Last Sunday I ran a race. Since Sundays are my Thursdays, this is a rare occurrence for me, and an exciting one at that.
I ran the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon. I began training for the race back in January, with plans to run the full 26.2. These plans were quickly dashed by my own stupidity. Ready to jump back into long distance running I started out with a 16 mile run, that went well except for a slight twinge in my knee. Well, the next week’s 12 miler created more than just a twinge–I’d developed a case of “runner’s knee” that did not end up healing in time for the race.
I’m smart enough not to try to run the full with a bad knee, but dumb enough to still run the half. So, last Sunday 13.1 it was!
I forgot how much I love racing. The tension at the starting line; the crowds of giddy runners and enthusiastic supporters; my carefully planned playlist–all bring an addicting sort of energy.
John ran the full marathon and we actually stuck together (not at all normal for us!) for the first six miles of the race before approaching “Holy Hill.” My goal was to run as fast as possible up this hill because it included a timed race within a race. This plan was thwarted by a lovely, little side stitch that took me three miles to work out.
By mile 10 I was pretty done with running. My knee was sore and as a result my stride had changed hurting my left IT band and right ankle in turn. Since I took so much time off of running this winter to try to heal my knee before the race, my legs certainly had not logged enough miles. My quads were shot. In those last three miles I said to myself “Faster!” and those tired quads answered with a resounding, “NO!”
Around mile 12 I seriously thought to myself, “I am not going to do this again for a very long time.”
But then I saw the finish line. I’d like to say that I discovered this untapped energy and surged toward it at a sprint. No, no. I coaxed myself into simply putting one foot in front of the other until I crossed that paint. After all, you know what they say–“It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.”
A short rest, banana and chocolate milk later, the pain of the race disappeared into the festive atmosphere and I reminded myself why I love to race so much. It felt good to push through the pain and complete the run. I loved being a part of the St. Louis running community’s biggest day. Needless to say, post-run Carolyn trumps mile 12 Carolyn. I will most likely being doing this again in not such a very long time.
The best part of running the half instead of the full (besides not running thirteen MORE miles!)? Getting to see the marathoners finish! I’ve never seen the leaders come in and it truly was inspiring to watch the winning men and women finish their race!
It was also really fun to get to cheer John across the finish line…did I mention that he is MUCH faster than me? I have NEVER seen him finish a race!
In the end I ran a 1:39 and John ran a 3:09. We were both happy and proud of our times, glad to have pushed through our own individuals challenges and get to the finish.
Upon returning home, I made the comment that running a half is so much better than a full because I was not nearly as sore post-run.
Then I took a nap. Two hours later…YIKES.
COULD. NOT. MOVE.
I have never been more sore after a full than I was after last Sunday’s race. Again, it probably would have been smart to run more BEFORE the big day. Work on Monday was its on unique form of torture.
But I love running. I love being a runner and I LOVE race day.
So, was it worth it?