I hope you all are having a great week! How sad that’s it taken me so long to write about my half marathon. It’s really ironic that I am working on this post about my half marathon experience because one of my best friends is trying to convince me to a FULL marathon next year. That’s 26.2 miles. DISGUSTING!
I’m not saying “disgusting” because my half marathon training was bad. It was one of the best experiences of life. I’m saying “disgusting” because it was a commitment.
Hal Higdon is the GREATEST resource for any runner today, especially the novice ones who refuse group training. Every detail of every day is outlined according to distance or work out, rest, a race, etc. Leave it to me though to customize it a little bit.
The first suggested race is a 5K or 3.2 miles. Oh, that’s too easy. I needed a challenge. I was already running a 3 miles a day and longer distances on the weekend, I could do more than that, which is why, when my friends suggested we run the Tour de Fleurs, I was all for it.
Tour de Fleurs is a race in Dallas that raises money for the Dallas Aboretum, a beautiful botanical garden in an “old” part of Dallas. The garden is near White Rock Lake, which is also a very historical part of the city as well. Runners have the option of either a 10K or 20K. My friends and I chose the 10K.
It was the first race that I ever participated in. I didn’t really struggle on anything. I kept a good pace and crossed the finish line with pride, as The Boy waited, cheering me on.
After TDF, I was pumped up for the rest of my training. I ran another race, The Vineyard Run, in Grapevine with some other friends of mine a few weeks later.
Before I knew it, it was time for the BIG RACE.
December came pretty quickly. As recommended by good ol Hal, I ran my longest distance, 10 miles (or was it 11) the weekend before my race. I ran around White Rock Lake, plus an additional mile. I knew I was ready to go. Spaghetti dinner was my dinner the Friday before my race at my brother’s birthday party. That’s when it started, the rumors of nasty weather that was forecasted on that Sunday.
Local meteorologist talked about the weather and kind of discouraged people from running. You see, White Rock Marathon is a HUGE race in Dallas that raises money for Scottish Rite Hospital. The whole city would be featured on 13.1 or 26.2 miles of beautiful, scenic route. It’s broadcasted LIVE on a local news station because several elite runners qualify for Boston and New York through this race. BIG. DEAL.
My alarms went off. I woke up, put on my race gear that was already laid out and headed outside. It was drizzling…cold and drizzling. The drive didn’t make it any better. It started raining harder. Oh lord. We arrived at Fair Park, parked and headed to the waiting/prep area.
Thousands of runners and family members were there, putting on their bibs and socks, taping up their chins, ankles and hamstrings, programming their iPods and music players for the long day ahead.
Some racers adorned Olympic gear. Whoa. I was a part of an elite group of people. MetroPCS was handing out panchos and gloves. I was sure to grab them.
We headed to the race start line, all 20,000 of us, and waited in the rain. The one downfall with the race of that magnitude is that it takes literally 30 minutes for the “average” runners to actually begin. So annoying. Super duper annoying.
AND THEY’RE OFF. (CUE THE RAIN.)
I started running. It started raining. I ran faster. It rained harder.
Mile 2. Still raining.
Runners around me start to run slower.
Mile 3. Torrential down pour. Water stop.
Mile 4…until the end. It rained, rained and rained. On McKinney Avenue around Sfuzzi, I threw off the gloves, as they were drenched.
Mile 6ish was Turtle Creek all the way up through Highland Park. That was the moment I learned Turtle Creek was up hill. I ran hills before. The Vineyard Run had killer hills. But these hills, on top of the rain beating down on my already soaked poncho, were just, well, bad.
Fellow half-marathoners around me started to slow down. Some even started walking. You could just sense the air of defeat in the atmosphere. No, Victoria. Don’t give up. Just keep going. You’re more than half way done.
At some mile marker on Greenville Avenue, the race splits. Marathoners go left and halfers go right. I paused for a second and just thought what would it be like it I turned left. Oh, another time.
I would love the say the rain let up. It didn’t. Around mile 10, I called The Boy from this trusty MetroPCS phone station, and told him where I was. It was nice to hear his voice.
Back to the street I went. Feet to pavement. I remember around this point, one of the race attendees, saying “you only have a 5K left…just 3 miles or to the end.” He was right. I had been running 3 miles just for exercise. I would be a piece of cake.
And then it rained the hardest of the entire race. From mile 11 to around 13, I could barely see in front of me. My legs were numb. One lady started crying next to me. “C’mon Victoria,” I kept saying to myself. “Just keep running. You can do it.”
Around the same time that I was motivating myself, the marathoners joined us in the route. They were, of course, wearing nothing compared to my completely covered, multi-layered body. Sprinting around the corner, these amazing men and women had already run 24 miles. They were experiencing a whole different level of pain. Their skin, versus my dry fit pants, was dripping with water and sweat. Some of them had red legs. Some of them looked like they were going to pass out. Bottom line is that they were STILL running faster than me!
If they can do it, so can I.
I gathered up all the strength I had left and literally sprinted the last 2 miles. It ran the fastest I could. It rained the hardest I had that day.
I saw the finish line in the distance and immediately started shedding clothes. I refused to wear my poncho in my “finished” photo.
Pushing through the pain, motivated by the cheers of my boo and family standing on the sideline, I fist pumped as I crossed the finish line.
I DID IT.
The race volunteers gave me one of those aluminum foil cover things as soon as I finished. What is the purpose of those again because I was still cold? Following the crowd, I slowly walked to the hall where they took pictures and gave us our medal.
Finally, I get my medal. I didn’t linger in their long for I wanted to see everyone who came out to support me, especially my amazing boyfriend who waited in the pouring rain and cold for nearly 7 hours for me to finish. LOVE.
A few tears gathered in my eyes as I thought about what I had just accomplished. I remembered every mile, every moment as I walked back to the car. Wow, I really can’t believe I just did that.
My fam, NOLA and I met up at Maple & Motor after the race for some delicious hamburgers. Everyone was so proud of me. I honestly think no one really thought I could finish it. Hehe! They would never admit that though.
Fellow runners were also there with their families celebrating their fantastic feat. Congratulations buzzed in the air as each new half or full marathoner walked in. I was a part of an elite group of individuals. We ran. It rained. We conquered.
Training and running a half marathon was already an amazing journey. Running it in those conditions was a test of not only my physical training, but my mental training. I could have not shown up. I could have just forfeited the $100 like a lot of other runners did. I could have walked 10 miles instead of running.
Nope, I didn’t do any of that. In the end, it was honestly my mental training that carried me to the finish line. I have never been so motivated to complete something in my entire life, even my MBA. That accomplishment deserved every 1,614 words of this post.
An entire year has elapsed since my race. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I honestly just got over my hatred of rain like 4 months ago. Now that I’ve finished, soaked in Epsom salt and iced my entire body down for hours, I really feel like I can do anything now. Nothing is out of reach. Anything is attainable with hard work and perseverance. No matter what is thrown my way, I can beat it.
Next stop? Full marathon? 26.2 miles? Maybe….