Running Update

Well look at me blogging twice in one month; that’s a new record, for sure.   Someone please give this girl a cookie.

No, seriously.  Do you have a cookie?

I could really use a cookie right now.

Just to recap:  my house empty.

On one hand, there’s something very nice about having a near empty house.  Probably because it’s easier to clean an empty house.  But, on the other hand, there’s something quite unsettling about living in an empty house.  Empty houses echo.  They’re colder, too.  And sitting on the floor, while okay for a little while, kind of makes your butt hurt.  Yesterday, after I sat on the floor for hours and read through the entire internet,  I found a sunny spot on the carpet and took a nap.

Like a cat.

It was kind of awesome.

But anyway, I didn’t start this to complain about my current housing/moving situation, I started this to brag a little.  You know me, I’m not much of a braggart. No really, I’m not.  I’m certainly nothing special and I don’t even pretend for a moment that I am. However,  I accomplished something two weeks ago that I had long hoped to do:  I ran a sub 1:50 half marathon.

Back in September, Craig and I ran the Navy-Air Force (Air Force-Navy?) Half Marathon in Washington, DC.  My goal for that race was to run a personal best, which I did, by crossing the finish line in 1:51:07.  After that race, I sheepishly declared on this very blog that I hoped to run a sub 1:50 half marathon on October 7th at the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon.

Of course, I issued the standard caveats:  if the weather is right, if I feel good, if the stars align, if the moon is a waxing (and NOT waning) gibbous, no pressure, blah, blah, blah.

Well, the weather was NOT right (it rained!), but I felt great.  Fueled by candy corn and a deep desire to not be a weenie (especially after I had voiced my intentions here), I ditched my Garmin GPS watch (no pressure if you don’t know your pace) and ran.  The race provided a time clock at the five mile and ten mile marks, which quelled my curiosity a smidge, but I really had no idea when I would cross that finish line.  Now here’s the thing:  in my opinion, the half marathon race really begins at the 10 mile mark.  Those last 3.1 miles are where it hurts the most.  And on this particular course, this was most definitely the case.

After I scaled the great hills and braved the unsteady, gravelly terrain of National Harbor (so epic!) and wound my way around the finish line that seemed to go on forever, I spotted the time clock, which had the numbers 1.4.7 on its digital read.  As I heard a spectator yell  ‘go turquoise shirt!’ (I was wearing a turquoise shirt) I let out a little happy cheer/cry of ‘when is this going to #$@%#^^#%@ end?” and ran toward the finish.  At that point, the finish line was in sight, but felt like it was a mile way; I felt like I was going to hurl, so I slowed my pace a bit, which in hindsight totally bums me out, but still, I finished that race in 1:47:26.  Nearly (sort of?) four minutes faster than the race I ran a few weeks before.

I was elated.

And tired.

And wet.  And cold.

And hungry.  So hungry.  From previous experience, I knew to expect a good, chewy, real bakery bagel at the end; not a grocery store imposter.  I’m not going to lie; the promise of a good bagel at the end provided me with ample desire to keep going and get to the finish line as fast as possible.

Thankfully, once you cross the finish line, the race volunteers handed out little towels along with the finisher’s medals.  I grabbed my medal and the towel, hobbled toward the bags of delicious bagels and promptly buried my face in the towel and cried.  I cried because I was so happy for beating my goal time.  But mostly I cried because that was my last race in the Virginia/DC area.

I was going to say that I became a runner here, but that’s trite and expected and kind of hokey.  Instead, I’ll say that I found something special here.

Granted, I’m not special.  I’m just one of the several thousand who, on any given weekend morning, pins a bib on her shirt and runs from point A to point B with the promise of a medal and a banana (and a good/bad bagel depending on the race) at the finish line.  There isn’t anything particularly remarkable about running a race; the world is not a better place because I pay $95 to run 13.1 miles.

But my world?  Well, my world is better.  And stronger.

I went from hating running and thinking anyone who paid money to run was an idiot to someone who signed up for every race possible.  I went from running my first race at a near 10 minute/mile pace to running 13.1 miles at an 8:13/mile pace.  Obviously, I’m not the greatest runner who has ever run and I never will be.  I’m just a dopey housewife who loves to exercise.

In exercise (and running) I’ve found an outlet for the overflowing amount of anxiety I harbor.  I found a toughness and competitive fire that I never knew existed.  I also found some new muscles.  Yay, muscles!

Running here in Virginia has been such a personal experience for me and in an odd, misguided way, I don’t feel like running in Hawaii will be as fulfilling.  I know that’s a dumb and melodramatic thing to say….but sometimes I’m dumb and melodramatic.  As you can probably surmise, I don’t do well with change. It takes a long time for me to process new information and situations.

One day I’ll be happy that we live in Hawaii.  I know this.  I mean, really?  How could you not be happy living in Hawaii?  One day I will pin on a bib on a warm morning, thank the heavens that my fingers and toes aren’t frozen into icicles and run near the crashing waves of the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  One day I’ll run the rolling hills near Diamond Head and receive a flower lei in lieu of a medal.  One day I’ll find comfort in the salty sea air.

One day.

But until that day arrives, be prepared to read some first class whining.  I may not be special, but I am a remarkable complainer.


4 responses

  1. Oh, I love this post so hard. I would like to give it a big hug! I love love love hearing about your deep appreciation for running. (Poo poo on all those who take their runs for granted!)

    And holy wow! 4 minutes off in a few weeks time! What’d you do during those weeks? I don’t know how many more races you have planned before you head for the island, but way to go out with a bang! That’s an awesome time and one I hope to earn myself one day. (You know, if I ever race again. Waaah!)*

    • I know you can totally understand/relate. It’s hard finding your groove in a new place….especially in a foreign country with races 4+ hours a way. This sounds so dumb,but I really don’t know how/why I started to run faster. I honestly don’t run THAT much. I really do prefer group fitness classes, so I worked running around the classes and set aside one weekend day for a ‘long run.’. There is a long climbing hill near my gym so twice a week or so, I’d run up the hill and back down to practice hill training. The best thing I ever did was ditch my Garmin; not worrying about pace really made me enjoy running a whole lot more.

      I hope you find a race SOON. I’m done racing here, with nothing on the calendar for quite some time, I fear; I definitely feel your pain! Waaaaahhhhh!!!

  2. Congratulations! I’ve said it once . . . maybe twice and I’ll say it again, I want to be you when I grow up! I wish I had the passion to run, I’m envious of people who enjoy it so much like you. I want to enjoy it, but I just don’t. Boo. I do enjoy cookies and soft chewy bagels though, luckily we just went to the bakery yesterday and I can enjoy both today! I’m excited to read about your salty air and crashing wave runs so I can be envious of you once more. XOXO


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