I don’t know what made me start running a few years back. Maybe it was because I couldn’t run for so long with my old giant boobs? (I had a reduction in 2002) I did the Couch-to-5-K plan to start. Well, technically, I started and stopped a bunch of times, but eventually, I finished it and started running regularly.
I was never a very fast runner, but I liked distances and, for some reason, wanted a medal. I signed up for a half marathon that was set for November of 2007 in New Hampshire. I had stayed pretty true to a schedule I found on Hal Higdon’s website, and was feeling confident that I’d be ready to go in November.
On a trip to Salem, MA, I noticed a sign for the Wicked half that was going to take place in September. I thought “Maybe I’ll be ready by then” and then forgot about it for a bit. I came across the site for the race a week or so before the event and thought… maybe… The night before, I set and alarm and informed my boyfriend at the time that I was thinking about running a half the next day in Salem (even though I had only run 10 miles in a row before) and that as long as I was able to get up (damn you have to get up early on a Saturday for these things), I was doing it. His reply “I guess you’re probably not doing it then, huh?” Well, that sure settled it, I was doing it. “Will you come and watch me cross the finish line?” I asked… the response included excuses about being bored waiting and not wanting to waste the morning, and some other junk. Alright then.
I got up at whatever ungodly hour it was, put on my running gear, and headed to Salem. I wasn’t sure if I had what I needed, or too much, or what the hell I was really doing. I brought some safety pins to pin money, my car key, and my bib to my shirt, a sweat shirt in case it was cold, and my iPod (I know, I know, you’re not supposed to). I signed up and had a long wait for the start. My bib number was 420. I took that as a good sign because I was currently involved in a production of Reefer Madness. “I think I’m going to finish this thing”.
Towards the beginning of the race, I tried to keep up with a group that seemed to be going a steady pace, but ended up falling behind along the way. WHY didn’t anyone remind me how many friggen hills are in Salem and Marblehead?! Oh right, because I only told one person I was even doing it.
The course was a loop around, so I figured since we ran UP so many hills, the second half would be easier. Not really. I don’t think I remember running down hill for the entire race. At one point, I ran around a corner and was faced with another giant hill. I said, apparently out loud “oh, what the fuck!”. The man next to me said “SERIOUSLY?!?!” At least I wasn’t alone.
It wasn’t all bad. It was a very pretty course with lots of cheering stations around. I discovered that gatorade and that goo stuff really do help.
I crossed the finish line in a respectable amount of time for someone that didn’t train enough and I wasn’t even close to being the last one. It was exciting and then kind of disappointing realizing I had no one there to share my victory with. I grabbed a bagel and got in my car.
I drove to visit my dad at work to show him my medal. It was a long ride to Natick and a painful exit from the car once I got there (Oh why didn’t I stretch!?). “Dad, I got a medal today for running a half marathon!”. “Oh cool… wait, what?” (I have to mention my dad was very proud once I explained and he was happy that my first stop after was to show him the medal)
I’m very proud of my half. I had come a long way from not being able to run for 2 minutes at a time. Also, due to a knee injury, I didn’t get to do the half I signed up for that November… lame.
I just finished week 4 of the C25K program, and I really am looking forward to just running. My goal is to run in the Wicked Half again this fall, but to be more prepared. I’ll get there. It’s getting easier.