Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 24th, 2010 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I’ve been training for this for 10 months and it was to be the crowning jewel of the year! The hardest thing I’d ever done and after this one, I could hang up my running shoes forever because I had arrived. And no matter what my time was, I would forever and always be my own hero and I would never have to prove myself to anyone! Because if I could complete this run, I was a bona fide bad-ass and would have the medal to prove it!

Such was my dream at the beginning of the year when I subscribed to “Runner’s World” Magazine and set out to train for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in October 2010. It was a lofty dream and I wasn’t positive that I was up to the challenge. All I knew was that I was going to try... And if I failed? Well, I’d fail doing my best and even so, I will have done something that 99% of Americans didn’t even have the sack to attempt.

Well, here I am, at the other end of this dream, this amazing feat, with medal in hand (hanging on the mirror of my dressing table, actually) and it’s time for a little reflection. What did I expect to accomplish, besides the Half Marathon itself?

For one thing, I expected to be done. Done with running. Done with training. Done with researching. Done with reading articles and blogs of better runners to glean whatever tips I could take from them. Done with this fantastic event, that only super heroes do. Done and on to the next thing, for I must always be “Up to something”.

Little did I know that I would be forever changed. I figured I would be changed physically. How can you train all year for a major run and not drop a few pounds and fit better in your jeans? Well, I haven’t dropped any weight, in fact I’m a little heavier. The jeans look fantastic, though.

But that’s not what I mean. As I flip through my journal, browse my own FaceBook page, glance around my bedroom and even my cubicle at work, I’ve discovered that running has become a part of my walk and conversation. It has become a major part of my life. Over the year, I have inadvertently encouraged others do things they’ve never done before. I have become this bigger-than-life person to my kids. I’ve shown myself that I can do anything I commit myself to. I have become this reluctant hero to many people.

And the truth is (DRUM ROLL PLEASE…..):

I suck at it! Really! I’m not being modest. I’m terrible at it. My fastest 5k is 30:00. My fastest 10k is 1:16. My fastest Half Marathon is 2:45. If you know anything about running you know these times are atrocious!!

Before I started training, I wrote a list of things I meant to accomplish. I won’t bore you with that list right now, but I can tell you one thing for sure. “By the end of October, I expect to suck royally at this” appears nowhere on that list!

But to suck so badly at something so grand is an honor and a privilege. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon ended up being my second half marathon of the year. I did the Wounded Warrior Half Marathon last month (yeah, last MONTH!!!). It was surreal to be around so many truly talented runners. I’m just here, in the way, doing my thing whenever I can find the time to bang out a few miles here and there. These people do this for a living and they are masters at their craft!

Here is a picture of a Master! Jacques Sallberg won the race in 1:06. $1,500 for an hour's work? Not too shabby.

We were separated in numbered corrals based on the expected finish time we entered when we registered. I was *waaayyy* back in corral #17 with the slow pokes. Believe it or not there were 4 corrals BEHIND me! The elite runners and the runners in corral #1 were probably coming up on mile 5 before the turtles in #17 even got to the Starting Line.

The course was relatively flat. It got hilly in some places, but for the most part it was really comfortable. Here is the course map:

Right at the beginning of the race, I realized I had forgotten my shades AND my watch. I’d never done a run without shades or a watch, so I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. I wouldn’t be able to time myself effectively so I wouldn’t know how I was doing until the race was over. I had trained all year to go 4 minutes on and 1 minute off and had no way to know when my intervals were up.

There was nothing I could do about that at the time. So all I could do was get started. I wore my cool new headband with the smiley faces on it so I would still have a smile at Mile 10 when I was hitting The Wall.

It was unreal to be running up a freeway onramp in Los Angeles. They cleared part of the freeway for this run! That’s huge! You just don’t do that in Los Angeles unless the President is in town (which is he was on the day I went to the L.A. Convention Center for packet pick-up).

There was nothing at all unpleasant about this run. It was a beautiful morning and the temperature was great. I started the race out in arm warmers but removed them at about mile 9. I expected to hit The Wall, but Mile 10 came and went with no trouble. I knew my form was off but it was good enough to alleviate any back problems so that would be a marked improvement over my last half marathon. Chris was there for me at the end to get the snapshot with my medal. Cheese!

So in the end, the major achievement wasn’t the Half Marathon, but the passion that ensued from training to get there. I never thought I’d get to the end of this journey and find it far from over. I never thought I’d come to love running as I do. I never thought I would come to depend on it to keep me balanced and free from stress. I never thought I’d be so proud to be so bad at it. Cuz as long as you keep moving, you’re good enough!

So for now, I'll be sitting in an ice bath. Then I’ll recover, and it’s off to the next race!


  1. Congrats on your race!
    And I don't think a person who sucks at running could run a half marathon, we all run at different times and you did awesome! :) Plus, you said it yourself that you are inspiring people.

    I like your cool headband by the way!!

  2. Thanks! You're right. I do wish I was better at it, but I am better than when I started and I should be grateful for that.

    I'll have to get the name of the vendor who makes the headbands! They really are great. I also have one from www.goheadband.com and I like these even better and they were more reasonably priced, too!