In 2016 I set the goal to run a sub 2hr half marathon. I signed up and for the September Beat the Blerch half marathon. I’m a fan of The Oatmeal and it looked like a fun race. On race day a steady stream of ran fell from the sky. It would be my first race in the rain.
Several of my Oiselle Volée teammates participated in the half and 10k races. A group of us met up before the race and took pictures. It calmed my nerves to chat with my teammates. Some had run the race before so they provided pointers about the course. For example, the course went slightly up hill for the first part. Hills are my specialty. I could do this.
Most of the race I paced myself based off other people. I found different groups of people who had a pace that challenged me, but did not over work me. I don’t own a fancy watch so it was hard to gauge my pace on my own. However, steadily climbing uphill in the rain started to take its toll. I wasn’t running fast enough to make my goal. I kept myself from panicking and decided to give it my best.
The aid stations for this race had the usual food, water, and electrolyte. However, they also had couches and served food like white cake. People dressed as the Blerch tried to convince you to sit down and rest. One of the volunteers attempted to tempt me with cake. I informed them if I ate I would puke. They seemed a bit shock by my honest answer.
As I came down the hill (it was an out and back course) I picked up some speed. However, with about three miles left I hit the congestion of the 10k runners. I dodged around them and puddles. I landed in puddles more often then I wanted. Also, I hit the wall. I slowed way down and every step seemed a challenge. Finally, at about 12.5 miles I was able to pull myself together and give it my all.
I sprinted into the finish with a time of 2:06. I failed to break the 2hr mark. I struggled to catch my breath and medic asked me if I was okay. I nodded yes. A thought danced across my mind then it consumed all my thoughts. A little over a year since my last half marathon I ran almost a half hour faster! Yes, the course was different, but I ran almost a half hour faster! Tears mingled with rain on my cheeks as the pride of performance filled my being. I was certified bad ass.
Oh, the was at the finish line and it was the best tasting white cake I had ever tasted.