I chose a half because the 13.1 distance is my happy distance. It's not too short, but just long enough for me to really push myself, surpassing boundaries I think can't be won. I trained for twelve weeks for the Rock N Roll Raleigh half marathon. I constantly worried my leg (which has still never felt completely back to normal since my stress fracture) would not allow me to run long distances again. Even though I'm only soon-to-be 29, my body often feels as though it wants to rebel against me. I feel every twitch, twinge, and soreness. This made the process of training and racing more emotional for me. Initially I hoped for a PR, but with injury pains lingering, I settled for my goal to be simply to finish the race.
This race felt like more than just a big fuck you to a past injury. It was at home. I feel in love with running in Raleigh. I truly fell in love with this sport in my town. My favorite weekend includes an early morning run on the greenway with a view of the Raleigh skyline. Running has made me who I am today. It has made more confident and proud woman. This race felt so close to my heart being in Raleigh. This is my city. My running city. It was a redemption race. The was the day after my mom's birthday. It was the race I worked so hard for. Rock N' Roll Raleigh would make or break me.
In the days before the race, my leg was feeling a little "off" but it wasn't an injured typed of feeling. I left home feeling so grateful for this chance. The opportunity to run a half healthy, in my city, with D at the finish line was what I had been working towards. It was a gorgeous day. The temps were in the 50s for the start of the race, and the sun was shining. Regardless of my nerves and anxiety, I felt ready.
The sun was beaming down on me. The hills were plentiful and intense. My mantra was to make the hills my bitch, and I did. I ran up every damn one of them and did not walk. I was hot. I was exhausted. My knee started hurting around mile 5. At mile 10, I didn't even want to think about running another 5k, yet something kept me going. My love for running? My will to succeed and achieve? The fact that I would never forgive myself for giving up? All of it. I never gave up. I may have walked two times, but I ran with all my heart for the last 1.1 miles. I achieved something that I worked so desperately hard for. I accomplished something I've been waiting over a year to come to fruition. I pushed myself. When I wanted to give up, I pushed even harder. This race reminded me why love running. I am able to prove to myself that this is me: a strong woman who doesn't give up on what she sets her mind to.
I had D to meet me at the finish line, which makes a race a million times better. I'm so grateful I had him there to give me a big hug and congratulate me. It never would have been the same without him there. We spent the morning enjoying brunch, bloodys, and beer. What made this crazy, hard, perfect, race even better?
An unintentional PR (oh, and no post-race chafing!)! My official time was 2:36:36, and I couldn't be more proud of myself. My original PR was on an almost completely flat course in the Outer Banks. This record was achieved post-injury, with a sore knee, and run in the heat and over a million hills. Rock N Roll was the redemption race I needed. I'm almost scared to even think about running another half because it will never be like this one…almost.
What's your next race?