journey toward a half marathon

Runners are tall and thin and wear short shorts and visors. They have strange contraptions for drinking water and wear big watches. Runners breeze past me as I jog at a snail’s pace.

So basically, I’m not a runner. A jogger, maybe, but not a real runner.

Am I?

Up until last November I had never run a race longer then 4.2 miles (Pat’s Run). For some reason, around my 26th birthday, I began having hallucinations about completing a half marathon. I call these inklings hallucinations because that’s how unrealistic it seemed that I would ever actually pursue this. Because every time I went running, all I could think about was stopping.

Nevertheless, with the support of my friend Bailey (a real runner, she’s done marathons – plural), we began training together for a half marathon about a year ago. We had the best of intentions, but the problem was as life got busier, training got more demanding. We both realized about halfway through training that it wasn’t a good idea to attempt the race. We instead opted for a 10-mile race that was going to be held around the same time.

After the 10-miler I was really sore and really tired. And really mad at myself for not working a little harder and going for the half. A few months later, when I got an e-mail announcing the Rock N Roll marathon in San Diego, I decided to try again.

Training for the half was more successful than before, I think in part because I told everyone I encountered about it. I made myself so damn accountable that even my coworkers were tracking my mileage.

In the month before the race I ran into a few challenges that almost threw me off course again (two puns, both intended). My hip started bugging me, work got painfully busy and I caught a cold. I thought, several times, that this was not meant to be. The difference was that I knew better than to come this close and bail again.

The race was about a week and a half ago and I’m still amazed – and thrilled – that it happened. It was a struggle, no glossing over that, but what a rush to cross the finish line.

Bailey stayed with me every step of the way – bless her heart. I had some moments of serious whining and self doubt but refused not to finish.

Revelations? 1. Can’t shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocabulary. 2. Anyone can be a runner. 3. Your time doesn’t really matter, you just ran 13 miles. 4. A race expo for 45,000 people is completely overwhelming. 5. Medals are the new black.

I was astounded by the array of people participating in the race. The Rock N Roll series is hugely popular and for good reason. There’s so much going on throughout the course, and so much support, there were actually moments I forgot what I was doing. I saw people of all ages/shapes/sizes/abilities/whatnot along the course. I started to have the heartwarming epiphany that not only was I NOT going to finish last out of 45,000, but if all these people were runners, maybe I was too? *Cue emotional acoustic interlude*

Thanks Dan and Jenny for meeting me at mile 11, I definitely needed the encouragement. Thanks Jimmy for coming with and carting me around. Love you all.

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4 thoughts on “journey toward a half marathon

  1. jessica – you continue to amaze me with your wit and infinite talents. wanna run again in november? i just heard that there is a half-marathon in town … you could be my inspiration! xo, zoee

  2. The race photos turned out great, you look determined, and you were. I love your insight about the experience, and yes, you are a runner! Or you can use the term Amber came up with to describe us folks with a 10:30+ pace: Sloggers, or slow joggers. I am incredibly proud of you for setting a goal and accomplishing it. I am also honored to have experienced your first half with you and hope that we can eventually do that mud run… after all, it will only be 6 miles. 😉

  3. I love your writing!!! You are a wonderful, witty,
    story teller. And of course, Congratulations all around for ALL the new things you are doing in your life including the fabulous 1/2 marathon completion. Yipee!!

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