© 2013 Jules

Hello Pain!

I set the goal a few months ago to run a half marathon. Running is one of my favorite things to do, I have loved it my entire life. When I spent six months in a wheelchair in 2010 it was one of the things I missed most. Running makes me feel like my strongest self. So I set the 13.1 mile goal and found a partner patient enough to reach that goal with me; Heather is a Godsend.

Our race of choice was the Napa Silverado Half Marathon on May 21. The day dawned sunny and warm and, praise the Lord, wind free. We arrived at the parking lot and joined a stream of people heading to the high school racetrack where the route began and ended. With fumbling fingers I pinned on my first ever race bib. I was number 557! Then we quickly searched for a bathroom. Apparently in the endurance sport world “bathrooms” equal a row of porta-potties with about ten lines of people dancing around in front of them. I have never seen more neon and spandex together in one place before in my life. Everyone is adjusting their sports tops, rolling out their ankles and trading race stories.

When we made our way to the track, we joined a crowd of about 200 people waiting to begin. Heather and I trained to complete the race in intervals: run three minutes, walk two minutes. It was a rush to run out with that many people, being swept up in the group as they jogged off down the street. But three minutes were soon up, and we entered our first walking interval. It was hard to let the crowd wash past us, but we had to stick to our plan if we were going to finish strong. Miles one through three were sublime. The race course was a highway that had been closed for the morning. We ran beside vineyards with oak trees looming over the road. Mile four was exciting because the course went 6.5 miles out and then turned around and doubled back. So we got to see the front runners as they completed their ninth miles heading in for the finish. Major goosebumps. The winner finished in an hour and 15 minutes. Blows my mind.

Miles 5 through 9 were the basic grind for us. We kept to our intervals, drank our Gatorade and sucked out power-gels. Our slow pace put us near the back of the pack. We ended up running with a group of about ten other women, one of whom was 34 weeks pregnant. Apparently this was her third half marathon weekend in a row. At the 6.5 mile turnaround we paused for a stretch break and I told her I want to be like her when I grow up.

Around mile ten my feet were really hurting and my blisters were raising. A woman running nearby made me laugh when she loudly exclaimed, “Hello Pain, come run with me!” I decided to commandeer that mantra.

Mile eleven and twelve were hot and long. The shade was gone and the black asphalt was heating up. As we neared the end I prayed I wouldn’t trip with everyone watching. Our husbands were waiting at the finish line to cheer us home! Such great fans. Our total race time was two hours 48 minutes. Not a world record but certainly a personal best.

Now we are eyeing the full marathon and plotting our assault. I must be crazy.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm | #

    Sweet ass sweet! My first half is June 15, and I’m doing a similar training program. You’ve made me feel much less nervous about the possibility of dying, although slightly more concerned about the bathroom situation.

  2. Heather
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm | #

    So proud of us!

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