This weekend was my first race of 2012, The Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I will also say this race was a first, in that it is the least prepared I have felt for a race. A lot of it was making sure I rested my knee, lest I risk hurting more when I had such a big race to finish. But I'm not afraid to say it- some of it was fear. After the last race, not finishing and having training runs go less than ideal, I was afraid to get back out there. Afraid to get worse, afraid to have to give up, afraid to have to stop running altogether.
But after a few hiccups to ensure registration (props to the RunDisney folk for being so thorough in helping me troubleshoot!), I was in it for sure, rose at 3:00AM to get after it, and accompanied this young lady, Jessica Searcy, for our first race of the New Year, and our first race together! (The picture was at the end, we were tired!)
This was the hardest race I've ever done. Possibly harder than the Women's Running Half. Why? Because I hurt pretty early on, and just kept going. Walking felt worse, and quitting felt wrong. So I kept going. I tried to block it all out, periodically surge to make it go faster, and to force good running form so I didn't get injured again. I kept going. The result? A painfully slow 2:28:33. Painful physically, absolutely. But it hurt psychologically too. This time last year, I finished the same distance in 2:09:57, and hit a personal best of 2:05:10 only two months ago.
Getting back to top speed is going to be a road. And I need to recommit myself to that process. I need to not let fear keep me from improving, and I need to use my one word (LEARN) to figure out the best way to be better. But I am humbled by the struggle that this race was, and am prepared to put the work in to start getting better.
Thanks Jess, for sharing the experience with me. LOVE spending time with you, and you ROCKED this race!! You're amazing!