|Final straight away, I was loving life 2013 RNR|
Finishing that half marathon was really a game changer for me. Previous to that race I had only run 5 miles. Yes, you read that right, 5 miles (of which I actually only ran about 3 miles and walked the other 2). Maybe I was crazy or maybe somehow deep down I knew I could do it, but whatever the case may be, I showed up that morning and finished all 13.1 of those miles. It wasn't graceful and I struggled quite a bit but I made it. I crossed that finish line, gathered my spoils and celebrated quietly with myself as I realized I had no one there that day to share this moment with. I was so afraid of not finishing and being embarrassed that I didn't tell anyone what I was doing. Knowing that I did it all by myself pushed me far beyond my comfort zone and was truly a brand new start for me. That day, I realized that I could conquer anything.
|A random stranger I cheered on last year|
As you can imagine, I've been looking forward to my rematch with the Rock N Roll ever since then. In the days leading up to the race I shared as much wisdom as I could with my friends who would be taking this on as their first half marathon. I bubbled with excitement as my friends now shared the same passion and zeal for running that I have. I've turned them into race junkies. The day before the race I met up with Abby and Ashley at the expo to get our bibs then headed back to their place for a pre-race dinner. We feasted and relaxed while watching a League of Their Own then went to bed early to get enough rest before the race. The next morning we all checked and rechecked our gear on the way downtown. As we approached the starting corrals I got message after message from various friends all trying to find each other to offer good luck wishes.
|Almost to the starting line|
Sam found us as we were taking some pictures and downing our chia seed gels. She made a last minute decision to do the half marathon instead of the 5k. I assured her that I would stay with her every step of the way, no one gets left behind. There was some nervous energy as we all made our way gradually to the starting line and once that countdown hit 0 Abby and Ashley were off. As much as I would have liked to be with them for their first half, I knew Sam and I just couldn't keep that pace up for the whole race. We glided through the first few miles with no problem. Somewhere along the tunnels though my GPS got a bit wonky and started giving us some erroneous mileage reports. We thought we had run our fastest 5k ever until we reached the 5k sign some ways later and realized it was a trick Nike+ was playing on us. I wasn't able to get it calibrated back to our actual course so my results for the race, while really amazing, unfortunately aren't accurate.
|Photos courtesy of Zenaida|
After about mile 7 or 8 I started to lose steam which is the norm for me. I battle through those middle miles up to mile 10 and then get my second win to finish strong. With Sam, I had no idea what her pace or energy levels would be like so I tried to keep it as even as possible and take walk breaks whenever necessary. When we hit the turn from 31st onto Lake Shore going south I saw Zenaida who cheered me on and snapped a few pictures of me. I needed that little boost as we were really starting to wane. This was a tough spot for Sam, she thought from 31st we turned north to head back towards the finish line. That loop down before coming back up to the 10 mile mark was a little rough. It also doesn't help that before you get to that point you already hear the announcer saying "3 more miles" and then can still hear him a mile later when you approach 11. It's like that 10th mile lasts forever.
|Coming out of the McCormick Tunnel|
|Me, Abby and Ashley|
Johnny (Abby's husband) was there to congratulate us and also look for Ashley. We regrouped after getting through the finishers chute and Abby told me how the race went for her. Finally we found Ashley on the other side of the crowd trying to rehydrate after losing so many fluids the last few miles. She had gotten really sick and couldn't keep anything down after mile 10. They headed back to the car and I stuck around to get some more pictures and look for other friends. I wanted to soak up as much of that moment as possible.
|Happy Finisher Face!|
|The look of pure accomplishment...Congrats Sam!!!!|