Coming off a two-week race break and still recovering from my bout with a respiratory virus, I can say that I was less than looking forward to what was to be a rainy 13 miles for this years Red Nose Run Half Marathon in nearby Thomasville, Georgia. But when you are a runner and you have a race, you just suck it up, RIGHT!?!
Another race weekend began, out of the normal routine this half marathon race was on a Saturday instead of the normal Sunday, but the early wake up call still came nonetheless. We had a short 45 minute drive to get to Thomasville, Georgia from Tallahassee and I hoped that the drive would be stress-free since we did not have far to go, which it seemed perfect, until we got a little lost on where exactly the race start was to be.
We arrived at 7 am so that we could pick up our bibs since we were not able to make it up to Thomasville the evening before to grab them and then we headed back to the car to stay warm before meeting our other Tallahassee Chapter Mamas from Moms RUN This Town that were also participating in the half marathon with us that morning. It was going to be an extra exciting race because we had so many from our group running their first half marathon at that race.
After we arrived and were directed to the starting area of the race, we realized this was a very small half marathon compared to others that we have participated in this year, but the course would prove to stand up to and even surpass some courses we have conquered this year with degree of difficulty.
As we began the first 5K course of the race we were taken through a very beautiful neighborhood that remained flat to help with finding your stride and comfort level for the race. Though I seemed to start really fast for some reason and it seemed like so much effort to make myself slow down. After we passed the 2 mile point and turned the corner and I saw what would be one of multiple hills on the horizon, I knew it was time to slow it down to a pace I could hopefully sustain through the entire course of the race. The weather was still holding out for us, as the week’s forecast called for 80% chance of thunderstorms while remaining cooler in temperature, I was happy to not have to contend with rain and hills for this race.
Approaching the first steep hill of the course I felt drained, like DONE, already and I knew I needed to change my mental focus to push myself through this race. I knew I had a number in my head to finish at and that as long as I was under that number I would be grateful for another injury-free race day. We made it to the top of the hill and I struggled to get my breathing under control and I already felt worn out. Maybe a little residual exhaustion coming off having a respiratory virus. My nose ran the entire time, I continued to cough throughout the course all while trying to maintain a good stride. My right foot still had the massive blister I had gained on the Space Coast Half Marathon race day and I was hoping that my blister band-aid would help keep it from getting worse or making me drop out of the race from extreme pain. Thankfully it did and I tried to continue to divert my attention away from the fact that it was beginning to bother me a bit.
The course was an out and back course and rolling hills to describe it were and understatement. By the time we reached mile 8 I was exhausted and mentally breaking down. Pushing through seemed like it would be impossible for me that morning. Like I had mustered all I could to complete the last few races and my body was telling me it was so done and ready to get some rest and recovery time in. BUT I could not quit, I had to push through to at least reach my pre-determined goal time and I knew it. As we pushed up another hill I knew that I needed to start the walk/run technique and my blister on my foot had began to bother me a lot and I was concerned just how bad it would be when I took my shoe off.
Mile 9 approached and seemed like it took an hour to get through and then as we approached mile 10 I knew I needed to let my running partner go on ahead and that I would just focus on finishing the race. Walk, then run then take time to push myself through the next interval and know that all I need to do is get to the finish line, just get there and you can rest and get water and a hot shower and an Epsom Salt Bath were in my immediate future.
I crossed past mile 11 and knew that I could push myself through the next two miles, but it was going to take every ounce of energy I had left to get there. I pushed on . . . another runner approached me when we had just a half mile to go. She came up beside me and encouraged me with “You’ve GOT THIS! You’re almost there! DON’T GIVE UP!” I smiled and knew that all it would take was pushing through that pain and I would be there. I anticipated not hitting my goal of finishing under 2:30, and I had resolved that I was going to be ok with that. After all, I had raced so much in the past few weeks, to not allow my body to slow down and take a rest if it needed it would be to push myself to injury. As I approached the finish line I saw my running partner and my friend Jennifer, who was the finish line photographer and that helped me muster the last push I needed to finish the race. I was even more excited to see that even though I was struggling the last few miles that I still finished under the 2:30 mark which was AWESOME!
Thankfully I have another big break before I race again in Panama City Beach, FL for the Biggest Loser Half Marathon on the 29th. I am so excited to be finishing up 2013 with such a great race series.