A few weeks ago I ran the OC Half Marathon. Suppose I probably should have just written something right after the race, but life. The race was amazing. The week before the race I drove out to where the start line was, parked my car, and proceeded to run 12 miles of the 13.1 course. I wanted to be prepared and see how the hills were. After I finished that run I thought, "I can conquer these hills, they aren't as scary as they looked!". Which is huge. I think sometimes we get things like hills in our head and can psych ourselves out with it.
Day of the race. It was BEYOND great to live 3 miles from the start. To leave the house when I want, to sit in my car a little longer before the start of the race...new concept for this traveling racer! Almost forgot my watch at home...almost forgot my watch in the car. Again, lucky me to live so close and have my car at the start. It was 'chilly' by SoCal standards, but felt great to me so I was running around pre-race in my shorts and tank top while everyone else was bundled up in pants, long sleeves and mylar blankets. I did some strides and a full stretch routine and was ready to get things started! I scooted over to my corral and waited for the start.
BOOM! Start of the race! I knew this area like the back of my hand, I was ready for this race, and based on my long run the weekend before, I had put a goal of 2:05 in my head. I even put a pace chart pic on my home screen so I could keep on pace. My goal since I ran my first race 5 years ago has always been 2:10, and last year's Idaho race was the closest I'd come with a 2:15:25. Literally 45 seconds into the race a girl came up behind me and handed me my license...it had apparently fallen out of my back shorts pocket...I hadn't put it and my CC and my cash in the pocket and they had slipped down through the backside. I put my hand instinctively on that pocket and didn't feel my card. I thought about stopping, but I had used the restroom, jogged around and stretched. My card could be anywhere. So I kept going. A minute later, I felt it in the under part of the shorts. SOMEONE was watching over me. I put both in the front pocket and triple checked the security.
On to the race. Everything about it was great. I felt great, I moved great, I hydrated great. We came around the PCH at mile 7 to go up the Dover hill, and I slowed my stride and kept the pace and made it up that blasted thing. I made it to the trail I'd been training on for months right by my house. The weather was amazing, 65 with cloud cover. Kept moving along to Galaxy where I knew some YL committee friends would be. That was cool, having friends literally LIVING on the race course. I looked at my watch and was still on pace. My 'shoot for the moon' time was break 2 hours. My 'land among the stars' time was 2:10. I knew I'd hit somewhere in between, and that was perfectly fine with me. Irvine got me a little bit and I started slowing a little, made it up the hill then walked a few. I know how important it is to train for the last half of a race. That's why I'm switching my marathon training, but that's another story. About a mile and a half to go, and I knew I needed to finish strong, no matter how I felt.
Bring on the finish line. I looked at my watch knowing I couldn't get under 2 this race, however, I knew if I ran I could get under 2:05. And that's what I did. Finished in 2:03:25, PR'd by exactly 12 minutes. That's almost a minute per mile faster than I've ever ran! I couldn't believe it. THIS is what hard work and dedication amounts to. THIS is what nutrition and strength and taking care of yourself gets. THIS is what running for a cause means. Because that's what I was doing. I was running for Deacon. Every step of this race was for my sweet little nephew. I even had him pinned on my race bib, so I could literally be reminded every time I looked down he was right there with me, he is what I was doing this for.
It felt SO GOOD to see that race time. I know my goals going forward are lofty. Now that I know I can do it, I know with a little more effort and dedication I can break 2 hours. I also know, I am giving it my all when the marathon training starts. I have some pretty big goals for that as well, and know that Deacon will be on my mind every step of the way. New York is for him, all him. That sweet little boy is going to be cheering me on and encouraging me throughout the process and the race from Heaven, and I can see his adorable smile and hear that amazing laugh, and know he's clapping and cheering me on. And that is ALL that matters