November 18, 2013

The Half Marathon

Naturally, we were running late on Saturday morning, and traffic was disordered due to road blocks and other race infrastructure challenges. I hopped out of the car five or six blocks from the course after we realized we were traveling in futile circles. I made my way to the start line, skipping the long waits at the port-o-johns in favor of chancing it somewhere along the course.

I missed my 2:30 heat, but joined the very last group of runners, marked with a "J" instead of a pace time. Squished in to the crowd, we inched our way closer to the official start, the bandstand music blaring louder and louder. The rain had been pouring in sheets all morning but transitioned to a cool mist as we started out down Broad Street.

I'm learning to be confident in claiming all parts of me, not just the ones that I am best at, or most talented, or the ones I get paid for. All the parts of me that bring me joy are of equal consequence and so I am a runner. I like the solitude that running offers. In that space I can be in the moment or out of it. I can go places when I run, and I can feel my city in a way that just isn't possible in a car. Races are an especially happy aspect of running. I feel a super sense when I am on a course, a heightened awareness that is energizing and just feels really good. The runners, the spectators, the sounds, the views. The work of pushing my body to move distance, across time. I love that running is truly for everyone. I love that people are at the heart of every race. I like running alongside them, being passed, and passing too. Energy radiates and the race is our one shining opportunity to culminate many months of effort and preparation.

I started the run counting miles up, until I got to the halfway point, and then I started counting miles down. The course was hilly around miles 6 and 7 but flattened out again after that. My toes fell asleep a few times and required a little stretch in the last half, but otherwise, I felt pretty strong.

When I reached the 12 mile mark, I was ready to be done, knowing that the last .1 mile always feels incredibly far. Distance running and birth share some sentimental parallels for me and so I thought a lot about my client mamas, and my friends, and my own birth experiences in that last little stretch.

A nice surprise was that the final .6 miles of the course was downhill, which made for a mad sprint to the finish.

This morning, Roscoe insisted that I wear my medal around my neck to drop him off at school. I obliged his request and as we said our goodbyes I offered it to him to keep for the day. I stayed back to chat with another mom, and caught the beginning of morning circle time, when he stood up and told the story of how his Momma ran a half-marathon and won, holding up my medal to prove it.


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