I ran my 6th half marathon today and I had fun. I think it may be the first time that I can really say that. Normally when I run I’m calculating my distance and time and figuring out what time I will finish and deciding whether I can maintain a faster pace or not. I’m convincing myself to just keep running, I’m counting down the kilometers that I have left. I get tired and grumpy and I want it to be over. Today was a completely different experience for me. I went into this run with no real expectations. My right leg has been so sore that I wasn’t even sure if I could walk that far let alone run it. I even considered not running at all.
I woke up around 4:45am and listened for the sound of cars driving by on a wet road. It didn’t sound wet at all so I expected that we would have decent weather. By the time that I left my house at 6am it was raining. I drove to my friend’s house and we carpooled from there to the race site. It was pouring on the way there. I was not looking forward to the run at all. I was still concerned about injuring my leg by attempting to run so I had a little anxiety about that. I was also just not motivated because I couldn’t really think of a good reason why I should run the race other than just because I had entered and had paid for it. Having no goals and worrying about injury made it seem pointless to me. But after huddling around under tents for a while trying to postpone getting soaked we headed to the start. It was a smaller race (about 600 people in the half marathon) so it was less than a minute after the start that we were crossing the line. I started out feeling pretty good. My stomach felt good and my leg wasn’t really hurting yet (it doesn’t usually hurt right away). At about 3k I noticed my right leg but it still wasn’t painful. I just knew at that point that my massage on Thursday hadn’t magically cured it completely. By 5k it was sore and I told my friend that I would probably walk when we got to 6k. I ended up running until about 7k and then decided that to avoid injury I probably should take a walk break. My friend continued on. I walked for about half a kilometer and then tried running for again. My leg seemed to be getting worse. I walked again at around 9 kilometers and continued walking for at least 2k. At that point I was considering walking the rest of the way to the end. At around 11 or 12k I tried running again. I passed the 2:30 pace bunny at this point. It surprised me because I felt like I’d been walking so much. I’d already mentally put myself into the 2:45ish finishing time or maybe even later (I wasn’t doing any calculating in my head). I didn’t really care if I finished late but I also didn’t want my friend to stand around in the rain waiting forever for me. Passing the 2:30 pace bunny motivated me to continue trying to run. My leg was still hurting but it didn’t seem to be getting any worse. I knew that if it stayed the same I would be able to continue running. I took a couple of short breaks after that but for the most part I was able to continue running without any increase in the level of pain. I walked down all the hills (there weren’t many) since they are the worst for my leg. The uphill parts were near the end so I made myself run up them even though I knew it might not be wise. I picked up the pace with about 1k to go. I had to pass the lady in pink up ahead. I always pick a target person to beat and she had been ahead of me for a while (my initial target had stopped to fix her shoe a couple of kilometers back). I passed the pink lady easily and was disappointed that there wasn’t really another good target to try to pass. There were people walking!! Who walks with less than 1k left?? I think that they may have actually been from the 10k distance and maybe had walked the whole thing. With only a couple hundred meters to go I spied my next person target. Unfortunately for her she didn’t realize that we were racing. I had really picked up my pace and was running pretty hard. I think I took her by surprise when I flew past her. I should have warned her so that she could have actually raced me to the end. It would have been more fun. Maybe next time. My official time was 2:24:01. My friend got a PB with 2:09:26.
I don’t think that I’ve ever been in such a good mood throughout a race. I was looking around at the other runners and the spectators. I even talked to one lady who had the same capris as me (she was my first target but I didn’t tell her that) and I smiled at anyone that would make eye contact. I was enjoying my audiobook (the rest of Pride and Prejudice, although it ended and then re-started in the middle). I love that book. I was soaking wet but having a good time. There was no pressure to do anything other than what I felt like doing. It turns out that I felt like running. I had fun! I never expected that I would ever find running a half marathon fun or easy or short. But it was all of those things. After training for and running the full marathon a few weeks ago running a half felt like no big deal. I did start paying attention to the kilometers at the end so that I could judge how much to push my leg and I was surprised to be thinking that there was only 5k left. I think that anyone that doesn’t enjoy running half marathons should do a full. The half may be my favorite distance now. My old goal of doing 5 in my life had kind of changed to 10 in my head (seeing as how I’ll have finished 7 by the end of this year) but after today I have no goal. It’s unlimited now. Maybe I’ll even set a new goal of doing at least one a year. But first I’m going to let my leg heal. I just moved it and it’s REALLY sore!! I think I’m going to have some trouble sleeping again tonight because of the pain. I’d better book another massage this week since it did seem to help.
On another note, I did my 50th skydive on Friday. It was a good jump with a great landing. My first landing of the day hadn’t been that great. I had landed in the field just behind where I was supposed to land. Another 10 meters and I would have hit our field but the owner still noticed that I landed off the property. That guy doesn’t miss a thing! One of my friends came and did his first skydive that day too. We were on the same plane. He did his first and I did my 50th. It was pretty fun. I’ve decided that I need to start jumping more often. I definitely improve if I do more than one skydive in a day. Lately I’ve only been doing one jump every now and then and I’m not getting any better at it. My new goal is to get as many jumps done in a day as I can. I’m also trying to recruit some of the more experienced jumpers to go with me so that they can teach me things. I’m determined to improve this season.