Today, I became a collector of half marathon finisher medals!! I read that once you have three of something, you have a collection. Today, I added my third half finisher medal!!
Three months of squeezing in runs, building miles, letting other tasks and hobbies slide, culminating in 13.1 miles from the USA over to Canada and back again.
I dragged my family out of bed at 4 am–yelled and fussed until I was in my corral at 6:30–over an hour before sunrise.
Patrice was the holder of the cowbell. She walked around all morning saying, “I have a cowbell!”
Sue was none too impressed with this early morning start.
As I waited in the corral, I met three people with whom I struck up a bit of a conversation with–in Arabic. This was their first race and they were planning to walk the vast majority of it. We wished each other well and were off.
My average running pace puts me in with a lot of walkers, but I am not one of them. It was quite the task to weave in and out of the people in order to keep running, but I did it.
This is the bridge from the Canadian side. We ran over on the bridge and ran back through the tunnel. You are actually running under water for one mile of the race.
I had the privilege of running this race because of a lovely friend who was born Canadian but is now an American. This spot marks where you go from one country to the other. There were lots of pictures being taken. Again, I didn’t stop to take any…I clicked and ran. I did end up walking my one and only step at this point when a person was dead in the way taking a picture and an old lady shoved me to get through. I paid her back by passing her and never seeing her again 😉
At mile 9 I ended up catching up with one of my friends from the start. She was really struggling so I slowed my pace to run with her a bit. We chatted and kept moving. I ended up moving on, but I found it a great privilege to run with her.
Then mile 11 came. And this running gig started getting harder. By mile 12 I was hurting pretty badly. And all the sudden a lady came alongside me and said, “I have been following you the whole way and you have been inspiring me to keep running.” I was really not able to talk anymore at this point, but she stayed with me, chatted just enough to keep me moving, and helped me find that last bit of oomph to dig deep and speed up for the finish line.
I owe her a great deal.
She and I crossed together, she gave me a hug and thanked ME for inspiring her. And then another lady came up to me, gave me a hug and thanked me for inspiring her.
Me. They thanked me.
I had gotten my medal and my warming foil but was still at the finish line when my friend from the beginning finished. I was so excited to get over there and tell her “Mabruuk (congratulations)!” She thanked me and gave me a hug.
And that for me, is the perfect race recap.
I never dreamed I would ever get confident enough in my running to help others, I never dreamed I would inspire someone who didn’t know my story. I never imagined I would run 3 half marathons in 13 months.
Perfection got a little better when I got home and found my race results on-line. I finished in 3 hours, 2 minutes and 32 seconds. That is 22 minutes faster than my first half and 25 minutes faster than my second. My overall pace this time was 13:56. I was hoping for a pace in the 14-minute range. I never dreamed in a million years I would get under 14!!!
I am tired and hungry and thirsty. But I am happy on so many levels!!!
I am looking forward to very gentle activity this week and finding my next race…