I am happy with my time but what a 'race' it was. My Half Marathon Unplugged Virtual Race on Saturday was a race with a lot of emotion for many reasons. One being last year I went into Unplugged with an injury to my calf, at mile 9 felt it pull and limped the rest of the way to the finish line... and ended up with a very disappointing finish time. That was my first half marathon and first race I had trained for since having 2 kids, living in a snowy, icy, bear populated town in Alaska and having broke my foot, was in a boot for 12 some-odd weeks. I was not satisfied. I went on to run 3 more half marathons last year but battling a calf injury the whole way.
After a rest over holidays I changed up my training (Run Less, Run Faster) starting in January. I ran intervals and distance on an indoor track. Then COVID-19... sigh... I stopped going to the gym out of fear and to start training outside. I'm glad I did because training in colder weather prepared me better for the weather of the race this past Saturday.
With so much anxiety and uncertainty, running was my way to escape. Then Unplugged was postponed. What a downer that was. But I trained too hard to not run it. I had too much emotion to not run it. April 11th was race day.. that was that. I had memories of the past in my head. Two years ago on April 8th, a friend was killed by a drunk driver, 19 years ago on April 11th my sister was in a car crash that rendered her paralyzed. Having been a runner pre-kids to having not seriously trained in years, to living in the snowy, icy darkness of Alaska and having broke my foot and being unhappy with my race time from last year... I needed this race! I had an amazing 12-mile training run which indicated I could PR for this race. So much emotion and maybe a little too much pressure on myself.
I was very nervous race morning. Then it started to snow. My husband loaded up my 6-year-old and 3-year-old into the car with bells in hand and backup hydration and I set off. My first mile was too fast (7:19). Mile 2 I hit that headwind. Mile 3 my husband and kids were there. My mother and father-in-law were in their truck and a couple of friends had Facetimed in and my husband held up the phone for them to cheer me on. Mile 4 my stomach went sour. I dry heaved from mile 5-9. My husband and inlaws kept moving to different spots on my course. As I cried and wanted to give up, my husband smiled, cheered me on and did Facebook Lives for my family and friends to see. I puked at mile 9 and rallied with all I had to face the headwind for the last few miles back. I looked up during my last mile and my parents and sister's car sat in a pull off. Then cheers and bells! So much support. Little did I know, my friends and family were commenting on the Facebook Live videos which I got to read later. My watch vibrated and indicated "GOAL MET!" at 13.1 and I did not PR... but I did beat my original goal of sub 1:45 by.... two seconds!
As I walked up my road to my house my oldest daughter put a homemade medal around my neck. Who knew that a round decorated piece of cardboard could mean so much? It was not just any race, it was one of my hardest...and most satisfying. It was about not giving up when I wanted to (so hard when being the only racer out there!). Virtual races will hopefully not be necessary for me again - I had to run it though. Too much training would have gone to waste and with being a military wife and not knowing when we will move I could not wait for reschedule date. I sure did miss the energy of other runners but I was far from alone out there. My amazing family made it so special.