Oh my… that’s quite a game face.
For my 5th Half Marathon, I decided to register for the Fleet Feet Chicago Women’s Half Marathon. It was a hot hot hot day in late June. The last longish run I had done was in the beginning of May, when I completed the Cap City Half in Columbus, OH. For this race, I just wanted to DO it. I wanted to see how I could fare, with less training and no time in mind.
I trained for the Cap City Half. I woke up every Saturday morning, and I met my crew, and I made it through all those long runs with (mostly) a smile on my face. And then I got to race day, and I started, and I felt… totally in my head, and completely, oddly, lonely. It was hot, I felt unprepared, and more than anything, all I wanted to do was beat my time from January’s half and finish under 2:30. And once I got to about Mile 10… I knew I did not have it in me. I ended up finishing at the EXACT same time, down to the second. I felt like, even though my body felt better, I had somehow failed by not improving. It was a bummer.
So when I signed up for the Chi Women’s Half, I wanted to just *feel good* about running again. I wanted to be with people who wanted to run. And I didn’t want to beat myself up for a finishing time. I just wanted to BE there. So I did it. I showed up. And it was hot as blazes that day. The first few miles felt ok. Then it got hotter. And hotter. And hotter still. Now, it was probably only in to the low 80s during this race, but it *felt* hot. Between miles 8-9, I just stopped beating myself up. The race was under a level red weather advisory. At the end of the race, someone told me red level races aren’t even supposed to have clock times. So, about halfway through, I just took the time to run for ME. Not the clock. Not a PR. But for a great experience in Chicago.
2 hours, 50 minutes and 29 seconds later, I completed by 5th half. I had some ice cream, I went back to talk to Chuck, the world’s best course marshall, not to mention running coach, and then I watched everyone else finished. I watched those women who were acheiving something HUGE. Those women who NEEDED cheering. Those women who though they would not make it, even though they were so close to the finish. And I was once again proud to be a Chicago runner.
After all this, about a month after this race, I was packed in to a UHAUL, and leaving Chicago behind… Geographically, but not in spirit. I have relocated for work, and Monday marks my first “official” 5k back in Ohio. I decided to give myself a little memory of the Chicago Area Runners Association…
And now I have another half in 5 weeks. My training has been inconsistent, but I want to get back on it. Because more than anything else, Running Makes Me a grounded human being.