Have you ever had a goal that took a long time to accomplish? Yesterday, I accomplished my long time goal of running a half marathon in under two hours – maybe not by much but it’s still under 2 hours. In running, every second counts.

I started running in October 2009. My very first race was a marathon (26.2 miles) and it took me 4 hours 53 minutes to complete.  Not fast by any means but I was proud of my time considering the only way I trained was by riding my bike.  Two months later, I ran my first half and finished 2 hours 5 minutes.  Another proud moment.  A friend said – if you just train, you will be so much faster.  When I started running, I didn’t want to be fast.  And actually I would have been proud with a 10 minute/mile pace.  Boy…I’ve come a long way…

After these two races, I was hooked on running and have been running ever since.  I’ve run close to 20 half marathons and always I knew I could do better.  I knew I could go faster.  But it seemed like every race I would psyche myself out that I couldn’t do it.  Sure, I finished all my races and I’ve made improvement over the years but it just felt that I couldn’t seem to reach that sub two time for the half marathon.  I wanted it so bad, I could taste it.

Finally, after almost 6 years of running, I reached my goal yesterday. Sure, I ran through chemo, post chemo, and countless other things that I said were the reasons I couldn’t reach my goal but the real reason was me.  I always let my mind get in the way.  For me, the mind is 90% of the run.  The physical part is easy – just one step in front of the other – over and over, faster and faster.

I realized that the St. Paddy’s Day Tacoma Half had potential to be my race.  It was relatively flat (or so I thought) and I feel like I’ve prepared appropriately. The Hot Chocolate 15k was the moment I realized I could do this and my friend Bethany helped me believe.  Luckily for me, she was also running the half.

Race day came. I got up at before the crack of dawn and headed north to Tacoma.  I have my ritual now on race day – stop at Starbucks for a bacon gouda breakfast sandwich and a hazelnut latte…both of these things are ‘key’ before the race.  By the time I got to Tacoma,  I took care of business and waited with my friends till the start of the race.  It wasn’t the best weather but for running, it was almost perfect.  Cloudy, a light drizzle (sometimes harder rain), and about 55 degrees.  The only thing I could really do without was the wind.

The race started and Bethany and I were on our way and making great time.  Truth is, we probably went out too fast but I haven’t been able to start a race any other way.  I start running and I run what just feels right. The first 6 miles were great – under a 9 minute pace.  The next 6 were challenging and the final mile I was trying to pick up the pace.  For a moment, I thought I could actually have an awesome PR.  But there was a head wind and some hills that I wasn’t quite expecting – especially at the last 1/4 of the race.  I actually had to walk up that last hill and part of me wanted to give up on my sub two but I was so close. I knew if I could get to the top of this last hill, I could sprint to the finish. I always tell myself I can do anything for five minutes. Pain is temporary and the pride of my first sub two will be forever.

I crossed the finish line at 1:59:05!  This race meant a lot to me.  It’s the last one that I will ever do in my “30’s” and I wanted to make sure I go out with a bang.  And I did.  I finished with a sub two half marathon and 21st place (out of 88) in my age group.  I feel more than just proud, I feel ecstatic!

So 40 – I’m coming for you and you better watch out!  I’ve got more in me and I can’t wait for the next age group.  Maybe…just like wine…I’ll get better.

Half_start       Half course

RSC_beth       Stats_half       Half

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