The stakes were high in my 4th consecutive running of the mini as this was the only time I've ever trained with any consistency. The goal - under 2:30. One of my LIFE goals, in fact. Pressure. The training seemed to really fall off after I ran that 9-miler last month and dehydrated myself, thus losing an entire productive Saturday. I knew it would be tough, but I was still hopeful to reach my goal. (Most of you probably know what happened, but humor me while I keep you in suspense a little bit longer...)
Here's how the events of the weekend unfolded...
1st Annual Carb-Up Dinner
Rachel, Justin, Laura and Megan joined us for a pre-race meal with lots of bread and pasta. Laura brought a Casa salad down from Fort Wayne and Rachel brought over her Lemon Asparagus Pasta.
No dinner is complete without favors...
This was taken just before we scrambled out the door at 6:00 a.m. and headed downtown to pick up a bunch of old Manchester friends for the race. This is also about the time when the three of us ran out the door without remembering to bring Mom's extra race number for Kirby's boyfriend Ryan, who found out the night before that we had an extra entry and was so pumped about it that he bought a new running shirt late that night. Sorry Ryan...we're big jerks only thinking about ourselves, apparently.
Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
This guy we work with ran the mini in 1:32 one year, so all week long Brent was gunning for that time. He carbo-loaded, hydrated, pretty much did all he could to be in top running shape for the last week. Imagine him chugging V-8 in front of the fridge wearing sweatbands, ankle weights, and a cut-off t-shirt.
Okay, not really. But funny image, eh?
As much as he really wanted to beat Jerry, he kept saying that at least under 1:35 was possible. That's a little bit more than averaging 7:00 minute miles. Seriously, who is this person? 1:35? That's like a PROFESSIONAL RUNNER (close, anyway). I was so excited to finish the race so I would know how he did.
Brent's time was 1:34.38. Unbelievable! I'm bragging on him a little bit, but I don't do that often enough and I am seriously amazed at his ability. Amazed enough to use the word "amazed".
Reflections on Coming Up ShortI partnered up with my friend Christi who is a really good runner but didn't have much time to train this year and wasn't going for any great time. Therefore, she was free to stay behind and run with me as my motivational speaker. This girl can hold entire conversations even after running 10 miles. I can't imagine how she can do that, because I was just clinging to life towards the end. Around mile 11 her legs were cramping up and she needed to run faster, so we parted ways. We had been keeping track of our times each mile and at that point I knew it would take a small miracle to pull off 2:30. I pulled myself together and kept jogging through those last two miles, only walking for a few brief moments until I realized it hurt more to walk than to shuffle my feet in a "jogging" motion.
I crossed the finish line in 2:35. Sooo close....but not enough. I was so thrilled to be done that I could have cared less at the time. Plus, this was 14 minutes better than my best time, so that was good. I found my husband in the park and was then thrilled by his time and also at how good I felt compared to most years. After every other race I have curled myself into the fetal position on the ground, only moving to Army crawl to the Port-o-Potty. A few years ago I sat down right in the middle of the street because I couldn't make it to the car just yet. When Ashley ran a mini with me we got separated and she had my car keys, but I still laid on the ground for about an hour while she looked for me because that's how bad I felt. Lesson learned...training pays off both during the race and after.
I was okay with it until I got home. Then I was sad. Not only had I not beat 2:30, but I walked about five times. Christi went on to finish the race in 2:29, which means I still had a chance at mile 11. If only I could have kept up with her for two more miles!! Then, I stood in the kitchen and had a brief pity party for myself. I could have worked harder, and shouldn't have let myself walk. I hate failing.
Then it hit me. How can I feel anything but grateful that a gracious God has given me health to not only live a full and productive life, but has given me the legs, lungs, and heart strong enough to complete seven half marathons? And the will to do so? So many people would do anything to have this kind of health.
This is not about failure, but about the victory of my own Biggest Loser story. As a 225 pound 17 year-old who wanted to play high school tennis but didn't because of the running required, would I have ever imagined that I could run 11 of the 13 miles in that race? NO!
So tonight, I am glad. I am thankful to know how much life there is to live if you only have the confidence to experience it. And tomorrow, I will run. And I will take five more minutes off my time later this year. Because frankly, anything is possible.