No cramps. No aches. No pains. No drama. (No pictures of me running, either, but that’s what happens when your key supporter has to stay home and babysit!) We finished the Applefest Half Marathon Relay without incident or injury, with a respectable time. And we got free apple crisp at the end. Success!
After all my moaning and groaning about running, I did enjoy the race. I certainly didn’t worry about my competition – I’m way too slow for that! We had a beautiful fall day – not too cool, not too warm – perfect for running (or jogging, in my case) through the rolling hills of Hollis, NH. And I do mean rolling. I had the more challenging half of the race, with some pretty steep grades. I was a little concerned that my hips might give out on me, as they did when I took to these hills during the 2011 race, but it didn’t happen. The weather held, my hips held, and I found a rhythm I could manage for most of the course. At one point, I did walk for a teensy bit to catch my breath. After all, “there is a hill as steep as the road up Mt. Washington with a 10-12 percent grade.” It’s not very long, but it still is brutal.
As I chugged toward the finish line, I could feel my heart pounding in my ears, and everything started to get stiff, but I still felt strong. I’d been running for over an hour, thinking just about running, about making it from here to there, breathing through each step. Crossing the finish line was satisfying. I’d actually finished something I’d started. How often do I get to do that in a day?
I didn’t win the race, but I did win back confidence in myself as a runner.
Enough to do another road race? Maybe a nice flat 5K. Bottom line is, I’m not quitting. There’s too much of myself wrapped up in this sport I’ve been doing for the last 23 years. I just need to adjust my expectations of myself as a runner, given my current lifestyle. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even do a marathon some day, when my life feels like less of one.