I ran my fourth Ocean City half marathon on Saturday. I was inspired in December by two friends from college. We collaboratively agreed that we should run it together. It would be fun. Yes, it’s fun to run for two hours when you have kids. No one bothers you!! Mommy’s quiet time. Alone on the road with my thoughts. Ahh, two hour meditation in motion. So I decide it’s time to start distance running again. One of the reasons I train for races is I have no discipline without a structured schedule. Do I feel like running today? I ask myself. Nah. So I don’t. But if I have 3, 5, 0r 8miles, etc. penciled in on the calendar, I will do it come rain or treadmill or baby jogger. So I started running more than three miles at a time in January. (See my last blog. I ran 10 miles in October. After that race, I once again resorted to running no more than a few miles here and there because I didn’t have to!). I did a few 5 miles runs in Florida, where we were vacationing in January. It felt great. I decided to pull out my half marathon training schedule in February and really get goal oriented. That would give me three months to train for the half marathon, April 27th. So I started plotting through my schedule. March came along and I decided I should really commit soon! I sat down April 1st and saw that the early bird registration ended that night. That was my incentive. I registered!
April came. Some days I had really great euphoric, I can conquer the world, endorphin educed running highs. Other days I lacked motivation to tie my shoes and thought it was all a mistake. I started increasing mileage as the weeks passed. By mid April, I was up to 10 miles at a time, around 20 mile total weeks. Then something new happened. My foot hurt. The ball of my right foot. This was a new thing. In the past, maybe my knee or hip felt twinged, but my foot has never hurt. I thought it might be that I was training in new shoes. I thought of anything that may help. A pedicure, massage, (neither of which have happened) different stride, different shoes. Two more weeks passed and it hurt on long runs. When I stopped running, it was fine. When I ran more than 4 or 5 miles, it hurt. I got to my last long slow distance (LSD) week, one week before the race. I went down the basement and pulled out my old shoes (one year since they have been worn). I decided to wear them for the 12 mile run instead of the $155 shoes I just bought, since I thought the new shoes might be the culprit. I ran 12 miles in the old shoes. Besides an occasional discomfort, my foot was not too bad. So I decided to wear the old shoes in the race.
Friday morning came. I hadn’t run much that week. Partly because I thought I had done enough training and wanted a break and partly because I wanted to rest my foot. It rained on Tuesday. Oh well, I thought! I have errands to run. I’d rather do that than run on the treadmill. Thursday came. (I usually run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. The race was Saturday). I tried to do a loop around my neighborhood just to give the new shoes one last chance. My foot hurt again! So I went back home and put on the old shoes and went for a three mile jog with the baby jogger. I felt pretty good in the second mile, and then regretted the decision to run in the third mile. I wanted rest. Friday I surfed. I should have rested, but the waves were good. Then I taught yoga. Then I went home and baked for three hours since I was having my son’s birthday party Sunday afternoon. I wanted to lay down and rest, but I had too much to do. Friday night I went to get my race packet with my sons. Then we went to the beach. The waves were still good. I watched four of my friends paddle out. I sat on the beach with my boys and felt a calmality. A peace. I wanted to surf, but didn’t have a babysitter, and also knew that I needed to rest. I wanted to set a personal record for the half marathon, finishing under two hours. A woman I met that week told me that there were pacers this year. So when I picked up my packet I spoke with the two hour pacer. I was looking forward to having someone to race with since the friends that originally wanted to run with me hadn’t trained and weren’t racing.
Friday night we get home from the beach late. I wanted to be in bed at 9, so I could be well rested and get up by 5:30a.m. With dinner, baths, etc. the boys were in bed around 8:30p.m. and I went to bed after 9p.m. I set my alarm for 5:30a.m. As I was falling asleep, I was planning what I would wear. I could do my hair in pigtails, or braids, or a headband…something fun……….. My husband is tapping me at 6:10a.m. Oh Sh*! The alarm didn’t go off! The race starts at 7a.m. I leap out of bed, make coffee, toast, and am in my car at 6:30a.m. eating breakfast. Oops. So much for optimal digestion two hours before a race. I am debating whether to drive downtown and park on the street (paid) or go to Seacrets (free) where buses would take me to the start. The last bus leaves at 6:45a.m. I might just make it! I get there at 6:45, run across the street, and there’s a line of people waiting to get on the bus. We arrive downtown at 6:58a.m. I find the bus to throw my checked bag in, hit the potty, and find the pacer just before my son’s teacher sings the National Anthem. Everything went very, very smoothly! Considering I had been awake less than an hour. I even contemplate running with the 1:45, or 1:55 group. Maybe I can do better than I thought! Nah, just stick to the plan, I think. The two hour pacer that I had spoke with yesterday had her hair in pigtails, a peace headband, a skort, and knee high hot pink socks. Exactly how I imagined I would look, but didn’t due to my tardy start!
The weather was so perfect-50, no wind, and clear. We paced just under two hours the whole time. The pacer was talking, cheerful, friendly, and fun. All the ladies I ran with were. It made for a pleasant run. Talking and enjoying the entire time. Around the middle of the run, one of my students called my name. I hadn’t seen her since she was behind me and didn’t know or see who was all with the two hour pacer. We ended up running ahead the last mile and finishing together. I ran a 1:57:51. Nine minute miles. I had reached my goal, and felt fantastic the whole time. No pain. My foot felt a little sore here and there, but not bad at all. The next days I also felt fine. I am so grateful that I followed through with my goal. Maybe next year I’ll set a new one.