This past weekend, I (Mary) ran the Rock N Roll half marathon in DC. It has been a journey with a story if you will bare with me. Those who know me know that I live for running. Last year a silly fall left me with a severely sprained ankle with bruised bones that put me out for an entire race season (with dreams of a half marathon PR up in smoke). I have been anxious to get back in the saddle this spring and summer and signed up for 3 races right off the bat this spring. I even joined a training group that has brought me some new running partners and loads of encouragement. A month before the first race planned, I started having severe quad pain that would sometimes leave me unable to move. I started panicking...please Lord don't let me miss another race season! I saw the doctor who diagnosed me with knee bursitis, an inflammation in the knee that causes strain on the quad muscles...the cure: rest, ice, massage. I did lots of that and also received a cortisone shot to help with the pain and inflammation. I didn't run for a week. So here I was 2 weeks out from the Rock n Roll half, nursing this pain, and seeing my PR dreams disappearing again as the 3 races come up. I don't race for fun...I race to beat my times! I was mentally struggling. The last 2 weeks I had to cut out training runs, decrease my speed, and spent every mile focusing on how to run for fun. That sounds silly, I know, but it is a true retraining of the mind for me. But I got there! I was committed to going into this race for the love of running. I wasn't going to watch my GPS watch, I was going to watch the scenery and take in the atmosphere and just get another race under my belt. So Saturday morning arrives!
My ride was picking me up at 5:15am, I wake up at 5:20 am (NO JOKE). Good thing I am OCD about preparing the night before as I threw on my set out outfit, grabbed my already packed bag, and kissed my wonderful husband who jumped out of bed to make me breakfast while I flew around the house and made it out the door in 5 minutes (good thing my ride was 5 minutes late!). So I was already frazzled. We had just enough time to drive into DC, take the metro, use the porta-a-potties and WHAT, is that the National Anthem I hear!? There was no time to stretch, no jumping around waiting in the cold, I couldn't even get to my assigned coral! I jumped in and was off. No time to stress either. There were 25,000 runners. It was packed. The temperature was perfect at sunny 45 degrees. Bands were playing at every mile (my favorite being a 25 member military university drum corps that you could see and hear for about half a mile). We ran over the Arlington Bridge twice and the route was unbelievably breath taking through parks, neighborhoods with a ton of crowd support, by a few monuments, and finished with the capitol in site. It was miles pounding the stress of life into the pavement, minutes in awe of the beauty of God's creation and all the good things He has given me, seconds of being rejuvenated for the sport of running and before I knew it I was 6 miles in running up the dreaded Carter Hill which was lined with people out cheering. It was the first time I looked at my watch and was right on target with my dream pace! I was feeling great. I thought, I can do this?! Mile 10-11 was tough as I thought "Why do I do this stuff?!", but then I reached my runner's high when again I looked at my watch and knew I was going to reach a personal record (PR). I smiled the whole last 2 miles coming in with a PR of 1:47.05 (under my 1:50 goal and 2 minutes shy of my secret 1:45 goal). And then there was my wonderful husband and cheering kids at the finish line. I always tell him he doesn't have to come (the early wake ups and hours of corralling kids just to watch me finish) but he has never missed one of my races. I am truly thankful and had the best race of my life (mentally and physically). My leg and knee are feeling great and I am looking forward to ENJOYING my next 2 races.
My fellow race buddies Kristin and Sara (my 5:15 am ride).
The kids enjoyed an awesome race expo with me. They had a blast playing all the games and earning free prizes. Josie loved the "lizard" and won me a a free massage after the race! The expo and race were Brooks sponsored -my favorite running gear! I was in heaven. It was a good thing the family was with me or I would have spent a lot more money than I did).