Monday, May 19, 2008
Something I Never Thought I'd Do
I used to hate running. I would've rather had a mole excised than run. It just was not for me. Then about 5 years ago, I started doing little sprints during my walks. Those led to me joining my friend Christina for an occasional around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I remember being shocked the first time I ran the full 3 miles around without having to walk in between.
Christina and my other friend Alysha ran often and each had a few 1/2 marathons (Alysha has a few fulls) under their belts. When we were training together to climb Half Dome last summer, they talked me in to doing 2 laps around the Bowl. 6 miles. I never thought I'd do that and live to tell the tale.
After we climbed Half Dome—17 miles of hiking up and back—I realized that I, too, could probably run a 1/2 marathon. And so began the commitment to making it happen.
Saturday, I completed the Palos Verdes race.
We were at the race village around 6:30 a.m., stretching in a park that overlooked the ocean. The view was breathtaking—a 180° view of water. By the time we got our numbers, stood in line for the bathrooms, downed some water, and crowded behind the starting line with the other runners, the temperature was already starting to rise. I'm guessing we ran in 75-80° temps the whole time.
I felt like I was in a slow-moving cattle stampede when we began. The runners were thick until about mile 2, when we hit the first hill. It was a doosey. But thankfully there was a water station at the top of it. We stopped there—and at every water stop along the way as a preemptive measure to stave off heat stroke.
By mile 4, we were face-to-face with the fasties who had already looped back. We cheered for them as we passed, trying to keep our pace and conserve our energy. Only 9.1 miles to go...
I think I hit my stride around mile 5. There was a live band playing Foxy Lady on the side of the road, and I think it energized me. Or maybe it was the incredible mansions and perfectly manicured, beach-side golf course. There was plenty of beauty to distract me (and plenty of hills to climb). Before I knew it, we were at 6.5, our turn-around point. The race seemed like cake after that. We did walk some, and we continued to stop for water and Gatorade. But we did okay—about 10.5-minute miles. We came across the finish line at 10:02—2 hours and 32 minutes after we started.
I was grinning ear to ear when we crossed. What an awesome accomplishment. Despite the heat, staying up until midnight the night before, thinking I was going to die on our last long training run—and previously hating running(!)—I had finished.
And ya know what? I'm going to do another one in the fall.