Monday, January 31, 2011

Houston Half Marathon... What's Love Got To Do With It?

Yesterday I ran my first Half Marathon. It was part of my 101/1001 project and something I've always wanted to do. If you're asking why on earth I wanted to run 13.1 miles, my answer is: I haven't the slightest idea.

But I did it with my good friends Jen and Josh (pictured to the left). At around mile 4 I had run through so many puddles (it rained pretty much the entire race and on a few instances heavily down-poured) that I gained at least 5lbs of water which felt like I was running with ankle weights - like they do on the Biggest Loser. The entire race was grueling. The race was miserable actually. I wasn't nearly in the shape I should have been for such a painstaking "adventure" which is a term I shall use loosely. After about 6 miles, every single step hurt. Hurt like hell, to be frank.

I failed to mention that around the 5k mark (~3 miles), the rain water had seeped into my iPhone which I was using to jam out to my newly arranged playlist. While Tina Turner's 'What's Love Got To Do With It' is by far my favorite song, having to listen to it, and only it, for over 2 hours was pure punishment. My entire iPhone had malfunctioned. I couldn't change songs, change the volume, or even turn the damn thing off.

My legs, ankles, knee caps, hips, pinky toes...pretty much every body part was aching and I was only half finished. Having played sports my entire life, you'd think I'd be well versed in this type of physical test, but that's where you'd be wrong. Just as I was contemplating a clumsy "accidental" fall that would prohibit me from continuing the race (because who would be shocked to learn I fell somewhere and got hurt?), a little old lady rocking a shirt that said "I turned 75 today" be-bopped past me with ease. After 4 more rounds of Tina in my ear I finally regained composure to continue the race with my newly resurrected game face just as a 7-month old pregnant woman yelled "on your left" and swept past me like I had been the Toyota Tercel in the fast lane holding her up.

I may have finished the race (adorned with a fake smile hamming it up for the cameras), but I was miserable every single step of that 13.1 mile trek through Downtown Houston. With every ache and every throb, I was miserable. When I crossed the finish line and saw my time, (2 hours and 44 minutes) I felt defeated. Waking up this morning feeling like an 83 year-old woman with rheumatoid arthritis, I felt miserable.

But, I'm planning to run another half this year and possibly even the big 26.2 next year.

Seeing the diversity of runners was inspiring. Runners, both men and women, of all ages and all sizes were all after the same goal - to cross the finish line. To see over 150,000 Houstonians gather around at 7am on a Sunday morning to cheer folks on, some of which they didn't even know, was simply inspirational. Our names were on our bibs and just hearing complete strangers cheer me on when I needed it most was motivational, to say the least.

So without further ado...

Thank you Houston for being such a genuine city and cheering us on.
Thank you to my friends, family (and strangers via twitter) for donating.
Thank you BON for helping me train.
Thank you YTAC for letting me run on your team.
Thank you Tina for sticking by my side asking what's love got to do with it.
And last but not least, thank you to my body for holding out and crossing the finish line against all odds.