I've posted before about my hope of finishing a half marathon this year, and the long months of training that I've done to reach this goal. On Sunday, May 1st, I finished the Eugene Half Marathon. I am still on cloud nine - stealing glances of my medal every time I pass by it. I am so proud of this achievement, mainly because I'm almost fifty-eight years old and have never been very athletic, so this was truly a lofty goal I set for myself last year.
It was made easier because it was a team effort. My son talked me into running in the first place sixteen months ago. He told me I should try the 2010 Portland Shamrock 5K as my first race and when I finished that race, after only ten weeks of running, I was addicted. My son and daughter-in-law trained with me on a couple of the longer workouts this year, and my daughter-in-law and I were racing partners through the entire 13.1 mile course yesterday.
Because I tend to suffer shin splints if I try to run without walking breaks, I alternate walking and running - a strategy that worked well yesterday at the half. We managed to run/walk the half in 3 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds - a 16.02 average pace. Not bad for our first half marathon.
Why did I attempt this half marathon? Well, it was sort of a bucket list item that I'd been dreaming about since I started running. And it's something that not many women in my age group even consider doing.
What did I learn about myself? I learned that I can set some pretty high goals, and if I really work hard and don't give up when the inevitable injuries happen, or life events wreak havoc with my schedule, I can achieve so much more than I ever thought possible.
What was the best part of this experience? It was definitely sharing the training and the race with my family. They were so very encouraging and supportive of this wild and crazy idea of mine. My sweet husband even gave me a wonderful card, congratulating me on my achievement.
What's next? I am two years away from turning sixty. I want to try to complete a marathon before that milestone birthday. I'm not sure whether I'll attempt a marathon this year or next, but I do want to try. It won't be a 16.02 pace, for sure, but I just want to finish. I want to prove to myself that I can accomplish something I would have thought absolutely impossible just two years ago. Heck, I guess I did that on Sunday, didn't I?