I ran my third half marathon this past Saturday.
I ran 13.1 miles in the freaking wind and rain. I didn’t just finish the race, I ran at my fastest pace yet, finishing the course in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 42 seconds. I seriously feel like I can do anything now.
I ran the same course last year on an overcast and dry day, and it took me 2 hours, 26 minutes and 50 seconds to finish.
I’ve only been running for almost 2 years now, so I’ll say that’s a pretty good improvement. (More on my running journey in a later blog post. Promise!)
Want to know what it’s like to run a half marathon? I’ll break it down for you from start to finish…and maybe a little beyond!
Before the Race: I wake up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 in the morning and down a cup of coffee. It’s been storming all night long, and I’ve hardly slept. What am I going to do if a thunderstorm pops up on the course…or worse, the race is cancelled? I eat my pre-long run usual breakfast of waffles and smashed bananas. Runners are a lot like toddlers. We have our routines and have our particular foods we like. I get dressed, switching out my black capris for my bright watercolor printed, half mesh leggings from Modcloth. I’ve gotta have some cuteness for today. I can’t wear all black and expect to been seen in traffic. My neon shoelaces are really standing out.
Riding to the Race: It’s not going to be so bad. It might just stay cloudy. Maybe all the rain moved out overnight.
Walking to the Starting Line: It begins to rain. Oh no! Why did I sign up for this? I haven’t EVER run in the rain! Now I’m going to run THIRTEEN POINT FREAKING ONE MILES in it?! This is a march to my imminent doom.
At the Starting Line: I see lots of other runners from all sorts of places. I meet a girl from Canada. She seems nervous too. She says that she’s running races in all 50 states and that this is her 38th. She’s worried about hills. We take selfies and talk about how much we hate wind and love running. We vow to meet up at the finish. The countdown starts, and WE’RE OFF!
Mile 2: The jacket is now around my waist. It’s too heavy! I grab a cup of Gatorade at the next water stop and pour half of it down the side of my face as I try to gulp and run. (Do not recommend!) I try to avoid a car (The streets were not fully closed off to traffic.) and another runner slams into me. She yells, “SORRY!” I keep moving.
Mile 3: 5K mark! I check my watch and see that I’ve been running for 28 minutes. I’ve run a sub 30 minute 5K. I begin to cry. Or is it rain? It IS rain. I put my jacket back on.
Mile 4: I spy a dead squirrel in the road and look at the runner next to me. We both frown and say “Awwwwww! Squirrrrrrel!!!” A little ways ahead, there’s a small child in pajamas dancing barefoot in the rain in front of her house.
“Do you realize it’s raining, child?!” a runner asks her.
“YESSSSSSS!” she exclaims and spins in glee.
Mile 5: I’m really grateful for rain jackets. I’m also really impressed that my shoes haven’t gotten soaked yet. So far, I’ve been good at dodging the deep puddles (and roadkill!) The real MVP is my blue ball cap. Seriously, get you a cap to run in. It’s not just great to keep the sun off your face, but to also keep the rain from running into your eyes. The rain slows up. I tie my jacket back around me as I watch two children chase a black standard poodle down the street. “Come back, dog!” they yell. He gone.
Mile 6: I decide to walk through the water stop this time. I walk and drink my Gatorade. I look at my watch. One hour. Dude! I’m doing 10 minute miles! I’m going to PR. Holy Moses on a pogo…yep, that’s a cemetery. Run on by. Run on by. “Daisy Lane…” That’s gotta be a cemetery joke there. The rain picks up. I run on without the jacket, but with the need to add “Pushing Daisies” to my Netflix queue for some reason.
Halfway Point: Oh we’re halfway therrrrrrre! Ohhhhhhh-oh! Lizard on a chaaiiir!
Mile 7: The rain lets up, but the whole street is covered in water. I notice that runners up ahead are jumping onto the sidewalk to make it through. I do that too. I tell the volunteers at the intersection that I didn’t feel like swimming. They laugh. I try to make the volunteers happy. They’re out in this rainy mess too. It’s hard for them, even if they aren’t the ones doing the running.
Mile 8: I slow to a walk as I grab a Gatorade from a soaked volunteer. I smile and tell her she’s doing a good job. I launch the cup into the trash can. She shoots! She scores! Uh, nope! Runners suck at basketball. The heavens open up and Mother Nature just decides to give it all she’s got. The jacket goes on, but I’m already soaked to the core.
Mile 9: Someone on the side of the road yells, “You’re almost there!” NO, I’M NOT!!!
Mile 10: The sides of my knees start to ache, but I keep running. I’ve gotta get out of this rain. The sooner I finish, the sooner I get to my fluffy pink towel and some waffles at The Parsonage.
Mile 11: I’m back near campus. A car runs through a puddle and sprays me with water. My shoes are now soaked. I’m almost to the finish line. Man, traffic is really backed up…what if no one is there to meet me, because I ran so fast that they’re still stuck in traffic? Why did I run so fast? I don’t want to cross the finish line and beat my people there who wanted to see me finish! I run faster.
Mile 12: I need to take a walk break. The strong wind and rain is keeping me from running up the hill like I wanted to. A volunteer holding a large red umbrella and wearing a mostly dry rain jacket complains about the wind and rain. I wipe the snot and rain from my face and tell her that I’m actually enjoying the weather. I hate this. I really hate this.
Mile 13: Oh bless it! I’m here! I tear off my jacket so everyone can see my bib number as I near the finish line. Yes! I’m gonna beat my time! I’m gonna… I see my boyfriend and sister.
I go home, shower and begin a wonderful lazy and celebratory day with my boyfriend. Waffles are on the menu.
This was the day I ran 13.1 miles in the rain. I didn’t wait for the storm to pass. I ran through it. There’s a lesson to be learned there, I guess.