I am so so so so so happy to be writing this entry. I finished my last half marathon yesterday, and I am happy to report I am RETIRED!!
I was kind of wondering if I would change my mind as soon as I crossed the finish line. When I crossed the finish line after my first half, I knew I wanted to feel that feeling again. I felt really good after the Des Moines half, so I knew I would run another one after that. This time was just different. I was annoyed with the training the entire time, I kept getting injured, and I knew, I just knew, that this was it for me.
I hurt my ankle really bad during my short run on Thursday night, and I went for an even shorter one on Friday to see if it was just a weird fluke or if I was actually injured. I was definetly the latter. My ankle throbbed with every step. But at this point I wasn't going to drop out, so I just iced it and hoped for the best.
Friday morning I hung out, packed and then went to pick up Missy. She had hurt herself earlier in the week and could barely walk, but she still was willing to go with me. I cannot explain how much I appreciated her coming. I needed support, but not just any support - I needed best friend support!
When we got to Olathe, we pulled into our hotel to realize that John had booked a room at the exact hotel where the half was starting. It was PERFECT. All we had to do the next day was get up and take the elevator downstairs. Half the battle with these type of events is just parking and getting to the starting line - for the Des Moines half, Amanda and I had to park like a mile away from the starting/finish line. It was a terrible walk back after we were done running.
We met up with John and Kim at the hotel, and then we all went to the Expo. It was pretty lame; not a lot of booths and kind of anti-climatic. One good thing was they were playing The Wizard of Oz on a big screen, which of course I appreciated. Then we all went to dinner, and then back to the hotel where Kim's brother and sister-in-law met us. They were also staying to be on our support squad with Miss.
I tried to go to sleep early that night, but my super single behavior kicked in - the one where I can't sleep if anyone is in the room with me. I can only sleep with someone in the same room if I am extremely comfortable with them - so with two people I had just met that night, I was never going to sleep. I don't know what that is all about. It's not like I think I am going to get murdered...I don't know. It's weird. So between my SSB and my brother's snoring (seriously, he sounds like he is starting a chainsaw), no sleep was happening. I tossed and turned and finally just gave up the fight at 5:30am. The race was starting at 6:45a.
John and Kim got up around 6am, so the three of us took pictures and then went downstairs to find something to eat before we ran. I was already in pain, and not looking forward to this, so I just grabbed an apple and walked to the end of the starting line. I knew I was going to have to walk/jog the whole thing, so my expectations were low. I just wanted to finish.
The entire race was basically rolling hills. It was terrible. There was also very little support as far as people standing and cheering with signs (half the fun of a half is the support during the run!). They had plenty of water/gatorade startions, which was great, but it's hard to just run between the stops with no distractions or entertainment. At mile six my ankle pretty much fell apart, and at mile 8 I actually puked. I think it was a mixture of the pain, my nerves, my extremely high anxiety (I was worried I was doing permentant damage to my ankle and I would have to quit kickboxing, too) and the smell of the porta potty. When I got done with that little episode, I knew I just needed to get the eff done. So I focused on the goal, on what food I was going to eat after, and charged ahead.
It wasn't pretty, but I crossed the finish line and met with up with my support squad. Missy had been sending me inspiring texts throughout the entire team, and they were helping so much. I love love love love love that she was there for me. I love. Love love love.
I absolutely did not get that familiar rush, so I can say with certainty that I am done with distance running. I think it's because I enjoy kickboxing so much - I still look forward to it every single day, and I have never "dreaded" a workout. When I first started running, I did it because I didn't know what else to do - but now that I have found a workout I love, it's hard to go back to one that I dislike.
I will still run, however. I am planning maybe twice a week, at most four miles. I want to always be able to run a 5k, but that is it.
I think my three halves were perfect experiences. My first one was by myself, and it was completely for myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. And of course my dad surprising me at the starting line is still one of my favorite memories of all time. My second half was with Amanda, and it was for her - she needed to prove to herself she could do it. And my last one was with my brother and sister-in-law - finally a sporting event I could do with my brother.
And that's a wrap!