I ran my first half marathon junior year of high school as a “bandit.” That’s right, I illegally ran the Music City Half for the wager of no track practice for a week. I started on an empty stomach and popped into McDonalds for a sausage biscuit around mile 2. I didn’t look at my end time and I remember not being able to walk for a good three days due to a serious lack of distance training.
It’s no secret that I take things a little more serious now, but the simple love of running hasn’t changed. I still do it “recreationally,” but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have all the same feels and aspirations as the elites. I still strive for greatness in my own measure and unfortunately, inflict on myself the same kind of pressures that they experience.
I went into this half marathon wanting to finally break the time of 1:30 and while this didn’t happen, I am in no way discouraged or upset.
The race started at the Bicentennial Mall in downtown Nashville and was an extremely flat course. From there, I maintained my 6:50 pace with a focussed mind and fluid legs. The only trouble I had was with a relentless Chatty Cathy, who I told politely that I couldn’t talk while racing. I felt a little bad, but wasn’t willing to throw it all away to my habit of people pleasing.
Miles 8-11 were tough.
While watching the youtube of the course, I expected a nice, leisurely stroll along the Cumberland River. What I didn’t realize is that we would be met with unforgiving headwind. Runners were dropping behind like flies.
I spent miles 9 and 10 trying to draft behind a guy who maybe weighed 100 lbs soaking wet. I finally just gave up and told him to get behind me to put my curves and extra 35 lbs to good use. We’ll consider it my charity for the weekend.
Miles 11 and 12 were the hardest.
I was tired from running against the wind and the more my body ached, the more my mind wanted to throw in the towel.
But I didn’t. Mile 12 clocked in at a cringing 7:22 pace, but the fact that I could pull through and bring it back down to 7:06 for 13 was a victory for me in itself.
I finished at 1:30:54. I put my hands up because even though I didn’t meet my goal, I was proud of myself. I have come so far with the help of my coach Chris and BPC and am very thankful for everything I’ve learned through them. My perseverance at the last couple of miles was 100% through prayer and the ability not to rely on my own strength.
I came in 2nd overall female and by far had the best looking cheerleaders waiting for me at the end. My parents, Mark, and my frousin (friend/cousin) Anna entertained me while we waited over an hour for the awards.
Nashville Running Co. donated gift cards, which I spend on some new Oiselle tights a couple hours later. My biggest qualm with this race is that they gave the overall winners $50 and the costume winner $1,000. Priorities, people!
I could dwell at the fact that I have friends who can run 1:25 and 1:26 without breaking a sweat, but I’m just not there and I might never be. But as I quoted on Lauren Fleshman on instgram, “You can’t just make the end goal the thing you’re excited about. You have to take pleasure in the build up.”
A 3 minute PR is a pretty cool step in the right direction and if anything, this race showed me that I can do it. Saturday was just not the day. Parts of it were absolutely miserable, but I had a lot of fun. I’m hopeful for what’s to come because this reiterated how much I love racing.
How did your weekend running go? Did anyone race? NYC?!
Which is worse: hills or headwind?
Have you ever had someone try to talk to you for an entire race? OR Do you like the chat while racing? (no judgement!)
How has your running changed since you first started?