It's warm in Texas.
So obviously the best thing to do is run a half marathon in the heat. Right? And yes, just last weekend I was braggin' about our sweater weather. Sheesh.
I signed up for this race back in December. Knowing full well how warm it was sure to be and never planning on racing it. My thought was, "How often does the lake turn 100?" Clearly only once. And I wanted to be a part of the celebration. My plan all along was to run it for fun. (Lucy had the right idea - she didn't even wear her timing chip!) But I started thinking last week that I might just race it after all. My training runs have, for the most part, been going very well. My legs feel strong. And fast. (for me) The course looked flat and familiar. As long as I could hold it together mentally, I thought this might be a good race.
Knowing it would be hot, not just warm, I hydrated all week like it was my job. I even gave up CHEESE to clean up my diet for the race. Cheese, this pink girl gave up cheese! I painted my nails Strawberry Fields, courtesy of Kimpossible. Pulled on my lucky Hello Kitty silly band, courtesy of Jen. Picked up my crew of amazing women and set out for the lake. (side note, when did my hands get so dang veiny?)
This was a smaller race, limited to 2011 participants. I love a smaller course. Don't get me wrong, big races are fun, but a smaller field usually means less weaving. I'm a very big fan of less weaving. Big fan. We got there very early so we had plenty of time to just hang out. And feel it getting warmer and warmer. Oh Texas.
Sleepy me, Jill, Kara, Boy Mom and Rachael. It's Rachael's first half!
We found Adriana, or maybe she found us. She and Boy Mom always look so cute and stylish in their running skirts!
As we sang the National Anthem and I caught a glimpse of the flag waving in the distance. I couldn't help but think about the week's events. A smile crossed my face and a lump formed in my throat as I pumped my first in the air while the words "Home of the Brave" still hung in the air.
Popping in my earbuds, I mosied a few steps away from my friends. Trying to get in my head for the race, I closed my eyes, concentrated on the music and said a prayer. My verse for distance has often been Isaiah 40:31. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.
This passage isn't really about a marathon. I know this. I've always tried to draw my strength from my faith. Lately, I've been so weary. I'm tired of trying to be strong. But I hope in the Lord and He continues to renew my strength. I know that no matter how tired I get, tired of being strong, He'll give me what I need. He will help me to soar on wings like eagles.
Katie generously make me a sick playlist. (thank you girl!) Full of fun and upbeat songs to keep me motivated. She included one of the songs that I often have on repeat. Till I Collapse by Eminem. Far be it from me to compare Em to Holy Scripture, but yeah, I'm a complicated Pink Girl. I draw strength where I can. Now we all run to Till I Collapse. I know this.
Cause sometimes you just feel tired.
You feel weak, and when you feel weak you feel like you just wanna give up.
But you gotta search within you.
You gotta find your inner strength and just pull that sh!t out of you.
And get that motivation to not give up.
And not be a quitter.
No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.
The gun went off and so did we. I ended up weaving in and out of all those people. It got warmer and warmer. The sun beat fiercely down. When I'd see a patch of shade provided by trees, I'd sprint towards the relief. We'll call it a fartlek. I'd like to give you a play by play. Some of y'all are so good at that.
Here's how it went down. I ran hard. And I didn't stop running hard. I never once checked my Garmin for time. I'd take a peek at my pace, but that's it. I had it in my mind that I wanted to PR this race and I knew with the flat course that if I stayed focused, it was a real possibility. I didn't want to play the mind games with my time so I just ignored it. Till I Collapse.
My friend Joy was out at the lake, not racing, but just getting her fitness on. She found me at mile 12.5 or so and ran me in. You have to know this girl is fast. She qualified for Boston recently. I thought my heart might explode as I tried to keep up with her 8 minute pace. But that is just what I needed to drag my self over the finish line. Thank you Joy!
The announcer commented that he "liked my pink tape" as I crossed, stopped my watch and finally allowed myself to look at the time. 2:04. A new PR. 80 degrees and a new PR. Till I Collapse.
I collected my giant medal, my commemorative glass (cool gift!) and posed for a photo I won't buy. Jill finished just seconds behind me and we soon found our friends.
Boy Mom and Jill. Sisters in law!
Lucy and Heather. Sisters.
That Pink Girl, furiously shoving pizza in her face. Ah, cheesy goodness.
Here is what I know. No matter how badly I want to give up, to find someplace to hide, to go away where it doesn't hurt so much...I'm not a quitter. In life as in racing, I won't fall flat on my face. It's not gonna happen. I'll keep going till I collapse. And because I put my hope in the Lord, that won't ever happen. Instead of giving up, I'm going to soar on wings like eagles. This I promise you.
Till I Collapse.
And along with all that cheese, I can absolutely TASTE a sub 2 half. Looking forward to cooler temps this Fall to see what I can do!