Thursday, November 7, 2013

Here's what happens when you're willing to be ridiculous

I think it was last February, when Carrie suggested I follow up the Princess Half Marathon with the Great Western in May. I was already trained, after all, so the transition to the next race wouldn't be out of the question.

Yes, I do believe that's the point at which I figured, well, why not? Why not turn this one half marathon into two? And quickly on the heels of that thought cam the next:

If I can do two, I can do four.

So here I sit, ready to travel to my fourth half marathon of 2013.

First came the Princess, with its own set of weather-related issues. Warm and humid, I had a tough run, only just barely setting a new PR.
I finished, and I got my medal. 

Then, in May, I did run the Great Western. It came with what can only be described as the Most Epic Finish Line Ever, thanks to my friend Rich Bird who - in honor of my stellar fundraising efforts in support of Walk MS - showed up as I finished the race, in a kilt, playing the bagpipes. (Side note: I have the greatest friends ever in the history of ever.)
Rich Bird and me. He's the best.

July brought the Rock-n-Roll half marathon in Chicago. It almost killed me. I set a new PR of sorts, running my longest half marathon ever. They ran out of water for us back-of-the-pack runners, and I got acquainted with the personnel at not one, not two, but three medical tents. But I finished, and I'm damn proud of it.

Somewhere around mile 11,
I made a friend. 

This Saturday night, the posse (me, Linda, Di and Shelly) will head to another Run Disney starting line, running the Wine & Dine half. It combines two of my dearest loves - food, and running. It also serves as a reminder: setting a goal, no matter how outlandish it may sound (four halves in one year?) puts me in motion, bringing out the relentless competitor in me who cannot be stopped.

No matter how difficult it gets. No matter how much my knees ache. I will keep going.

I never take a race for granted, and until I cross the finish line in the wee hours of Sunday morning (the race starts Saturday at 10; since I am a long way from running 13.1 in sub-2, I'm resigned to running into Sunday) I won't call it a done deal. But I'm on my way. I have goals - I'd like to PR - but travel and weather often mean I need to maintain a solid grip on reality. And that's okay; the only real goal in any race is to finish strong.

So, off I go, to bring to light a goal that started as a joke, and ended up being something worthy of a year-long pursuit. I have literally been training for a half marathon (or four) for more than a year. In February, I will allow myself to take a rest and focus on training for triathlons (the goal? Three in 2014). But this year will always, always be special to me, because in 2013 I proved to myself that even the most ridiculous, the most outlandish and the most seemingly impossible goals are achievable.

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