What am I doing running at 56? (Go St. Louis half marathon)

It’s race day and we’re here at the Go St Louis marathon/half. Jackie runs up to the starting line and Jerren and I climb over the rails and join the masses much further back.

This is my first time to use a Garman during a run and I’m not sure exactly what impact it will have on my race.  All I know is that  I have a clear goal this time – break my best half marathon time which I achieved in Memphis.  Maybe my Garman will help.

Miles 1 & 2

Believe it or not,  I’m usually asking myself, even at this stage of the game, “What am I doing here and why am I doing this”?   Not today though – Wow! feeling really good and running with my girl Jerren.

Miles 3, 4 & 5

Jerren has left me, as is expected, but  this is where my head is exploding with all those wonderful thoughts.  You know those thoughts – of how much I love everyone, especially those who have participated in preparing me for this race.  I’ve run enough races to know that this won’t last but it’s wonderful while I’m cruising.  I’m even considering the possibility of running another marathon.  I’m sure I can beat my last marathon time.

Mile 6 & 7

I need to look at my Garman like Jackie told me to do and see if I’m on track/pace but I’m afraid to.  There is this “hell hill” coming up at mile 7 and, unfortunately it’s clear today, and I can SEE that it goes on forever.  I know Go St. Louis is not an easy course, but who puts these routes together?????  I remind myself that hills can be my strength if I stay focused and determined.  I’m doing it, but I know this is not the last hill I’ll have to scale.

Mile 8

I’m feeling my gluts, nothing outside of the ordinary when doing a long run, but I’m feeling “spent”.  This too shall pass.

Mile 9 & 10

My calves are starting to tell me that they want to stop.  “Who am I kidding, beat my last half marathon time, run another marathon”???   Please let this pass.

Mile 11

My calves are screaming, unlike anything I’ve experienced before.  I look up and say, “please, please help me finish this strong”.  My mind & legs are telling me that maybe I have reached my potential and I need to be happy to just finish.  I’m starting to feel disappointed in myself.  I forge ahead.

Mile 12

The explosion is set to happen any moment.  My calves are popping & the knots are trying to overtake me.  I have to stop and attempt to stretch my calves if I want to finish, and not finishing is not an option. I run to the side and as I’m stretching, a charlie horse in my right calf.  It’s not going to go away and I don’t want to blow it in the last 2 miles.  Although there are two voices in my head arguing the outcome of this race, I again forge ahead.  This isn’t fair.  Now, what was that I always told my kids?  Oh yea, “Life isn’t fair, fairness has nothing to do with it”.

Mile 13

I’m doing the last mile and although I’m strong cardiovascularly, my run has become distorted and awkward.  I’m shifting from maintaining form and a steady pace back to distorted and awkward.  There are people on the side lines all around me cheering and I’m not inclined to looking pathetic, so I’m trying so hard to transcend what’s happening to me.  I see the finish now. I realize that I’m going to get there.  I’m going to finish and there is even a possibility that I might still meet my goal.

Thank you, I’m done! My clock time doesn’t tell the story and I’m not sure how many minutes passed before I turned off my Garman.  I’ll have to wait a few hours to get my chip time.  I’m off to find my family –  I GO DOWN!  I’m on the ground and  I’m in agony. My calves have officially exploded. Being pathetic is no longer an issue.

Some wonderful runners and medical people patiently massage my calves until, what seemed like forever, they could hoist me up and get me to the med tent.  I didn’t like being in the med tent.  I left and hobbled to my family.  I now know what I need to do next time to break 2 hours.

Beth Pirtle – 2 hours, 7 minutes & 45 seconds – I met my goal!!!!!

Who said?  “It’s the hard that makes it great”