What did you do on Sunday morning? Sleep in? Go to brunch? Nurse a bloody mary to cure that hangover?
I woke up at 5:15 am. Actually, my alarm was set for 5:15, but nerves woke me up at 4:48. I got dressed, drank some coffee, ate half a bagel with some peanut butter. I packed up everything I needed in my bag. Then I also packed a bunch of stuff I didn't need, but it made me feel better to have it. I stretched. I drank a lot of water. Then I jumped in the car with Jeremy and we drove into downtown Philadelphia.
There was a lot of this:
No shame in my game. Katy Perry totally gets me pumped. Also, Rhianna and Britney.
We watched the sun rise over the city as we wondered what the hell we were getting ourselves in to.
After a very lucky encounter with a cheap, convenient parking garage, we walked a few blocks and immediately . . . got in line for the porta-potties. We found out that running together means sharing a LOT of personal information. Like about nipple chafing and bowel movements. So, yeah, bonding time!
Then we walked (and walked, and walked) to our assigned corral. For nearly an hour, we stretched, we bounced, we danced, we judged those around us. We told ourselves "well, if THEY can do it, surely we can do it."
Finally -- nearly 40 minutes after the scheduled start time -- we crossed the starting line and started running. Amazingly enough, the first 5 miles flew by. The next 3 weren't bad either. We discovered a women in a flag-print shirt who would run past us, only to stop and walk long enough for us to pass her again. This kept up the WHOLE race. We chatted the whole time (a nice bonus of the 12+ minute mile pace, it allows for easy chatting). We laughed at the noise our sneakers make on the pavement after passing the Gatorade station. We marveled at how delicious fruit leathers taste when you've already burned 1,000 calories.
Somewhere around mile 9 things started to get rough. We had just finally crossed over the river and started the journey back. I knew it was a shorter route going back, but mentally it felt like we'd never get there. The scenery was beautiful, but all I could think of was how long we'd been at it already, and how my feet felt like they were made of lead. We slowed to a walk a couple of times. It felt good to stop running, but starting back up again was that much more painful.
Just after the 12 mile mark I had to walk again. I knew if I didn't then I wouldn't be able to run across the finish line. But soon we picked up the pace. The crowds cheering us on grew full again, and were shouting words of encouragement. The 13 mile mark was at a corner, and just beyond it a slight hill and the finish line. I think I finally understand the "leave it all on the field" mentality. All that mattered in that moment was getting across that finish line at a run, and I did it.
I will never break any records running, and I may never run that kind of distance again. But on Sunday I ran a half marathon and it was fucking awesome.
Also awesome: recovery eating, recovery movie marathons, and finishing every sentence with "but that's okay, because I ran a half-marathon today."
The most awesome? Sweaty hat hair selfies:
|Sweaty hat hair: who wore it better?|
It's worth noting that Sunday would have been my brother Nate's 28th birthday. I miss him everyday, and I could think of no better way to honor his memory than to challenge myself, endure through difficulty, and accomplish something I thought impossible. I'm feeling pretty badass, and totally ready to conquer 30.