The nerves were on high alert this morning. I think they were as stunned by the 4 a.m. wake-up as I was. So they woke up and started buzzing about, making my stomach churn and my breath catch.
The early hour was due to a little whim of fancy that caught me last week when I heard there was a half marathon scheduled for August 25 at Boulder Reservoir. I’ve been running during our stay here in Colorado, but I haven’t been training for a half. My typical schedule has me on several 13 to 14 milers in the month before race day. My longest run since May was an 11 miler . . . just last week. Despite my lack of preparation, I thought running a half here with the mountainous backdrop would be magical, so I registered.
Sometime Friday the doubts moved in. What if the hilly course zaps me and I can’t finish? What if I run my worst time ever? What if the heat is too much for me?
The 4 a.m. nerves only magnified the doubts. Fun times.
Praise music helped—Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthroned on the praises of His people, and my heart is always comforted when I remember that God is worthy of all praise and is bigger than anything I will face in my day.
Still, when I gathered at the start with my fellow racers, the doubts and nerves were right there with me. [sigh.] My thoughts were still in high gear, having morphed into a bit of self-pity, as if someone else had forced me to sign up for a race that I wasn’t ready for. Not a good way to start a race.
I looked to the mountains, willing myself to remember that I chose this—no one was making me do it. So I began to remember, to recount, my choice and all that goes into it. I am free in this country to register for a race and run. As a female, I am able to run and train on my own with little fear for personal safety. I am healthy enough to jump into a half marathon that I haven’t really trained for with only a little bit of concern that it will hurt.
After all this recounting, the summation was this: I get to run.
What a difference that sort of thinking makes! It didn’t make the race any easier—it was hilly, and hot, and the air felt a bit thin. But I kept focusing on all I get to do, running being just one of the many privileges I have been granted in this life.
In the last few miles of the race, there was no shade or breeze, but plenty of sun. I was roasting! But I got to grab water from the Hubster, who was working the final water station at mile 12 with his coach and the other runners from Hudson Training System. He encouraged me and cheered me on, which meant so much! I still had to walk a bit in the final mile, but I still finished the race in 2 hours, 2 seconds.
No one forced me to run for two hours. I chose to. I got to give it a go, despite the sun, the hills, and the lack of preparation. And I survived!
Take that, nerves and doubts.
196th out of 579
gun time 2:00:26 | chip time 2:00:02 | average pace 9:12
80th female | 10th in age group
check out the mile-by-mile details (splits, course map, elevation change)