Today I ran my first Half Marathon. During the 13.1 miles, I had a lot of time to think about the many things that I have accomplished this year.
This last October, Beth and I participated in our first 5K race. We ran the Newtown Library’s 5K race. We were nervous and the course was extremely hilly. I remember going into the race that I wanted to run the full distance without any walking. The hills on the race prevented that from happening and I walked two separate times on the way back to the finish line and finished within 31 minutes.
During the winter, Beth and I worked on the bridge to 10K program. We competed in two more races between March and April and then began training for the Broad St. Run.
Broad St. was a great time and I finished the race in 2 hours. I had never run 10 miles before. I was wiped out by the end and had to run walk from mile 8 to mile 10. But within an 8 month time period I went from struggling to run 3.1 miles to completing 10 miles.
Between Broad st. to this weekend I trained with Gary as he completed the couch to 5K program and Saturday, October 22nd was Gary’s first 5K–the Newtown Library 5K.
We ran it together and he kept pace with me for the majority of the race. At one point up a hellish hill I no longer heard him behind me; I turned to see him walking up the hill. Earlier in the race I had told him that if he needed to walk to let me know and I’d stay with him. He told me his goal was to not walk. I knew the goal well; the same hill humbled us both. But once at the top we started running down and he finished with a faster time then he ever had before!
Which brings us to today–my first half marathon. The course was a beautiful trail through the woods in upstate Pennsylvania. It was scenic and isolated. The race was going fine for the first 8 miles. It was between miles 8 and 9 that I noticed my calves were extremely tired–probably from running the hills with Gary the day before. Then the cramping started and it began to hobble me for the next four miles. I was pissed off because Beth and I had run this distance around town before and I never had this kind of trouble.
There was a time where I would just have phoned it in, given up and pouted about it. But if I had done that I’d still be out on that trail and not in my warm house typing this now.
I wasn’t thrilled with my 2.5 hour finish, but what I reminded myself with as the comments and texts came in after the race is that I may not be the fastest runner or the strongest mentally, but I am one of the luckiest people in this world.
I’m lucky, not just because I’m Irish, but because I have some of the most supportive friends in the world! From my wife to the WolfPack, from the teachers at PHS to the Action Karate crew, everyone’s encouragement has bolstered me this past year and enabled me to turn my life around.
And again I’m struck by it, these goals mean nothing with no one to share them with.
We only have this one life. It’s a race. And I plan on running the distance!
But I’m not doing it alone!