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Monday, January 20, 2014

Tinkerbell Half Marathon

Some days are good running days while others are not good running days. It is the nature of the beast. This is why a runner trains. You hope to get out those bad runs during training and be at peak performance during your race.

I started training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon sometime in October. I was excited. BUT, the deeper we got into the holiday season, the harder it became to train. In the month of December I had a whole 7 days off. I was able to get a run in here and there but that was about it. I was able to get up to 7 miles. That was a painful 7 miles. Inconsistency in training aided in that pain. Add a cold on top of that and we've got an interesting road ahead. My cough kept hanging on and I was starting to worry I would have coughing fits during the race.

Mentally and physically I didn't feel prepared for this race. I was nervous. Really nervous.
My friend, Jamie, and I walked to and from the expo to pick up our race packets. When we got there I could feel a blister forming on the bottom of my foot. I was surprised. I was wearing shoes I've worn plenty of times. I didn't walk all that far. By that evening, there were blisters on each foot.

The race started and I stayed with Jamie for the first 2 miles or so. We got separated around the first water station so I was on my own after that. With each step I could feel the blisters getting worse. It is the most uncomfortable feeling!

I was actually on pace for the first 6 or so miles. At mile 7 the large blister on my right foot popped. First of all, that's a really gross feeling. Secondly, it stings! I knew it was only a matter of time before the ones on my left foot popped.

I was really starting to feel the fatigue and muscle pain. I tried doing a walk/run combo. 5 min run, 2 min walk. I really started struggling to finish those 5 minute segments. I walked most of miles 9-13. I didn't care how long it took me to finish. I just wasn't going to give up. During those last 4 miles I was really wishing Jamie was still with me. I needed the encouragement to keep going. There were moments when I started getting frustrated and disappointed with myself. I started to cry but quickly stopped myself. I was going to finish, no matter what.

I ran the last 1/4 mile into the finish line. I wasn't going to walk past the hundreds of people lined up. I was going to run. I was going to dig deep and have a strong finish.

This was , by far, the most difficult race I have ever done. My body was rebelling against me and reminding me that training is a necessary part of a long distance race. I learned that no matter what my body is going through, my mind will not give up. I learned that I can push myself to my very max, mentally and physically, and still reach my goal.

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