't know that I'd say that, but I have grown to appreciate the sport and the discipline of training. I am thankful God has given me a healthy body, and I'd love to stay fit. For now, I'll take it easy and rest my joints.
Maybe I'll actually run for fun when it's sunny...wait a minute, is this really me talking?!