After I ran the Ocala Half Marathon last year I was completely convinced that I was done with them. It was my second 13.1 event, and it was two more than I ever thought I’d be able to do. The races were incredible – so much fun and such an accomplishment – but the training! Ugh.
For months prior to each of these events I trained, probably very poorly by any serious runner’s standards. I’d keep my runs short during the week and then complete a long run on the weekend, adding a mile to the previous weekend’s long run until I hit at least 11 miles. Then I’d run my half marathon and that would be that. All that training for one event. All those early weekend mornings spent alone on the road instead of snuggling in bed with my man. All those hours spent listening to podcasts instead of listening to my daughters giggle.
Don’t get me wrong, I love running. But after the first half I realized that I really enjoy (and only have time for) 3-4 mile runs. I got sucked into the Ocala half because it’s just so gosh-darn gorgeous there, but after that I declared I’d never run another. And I meant it. At least, until a couple of weeks later when I was at the expo for a Valentine’s Day 5K with my friend Tina. She saw a booth for the Key West half, decided to sign up, and, being the sucker I am, I signed up too.
That was supposed to be my last one for sure. I was done. Until 2 miles into the run, when my friend Jen and I started contemplating the A1A half marathon (the first 13.1 I ran), which was being held exactly 4 weeks after the one we were currently running. Truthfully, at 2 miles in we were considering interval running the FULL A1A marathon, but by mile 8 or 9 we’d already thrown that thought out the window. Yes, you can laugh.
Our logic was this: we’ve already trained for a half… we don’t enjoy training for these long races… we were totally fine to do a mix of walking and running… we thought the medal was amazing and too good to miss… and the best reason ever: why not?
The plan was to at least be able to run 6 miles, or half of the half. We didn’t care whether we broke it up into smaller bites or charged out the first six and then walked the rest, but we didn’t want to be so out of shape that we couldn’t complete it without crawling. So for the short few weeks between the two events, we ran 2-4 miles a few days during the week and a longish-er run on the weekends. I managed to hit 6 miles the weekend before the race, but man, I was pooped and not feeling it at all.
Race day. We started out pretty chill, not really expecting much out of ourselves. We knew we were good for at least the first 5K, but beyond that we were just going to wing it. Mile 4 comes, we are feeling fine. Mile 6 comes around, and we are still running. I’m feeling great, so I tell Jen that I think I might be able to actually run the whole thing. She wasn’t as optimistic, but on we went. By the time we hit mile 8, we were both thinking it was possible. And once we reached mile 10 – knowing there was only a 5K left to go – we decided there was no way we’d be walking this one. We crossed the finish line about 2:40 later. Boomsauce.
We were flying high. We felt unstoppable. We didn’t do the funny little dance Rocky does when he reaches the top of those steps, but I know I was feeling it inside and I’m pretty sure Jen was too. It was awesome… we had just completed another half marathon – without walking as planned – just 4 weeks after running another. Invincible is an understatement.
Then we get back to my car. Of the 3 of us that drove there (my car being one of them), apparently Jen and I were the only ones who brought enough energy to get back home. I was trying not to freak out, since whenever anything goes wrong with the engine of my car I’m convinced it could explode. Seriously, just ask my dad. Jen, however, was amazing. I had jumper cables in my trunk, and we found some kindhearted fellow half-marathoners who spent nearly 30 minutes trying to help me jump my car. Jen was the only one who confidently knew what to do, and we all just kinda watched her, commenting on how disappointed our fathers would be if they could see us. In the end, it was useless anyway, the engine refused to turn over. So, I called roadside assistance, Jen called her hubby, and we waited for our heroes to arrive.
Jen left when the tow truck guy arrived, and he took a portable battery out and jumped my car in less than 2 minutes, so I drove home, grabbed my family, and headed to PepBoys to get a new battery.
❤ Did I mention all this happened on Valentine’s Day? ❤
The battery incident put a slight damper on that morning’s earlier miraculous accomplishment. But only a slight one. When I look back on what we did, I don’t even think about the battery. In fact, when I went to start typing this I didn’t even remember it happened until I wrote about crossing the finish line. Because the high was clearly greater than the low.
Free medal engraving was offered after the race, and instead of putting my race time I asked if I could put on a verse from the Bible: Psalm 46:5 – “God is within her, she shall not fall.”
Seemed pretty appropriate to me! 🙂 ❤