I did it.

I did it. ran 13.1 miles and did fine. Finished exactly 2 hours after I started. Surprisingly, it felt really good- start to finish. No pain, no body parts being disagreeable. I was really worried about whether I had trained enough, or properly. I was worried about if my nutrition and hydration was good. Everything just clicked. All those wicked hills in the park had my legs ready for the various climbs along the way, including one very late in mile 11. Not a nice place to put a hill.
I was really excited and nervous this morning as we got ourselves out of the house. It was a cold 29 degrees. All the way there I just kept telling myself I could do it. Not to go out too fast. Take it easy, just finish it. It was hard to follow those words. I am pretty competitive, and it was hard to settle. Between the nerves and the crowd, I could have taken off like a shot. Least the first mile was uphill. That tempered my enthusiasm slightly. I watched as everyone around me settled into their race pace. I was a bit put off by the guy that just went on and on, talking to the guys around him. I am used to quiet, only my breath for company. I did have my iphone, but I felt playing music would somehow cheapen the experience. I wanted to see, hear, and smell everything. Not to be lost in some playlist. But with this guy talking I really considered it. Instead I focused on my breath. My feet hitting the road and nothing else. Thankfully he shut up. It was nice and easy for the first four. My pace was exactly what I train at. I found my normal rhythm despite the people moving around me. I tried hard not to get pulled by those that moved past. It was extremely hard, and I found it difficult to trust my sense of pace. It was pretty amazing that I did, and that my body knew, even if my brain had doubts. Moving thru 5 and 6 it continued rolling hills along a lake. The group had thinned out. I had no more than one or two people really close. I lost myself in my mind. Coming past seven I felt myself change gears and go for negative splits on the return. I had told myself I wouldn’t race. That it was just to get my feet wet. Well fuck that. I was 7 miles in, and content, I was running faster. In the 10 and 11th miles I kicked a bit harder than I thought. My brain was telling my I was closer than I was. It was a rough pace, somewhere in the 8:20s. More than a minute faster than I train. As we got into the 12th mile there were some nasty surprises in the form of hills. In fact I honestly muttered to myself, you have got to be fucking kidding. Here I was, having kicked off early in mile 10, and was trying to sustain a brutal pace for me. I kept telling myself, you put in all this training, don’t think about it, just keep your legs moving faster. As mile 13 approached I could hear the crowd. I ran for all I was worth. I had some help since it was downhill. Closing for home at 7:20. Some guy watching yelled out “nice strides”. I was flying. All I could think about was that timing mat. I knew 2 hours was within reach. I this goal in my head to run under 2 hours. Pretty laughable considering I don’t do this, and I have never raced before. But there was the big clock ticking down. As my foot hit the mat the clock read 2:00.01 I had done it. I had raced. I had followed the plan in my head. But most of all I found another little something that I had. I could call myself a runner, and not have any doubts. As I sat in the snow bank icing my legs all I could think of was all the little moments I slowed to take water, all those seconds that added up. What I could have done differently. I know I have a sub 2 hours in me. I just know it. More training, more devotion and more dedication. I am a runner. and I can fly.

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