I did it! On Saturday I completed my first half marathon. It took me 2 hours, 14 minutes and 52 seconds. My feet went numb in the last half of the race, there was a mean and awful hill just before the 10k mark, and then a handful of rolling and wretched hills after that. The course was packed, with something like 30,000 runners, I munched almonds to keep myself going and felt surprisingly good for most of the race.
I’d spent so much time worrying about stomach cramps and dehydration and injuries that I felt sure the worry would manifest itself into some sort of super suck, but it didn’t. I felt surprisingly calm as I crossed the start, excited for what was to come and awake with the feeling of doing something I’ve been working toward since December.
It hardly seems real, even three days post-race. I remember running the thing, know I did it, ached from it, but the thought that I moved my own body, with my own body, 13.1 miles seems absolutely insane and nearly unbelievable. That’s a long distance to move yourself and it wasn’t all that long ago, maybe a few years, that I ran my first 5k and couldn’t manage to run the full thing and then, on Saturday, I ran 13.1 miles, stopping three times to loosen the laces of my running shoes but never – not once – walking.
I’m so proud of myself. It seems weird to say that ab0ut me, but I am. I really like quitting. I really like stopping when things are hard and uncomfortable, but I haven’t and I didn’t. In running, more than anything else, I’ve pushed and tried and achieved, and that feels like a really big deal.
There’s nothing I’ve ever done in such a short amount of time that’s taught me more about the person I am than training for a half marathon. I’ve learned how my body responds to stress, the things that my body is capable of and so much more about me, as a person, both good and bad. It’s been an incredible journey, this training period, and I finally feel like a runner.
On the way home from DC, post-blogger brunch, I drove past the Washington Monument, near where the race had started, and giggled. I said it out loud, to no one but myself, that I had a run a half marathon. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to do it again.