On May 6th, I ran the Orange County Half Marathon, a point-to-point 13.1 mile course from Newport Beach to Costa Mesa. A few days later, the race organizers posted something on Facebook. They were having a contest – who knew the exact wording of the Why I Run mile markers posted on the course? (Each mile marker had a Why I Run statement.) When I read about that contest I thought to myself, “What the hell are they talking about? I didn’t see any Why I Run signs!”
Clearly I was focused, on myself and my goal. I had been training HARD for 13 weeks and I was there to race. This was my first experience of actually racing. I’ve done a lot of races, and my only plan for most of them has been to have fun, enjoy the crowds and the scenery, and maybe break 2 hours which I would often decide to try for in the last few miles of the race. For this race, I had a very specific race plan and a goal from the very start, and I was determined to achieve that goal. Like I said, I was focused — didn’t notice much of the scenery, didn’t notice those big Why I Run signs. It was just me, my breath, the steady rhythm of my steps and the discomfort in my legs.
Yup, I’ll admit that during the race, I was uncomfortable. I guess that is what happens when I push the pace and give it my all for 85% of the race. If it felt easy, I should have been pushing harder, right?
A few hours after the race, a friend texted me: How did it go? I responded with My first real racing experience – racing is HARD and it sucks at times. PR races aren’t supposed to be easy, huh? Call me crazy, but despite the hard and sucky moments of racing, it was actually fun, extremely satisfying, and it made me realize what I’m capable of doing both mentally and physically.
So, in a few weeks, I will start training again for a time goal at the Chicago Marathon this October. While I’ve done marathons in the past, I’ve never raced a marathon. Sure, the thought of racing for almost 26.2 makes me want to puke a little, but I love the training and I love the feeling of accomplishment once the race is over. So why not, right?
Oh, I got my PR and then some at the OC Half — 1:43:50.
Thank you, Drea McLarty, for challenging me, understanding me, and most important, believing in me!