Thursday, March 10, 2011
I ran the Little Rock Half-Marathon on Sunday. It was a chilly morning and I was full of self-doubt. I had trained fairly faithfully for the race but I had missed a few long runs because of weather and sickness. So, I started the race on Sunday with a goal of "just finishing." (Well, under 2:30!)
I ran with my sister, Mandie, for the first seven miles or so... we enjoyed chatting with each other and with other people on the course. Being in a race always conjures up a sense of camaraderie. We're all on the same course. We all have the same goal. Being in a race also highlights our differences. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We all run at different speeds. It's a symbol of life.
From point A to point B with many miles between...
I always meet new people in a race. I always find a new pacer. I always pass and I'm always passed by people. I always feel a range of emotions. I usually ask someone if they need something or if they're okay during the race. I usually learn something new about myself during the course of 13 miles.
I learned Sunday how important having a sister is... I also learned how to go out on my own to reach an uncertain goal. I used my reserve to run a fast final 3 miles of 13 and I earned a new PR! I learned that experience is worth more than I realized. Even though I only ran one 10-mile training run, I ran faster than last year when I ran all of my long training runs. I also learned the value of some intermittent treadmill training (speed training for me... I made myself run at 8 1/2 to 9 minute miles for 5-7 miles) to increase my speed.
I really surprised myself on Sunday and I'm encouraged to go for an even bigger goal in my next race. I especially want to use this experience to encourage my trainees in the "Women Can Run" clinic. "You can do it!" will be repeated many times this year during training because I want other women to experience the joy of running that a certain someone gave me five years ago...