It’s official! I can cross off one of the bucket list doozies!
Last weekend my Baltimore girls and my entire family gathered in Washington D.C. for the Nike Women Half Marathon.
I arrived in D.C. on Friday and enjoyed a low-key dinner with my oldest brother and his fiancé. We chose a BBQ restaurant as I felt I needed a good dose of Mac & Cheese and Green Bean Casserole to effectively “carb-up”. The meal, which included banana pudding for dessert, was quite tasty. However, mere moments after finishing his meal, my brother announced that he was feeling “nauseous”, which thus began an 8 hour anxiety-filled waiting period where I contemplated whether food poisoning would be a valid enough excuse to skip the race.
Fortunately, my meat chops (or ribs… whatever) stayed down, and by Saturday morning my only remaining get-out-of-jail-free-card excuse would be the “mother’s note” my mom indicated she would write for me. I can only assume her note would have been fashioned after a doctor’s note or the classic “sorry my child is late for school” note my younger brothers* and I often convinced Cindy to write for us. But even though she offered to officially excuse me from the race, and personally blog the excuse on my behalf, I knew I couldn’t disappoint myself or my fans (that’s you guys!) by backing out of this one.
Race packet pick-up in Georgetown on Saturday afternoon went smoothly, although I did ask the girls several times whether this was real life and whether we were actually going to go through with it. In the spirit of true carb-loading, I had a pre-dinner snack with the girls and then met my entire family for real dinner, or in this case, fourth meal.
I was up at 5:00AM on Race Day to nervously eat a small bowl of Wheaties, literally the breakfast of champions. I had just enough time for a last minute costume change due to weather conditions and to curl my hair into the cutest runner’s ponytail. My parents and my brother walked me down to the starting line, and I met up with KeriAnn and Kristyn in the corrals right as the race was starting.
I definitely started off faster than I expected, and texted my family impressive updates on my progress through mile 7. At mile 8 my NIKE RUNNING app restarted itself. Le bummer. By mile 9 I had strained my knee and was limping/running. My family was cheering at mile 10, and I sped up as I ran by them giving high fives and thumbs up, but as I rounded the bend at mile 11, I knew I’d be walking/limping the rest of the race. And finally about 20 feet before the finish line, I started an ugly painful-looking (and feeling) limp-run that took me across the finish line.
Basically I was an emotional wreck throughout the entire race. KeriAnn is notoriously known as a race puker (sorry, KeriAnn), and I think I unfortunately might be a race crier. I definitely got weirdly emotional reading some of the crowd’s signs. I almost gave myself an emotional asthma attack when I realized I had to start walking. And after I crossed the finish line, I was literally two deep breaths away from a becoming a crying mess. If a half marathon takes to me to the emotional edge, I’m pretty sure a full marathon would send me off the deep end.
Overall, the whole experience was both terrible and exhilarating. I’m definitely not a runner, but I finished a half marathon. It’s an accomplishment that opens your eyes to what you’re really physically and mentally capable of doing. I certainly didn’t come in first place, but I still felt like a winner crossing the finish-line.
I know it sounds crazy, but I think I could be persuaded to do it all over again. And next time I’ll know to bring tissues.
*I believe it’s necessary to reiterate that only my younger brothers and I would stoop so low as to have our mom sign Sickness and Lateness Rep Letters on our behalf, and a shout out to Bobby for being a studious young man who would never have considered faking sick or playing hooky.