The race was a great success for me personally! As I sit here the day after, my leg muscles ache, the joints a little stiff, but no pain. I’m simply tired in general and savoring the satisfaction of a deed well done! The several days leading up to the race were emotionally varied—-excited and surprisingly quite nervous. It made me realize how I intensely alive I feel when I challenge myself, which hasn’t been too often lately. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night, even after a relaxing early evening dinner with Marc, Brian and Emily—-a healthy pasta/chicken dish, a great deal of gatorade, water, and no wine. The busy-brain was alive and very active from 3 am on, thinking all those weird distorted thoughts we have late in the night. I got up, had a light breakfast, and did everything I normally do before my regular runs, with the exception of today pinning on my racing number…how excited I was! Kathie arrived at 6 am and like two giggly girls, we headed off to the race. Found Brian and Emily right away, and checked out the early morning happenings and several costumes—leopards and cavemen and women—-after all it was the Jungle Run. Kathie left us for her 10K and we got in the crowd for the 7 am shotgun start. I was off, my Ipod set to my running music, and Bruce screaming Born to Run! Up a short hill, through a charming old neighborhood, we headed out on reasonably flat surface streets to Winchester Blvd. Marc surprised me and cheered me on at Lark and Winchester. I was feeling terrific (nothing like adrenelin coursing thru the system). Brian had warned me to run my own pace and not get caught up with the group, or I’d tire out too quickly. At the 4 mile mark, I’d been running an 11 min/mile–about a 1-1/2 minutes faster than my usual mile pace, so slowed down some. We ran to the Campbell perc ponds and back along LG Creek trail, which I know so well. Then up a steady, not too steep incline to Vasona Park, thru the park and onto towards the Lexington Dam. Wearing the GPS/Heart Rater monitor, I was careful not to allow my heart rate to get too high. As the day began to heat up, I was running up the steep grade towards the dam, in dusty gravel and in full sun. Once I got to the turnaround cones and headed back downhill on the final 2 miles, I knew I was going to make it. As I ran the path towards the finish at the high school, I saw Brian and Emily holding up a “Go Mom” sign and cheering me on! Their sign and smiles of encouragement gave several people a chuckle and really warmed my heart! Turning onto the track for the final lap, there was Kathie (she’d finished her 10k at a wonderful pace and patiently waited over an hour for me to show up) and Marc standing next to her, both smiling, waving and cheering me on! How wonderful is that! Kathie joined me and we ran the final lap together to the finish—-chatting about whether we’d do this again! A bit too soon to tell. Picked up my pace as I ran across the finish line and my time flashed 2:44:53!!! I made it, and well under 3 hours! Felt great! Emily and Brian had both finished at 1:54….admirable times! Seeing them, I wish I’d done this years ago. But I have done it now…. and may well do it again!
A few insights on this entire experience….my vision of doing a 1/2 marathon at 60 (something personally challenging with a due date) required that I prepare, with a running plan, share my questions and concerns with others (mostly Brian, Emily and Kathiel) and that I join this new world filled with young, strong and really fit runners. I learned to be content exactly where I am at this time in my life and with my body as it is. I have never truly appreciated the wonderfulness of my body except briefly after a health problem. I am so grateful and love each working part, the joints, my feet, even that balancing thingie in my head that kept me from tripping, and especially my heart which at this age, coulda said, “are you nuts?” and just stopped! But it didn’t and everything worked with precision, moving me through the world faster and longer than I ever thought possible!
Lastly, I saw so many different body types and ages of individuals, and felt we were all happy, excited compadres in this event together, yet each one running our own race. Isn’t that what life really is? We’re all in this world together, individually moving along our own path at our own pace.
What an experience!!! What a glorious time in my life to be alive! And yes, I will do this again!