My Second Half Marathon and How I Kicked My Own Ass
Some people go on vacation for rest and relaxation. I guess I’m not some people.
Matt and I decided to run the Cook Forest Half Marathon a few months ago, figuring that with an 11 o’clock start time, we could drive the two hours up there that morning, run and then come home. We’d just have to get a babysitter for the kids.
Then we looked at each other and laughed.
That just sounds ridiculous. Driving 2 hours to run 2 hours and then to sit in the car for another two hours.
Yah, I’d have to be pried out of the car, as all of my muscles would have frozen to the seat.
So we planned on making it into a mini-vacation.
We decided to stay at the Gateway Lodge Cabins and found ourselves a very cute Cabin #2 waiting for us.
We settled in and went on an adventure to the river.
Claire, while looking confused, truly enjoyed seeing all the trees. I believe here she was asking me about all the rabbit poop we saw.
She just couldn’t understand why all the world was a rabbit’s toilet.
Luca of course found every possible rock to jump on and Maelie found everything to be just plain fascinating.
We got to the river and the kids, Matt included, starting throwing rocks into it.
And we tried to contain the baby.
Which is hard enough to do on a normal day, let alone when facing a river.
When we got back to the cabin, we realized that we had no hot water. A very nice guy from the Gateway Lodge came by and tried to fix it for several hours. With no luck, he offered us to move over to Cabin #1, just across the way.
Mae was already sleeping, so we moved everything before we moved the baby.
The new cabin was even bigger. It had an enclosed deck, a separate kitchen and an extra bed. Plus two more couches. And because of the inconvenience it caused, having to move in the dark, they also gave us a discount.
So, let’s recap here. No hot water = movin’ on up. Oh, and money back in your pocket.
I highly recommend staying at the Gateway Lodge, people. Even if we had paid full price and had the original smaller cabin, we were extremely satisfied.
Anyhow, race day. I woke up, not feeling fully prepared. I was nervous trying to beat my previous time 2:11:21.
Especially since Matt was on a mission to finish sub two hours.
And while I would have loved that, I knew it wasn’t in the cards for me.
Not this time, anyhow.
As we lined up for the start I heard a loud, “YOU READY TO DO THIS?!” and when I turned I saw Bethany jumping up and down.
It was her first Half. She was excited.
So the race began, with my running friend Anthony at my side. I was pretty proud of him for lasting 5 miles at the pace I was keeping.
But before the turn around, he slowed down and it was just me, myself and I.
And this is what I worried about.
My physical endurance is really good. But my mental endurance is another thing. I have that voice that gets in my head and tells me that I really can’t do this. And that I should probably stop. Because this is just insane.
I put my earbuds in and cranked up some music.
What music you ask?
Well, one of the songs was Baby by Justin Bieber. (A song I use for teaching abs/lower half.)
And what do you think it did? It put me into my teaching mind-set where I can’t stop, and I can’t slow down, because everyone is watching.
And it worked.
At mile 12.5 I hit my brick wall, when this guy, whom I had been playing back and forth with for the past 5 miles with, said to me, “I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life, but this racks right up there with the most dumb…this is my first half marathon.”
I smiled at him and said, “Yah, but at the end, when you stop, it feels so good.”
He turned and said, “Well, let me help you get to the end, then! Follow me to the finish!”
And we took off, with him beating me by 15 seconds.
What was my official time, you ask?
Ooh, it’s a good one.
Because saying 2:02:30 isn’t nearly as fun.
And that’s what the website told me.
I’m not sure if the photographer was able to capture the huge smile I had on my face as I crossed the finish line, but man oh man. It was huge.
I beat my time.
I kept a 9:21 pace.
For 13.1 miles.
That’s huge for me.
So, while I was still patting myself on the back, we finished up our vacation with an awful dinner at a ‘family friendly’ diner. (All the good food restaurants that offer kid friendly atmospheres are closed in the winter time, leaving only upscale fancy places or bars.)
Then we came back and made s’mores.
And then I pushed the couches together and slept in front of the fire.
Awesome mini-vacation and making a new personal record? Check and check.