It would have been my last 30-something birthday and my friend wanted to do another half marathon. I agreed to participate as long as it was a destination. I just completed my first half marathon at Walt Disney World. It hurt. I didn’t plan on doing another one. I have done runs in the Bay Area and it didn’t feel like an adventure. It felt like it was just something I had to get out of the way that day. We signed up and we started training.
This particular friend and I have only ran together once. I ran poorly with her right after my first half and I didn’t take my training as seriously this time around. I wasn’t aiming to achieve a certain time per mile. I just wanted to complete it. And I did!
We didn’t have to start around 5 AM like we did at Walt Disney World. We took off from the starting line at probably about 8 AM. By that time, the sun has risen and the wait to go made you even more anxious to just start and get it over with. Watching the many other groups take off from the starting line was broadcasted over large screens and you could see the steam released above the arc in the distance.
It was eventually our time to go and I started out at a very slow pace but kept it consistent throughout. When I had to overtake runners, I pushed. When I wanted to enjoy the scenery, use caution on gravel roads and take my time up the hills, I just kept moving forward. I showed up, I traveled across countries and the Atlantic Ocean for this and I knew I was going to finish. There was no rush.
At mile 7, I thought, “Oh, maybe I will do another half marathon.” A few weeks before, I couldn’t even complete five miles without stopping. I walked home from Castro Valley frustrated. Then two weeks later, I did a 10K. At mile 9, I thought, “Oh, hell no. I’m not doing another half.” I haven’t ran since my 39th birthday on September 22nd and I still do not want to do another half.
I was surprised that I didn’t stop at all on my first half marathon. This time, I stopped for Powerade. I also stopped to help my friend who didn’t laugh when I grabbed her ass as I ran by and said “Go Team!” She was not in good spirits and she was in a lot of pain. So much pain that we had to stop, have her sit down and I tried to get her to breathe with me. Trying not to panic myself, tears flowed out of my eyes and I was really concerned. Other runners stopped to ask if we needed help. I asked a few people to send a medic. Another runner even offered his inhaler and she took a few puffs. We eventually got her back on her feet and we headed towards the finish line. We were literally a quarter mile from the finish line. Once I saw it in view and she was walking, I told her I would meet her there and I ran it out.
She made it, we got our medals and our goodie bags to refuel and we headed off to the see medic. Her vitals were taken and she eventually calmed down. Then it was all smiles.
When I couldn’t run anymore, I listened to my body. My friend listened to hers and she still crossed that finish line. I would still consider that a success.
As a finisher of two half marathons in one year with RunDisney, I got an extra medal – “Castle to Chateau.” I love it and it is happily displayed at home.