I did it. I actually did it and now it’s all over. After 26 weeks of training and getting up at 5am to run before my sleeping family opens their eyes, I ran every step of the way of the Cleveland Half Marathon yesterday morning. That is 13.1 miles through our great city and surrounding neighborhoods.
Not that I had any doubts in my mind I could do it. My sister, a more experienced and seasoned runner, had a plan and prepared me well (see previous blog: Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned in Running (so far)). I went from running my first run at 2 miles (I was struggling!) way back in November, to peaking at 15 miles two weeks ago. She kicked my butt for the past 6-8 weeks with hill workouts and I run up those hills yesterday like a champ. I knew I was more than prepared when we chit chatted the entire race while others around us were red, sweaty and huffing. I silently said a “thank you” to Lisa for not letting me talk myself out of doing the runs I should have done.
The race day adrenaline rush I felt carried to me to my best mile pace I’ve ran to-date. I left everything out there on the road and finished with a 9:58 per mile time. Over the course of my long mileage training, I was average around 10:22 per mile and my goal for the half marathon was to keep it under 10:15. My brother-in-law, who was there with a sign to cheer us on, challenged me to keep it under 9:59 and I did. We held steady the entire first 10 miles around 10:05, picked it up around miles 10 and 11, and we literally booked it mile 12. I’m pretty sure I thought I wasn’t going to make it and I ran that last mile in 9:01. I had nothing left in me, as it should be.
My favorite part of the day, besides sprinting side-by-side with my sister across the finish line, was how alive Cleveland was yesterday. There were 30,000 runners and thousands of spectators pumped and ready to conquer the city. There were street vendors and live music along the trail. People volunteering to pass out water to us and so many faces with signs and words of encouragement. Cleveland was a great place to be and the sun was shining down on us the whole morning.
I’m not sure. I know I want to keep running, at least for now. After the crazy spring I just had, I would love nothing more than to sit everyday on my couch and do nothing…but I am in the best cardio shape of my life and I’d hate to see that all just dwindle away. And it’s something I am able to do first thing when I get up and start my day off right. I’d like to maybe run another half marathon at some point this summer because it was such a blast and I was able to handle the training without too much of a problem. Lisa is (convincingly) trying to get me run a fall Full Marathon, which will take a huge time commitment and plenty of self-discipline. I will need to dig so deep and find 26.2 miles inside of me somewhere. I have a few weeks to contemplate this and make a decision by the end of June of how dedicated I am to training for a full marathon.
But for now, I will lace up my sneakers and hit the road.
(Photos courtesy of “be curious.” by Lisa Brown)