The alarms went off all too early. Somewhere in the distance, Christmas songs drifted murkily up to our window. The bathroom was used in cycles as we all put on our race clothes, before eating our protein bars. I watched bemusedly as the other two runners in our room put on makeup. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I sweat way too much to even think about makeup when I’m running. Before we knew it, it was time to head to the start line.
The morning was crisp, cool for Texas but not cold. People still made fun of us for being out in just our tank tops and leggings. Told us we needed throw away clothes. We just laughed. Then the anthem was sung and we were off.
I don’t run anywhere near as fast as the others, so they took off without me as planned. I wanted to run my race. And I did.
My goal was to listen to my body. I wanted to run the whole way, but 8 miles in after a couple of killer hills, I took my first walk break. My right hip, often tight and sore after long runs decided to ache during the race. I took another brief walk break at mile 10. At mile 11, I hit the wall. My feet hurt along with my hip. I decided to power walk that mile and then get back to running to the end. That last mile was brutal. Mostly the part where my gps told me I had finished but I was still 3/10 of a mile from the finish line. But I kept running. I even passed some people. And finished in 2:39:22.
I’m proud of myself. 14 weeks ago I couldn’t consistently run three miles. I’m already thinking about what race to do next. I know I want to keep my mileage up there. I know I want to get faster. I’m hooked on running.