What’s a girl to do when she has 13.1 miles ahead of her and (cumulatively) about 13.1 miles from training? Give herself incentives to keep going.
And that, my friends, is exactly what I did last weekend during the Nike Womens Half Marathon. I knew that there was a Tiffany box waiting for me at the finish line, but 13 miles is still a lot (no but really. like, a LOT). In the spirit of documenting my first (and only, probably) half marathon and entertaining myself along the course, I decided to take a selfie with every mile marker, no matter how haggard I looked or felt. So, I present to you: #annerunsarace
If we’re being honest, my only goal was not to be airlifted/diverted out of the race. I let myself walk (though I tried not to) when needed. My 5k wasn’t my fastest, and neither was my 10k, but I am ok with that. I am ok with this because my training regimen was less than stellar (unlike my forever friend Katie who was a rockstar with her training), because who likes to run in the snow and the ice and when you get home from work at 9 p.m. (excuses, I know. sigh). I ran a few more times over the course of four months than I would have otherwise, and did learn things not to do during the race–try to run with no music (I know runners can run without music and I am the worst but I don’t think my brain can get to that place), run on no water, run hungover…the list goes on. Every time, I had nightmarish flashbacks of the 5k I
ran participated in 1998 with my dad, a Walk for the Cure where I was insistent upon walking and/or being carried by Jon. Jon, a tireless runner, was less than pleased I’m sure to be carrying dead weight on his shoulders for three miles. And, unfortunately, I knew he would not be there to carry me through 13 (though he did send me some bizarre texts around mile 11 comparing the pain of running to pregnancy).
The first five miles were almost, almost an out of body experience. I kept running. Because I wanted to. It was very strange, but I was pretty impressed with myself. There were so many spectators with awesome signs (“pain is only temporary, Tiffany’s lasts forever”) and other runners cheering that I didn’t want to stop. Running through the tunnel at the very beginning was awesome, because everyone was so excited and bands were playing (and selfies were taken, of course). The atmosphere was just exhilarating.
But, all good things must come to an end, and that happened at mile six. Miles six through 10 I barely remember because I was just so miserable. This is the part of the course that goes around Hains Point, the worst island (it’s not actually an island but it feels like one) in DC. I was actually going to do one of my practice runs around Hains Point a few weekends ago, before being severely diverted by cherry blossom tourists and subsequently getting lost by the waterfront and ultimately giving up and going to yoga instead.
After mile 10, 3.1 miles seemed so much more attainable. I was totally going to make it under my goal time, even though my legs hurt and my knees hurt and my hip flexers were protesting every step. Once I escaped Hains Point, I knew I could make it. Whole Foods stepped in to give me some chocolate, which I grasped daintily at either end of the wrapper so not to make it melt during the last two miles. This is when I began frantically texting everyone (yes, while running) proclaiming that I would never do this ever again and I was never running again and hey wait maybe I will make it out alive and I am so close to the finish now and YOU GUYS I just crossed the finish line here is a selfie .
Chocolate has never tasted so good.
If you subtract the 15 minutes I waited in the longest bathroom line in America, which I am, I came in just under three hours–not a winning time by any means, but look…I did not get airlifted. And that is a win in my book any day.
Editor’s note: I never could have made it without these ladies: