Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My half marathon journeys

The day before yesterday on Sunday September 9th I completed my 15th half marathon.

I finished with a time of 3:47:36 (I am a walker) which thrilled me to death.  I pushed myself a little harder than I usually do and I beat my last half marathon time by 18 minutes.  Despite a one hour massage I am still feeling the effects of that "push"! This was close to my "normal" time before the weight gain and foot problems.  So I am very happy.   What made it even sweeter is that my friends Linda, Sarah and Brenda were there with flowers to greet me after I got my medal.  Very emotional especially as Linda won't be living here next year and this  the ONLY time she will meet me after a half marathon.  (unless I do one down Carolina way...hmmm....)
My friend June took this right after I crossed the finish line

My friend Eilleen and I after the race - Eilleen and I have entered A LOT of half marathons together. We walk separately and celebrate together later.

I called a taxi to get to the start as I did not want to walk another 3 km on top of 21 km.  The taxi driver asked me "why do you do such things" and I said "because of the thrill you get when you cross the finish line and get the medal".  And it's true.  It is impossible to explain the feeling to someone who has never done it or has never wanted to do it - or someone who says I'd only do it once and then that's it.  Kind of like having a child I guess - something I don't know about and never will.  The feeling of accomplishment and pride in yourself when you cross that finish line and get that medal around your neck cannot be described.  For me it is a very addicting feeling.  I love the routine of training and feeling myself grown stronger every week. 

The race itself is a journey.  Everyone is different.  I prefer to walk my races alone... I want to experience the different emotions of the race that come up - excitement, pride,doubt, fear, sadness,happiness, anger - it's all there!  I don't want to be distracted by mundane chatter.  I always seem to have friends in the race if it's a local one and love to get together with them before and afterwards but for me the race itself is a lone journey.  I want to be in the moment.  Although sometimes the moment is accompanied by my MP3 player...when the going gets tough the MP3 player comes out.  Or if there are some people walking behind me with an especially boring conversation going on!  I love having people catch up to me or catching up to them and having a few minutes of conversation and then off we go.  I still remember conversations I have had with other walkers in previous races - such as one about cemetery plots (she was from New Orleans and could not believe people elsewhere actually BURIED their dead underground- how gross!) in Mobile, Alabama. 

Yes my wanderlust and love of half marathons has taken me all over North America:  Mobile, Alabama as mentioned above, Las Vegas, Whidby Island (off the coast of Washington), Calgary, Toronto (special because my niece ran the half while I walked it), Deadwood, South Dakota, Ottawa and various races here in my home town. 

While in Ottawa I bought myself a t-shirt that states simply "There will come a day when I can not do this, today is not that day".  I wore it Sunday and I plan to wear it to every long walk I do for as long as me or the t-shirt lasts. My aim is to be a very worn out old lady but one with lots of stories to tell. 

Will I do it again?  If you had asked me yesterday I would have said no but now...maybe...I am sure by the end of the week it will be OF COURSE!!!  Bring it on!!

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