So here I am writing the day after the St Jude Marathon Weekend where I ran the half marathon. This was the first time I have ever run the half, and I am so glad I was not signed up for the full. This is one of the premier races in the South in my opinion and I love doing it, it benefits St Jude Hospital in Memphis. No family ever pays for medical treatment at St Jude due to donation from all over the world. So the first weekend in December, over 18,000 runners come to Memphis to run this race. The Marathon weekend offers a 5K, 13.1, 26.2 and a 26.2 relay option!
Now I knew going in that this was going to be a tough race for me. My last long run was an 11 mile run on November 1st and it took me 1:55, so I felt I was on track to have a great race. Well, things happen. Some things you can foresee and other things you can't. For some reason, I always seem to think I can train through the Christmas "Black Friday" rush and everything that goes into planning for those 2 wonderful days (and yes, that is sarcasm). Due to travel with work, I had a hard time keeping the training schedule going, but I decided I was still doing the race anyways.
So here we were on Saturday morning waiting to start. I started in Corral 8, which was a 10:07 mile. I was really unsure of how long I would be able to hold that pace, but I was game. I was running with 3 other friends and I knew that would help me. I also knew I was going in with no expectation except to finish the race and enjoy making that turn to the finish line.
The first 6 miles were awesome. Tons of people cheering and runners were everywhere. Our foursome stuck together, which you know is tough in a race this size. we were hitting a 10:07 pace which was getting tougher each mile, so I pulled back alittle and let the guys go on. I was able to keep a steady pace for the first 9 miles or so before I knew I needed to focus on finishing.
So I did some walking through the water stations and then ran tot he next one for the next few miles. My calves started tweaking around 11, but managed to push through and get to the finish line. I crossed the line at 2:31:23.
2:31:23...my PR is 1:54.
Here is the thing. I am more proud of this 2:31 than I would have thought. I knew going in that I was not trained for it and even had thoughts of ditching the race, but I didn't. I pushed through. It hurt and my legs are still sore. I didn't listen to the voices. I maintained, I persevered and I finished. When you think about the reason this race exists, to raise money for kids battling cancer, my leg cramps seem trivial. So like I said, I am probably more proud of my 2:31 and everything it took for me to get there than I am my 1:54.