13.1m Missoula Half Marathon
On Sunday, July 8th, I walked out of my hotel room at o'dark thirty having no idea when I returned a few hours later I'd be a rockstar. Well, at least I'd feel like one.
|Ready to run at 4 a.m.|
It was my first time running the highly recommended Missoula half marathon. My game plan was to run the whole thing and enjoy all the sights. My finish time was irrelevant; it was the medal I would give to my son for his collection that was my prize. The look of excitement when I hand him the medal makes me feel like I came in first place.
Despite wearing two watches that tracked every step of every mile down to my pace, heart rate, and exertion zone, I told myself I would not look at any of the data until after the race. And I didn't look until mile 10....
The starting gun went off and I trotted off with the rest of the herd of runners. The sunrise was beautiful over a lake and through the distant trees. A woman stopped to take a picture so I asked if she wanted to be in the picture. A few photos later, I was back on my way. I ran at a pace that felt challenging yet maintainable.
The mile markers came and went and I ran through every sprinkler I could. At mile 8 I saw Turtle Girl who snapped a quick picture of me then jumped in and paced me. She is an excellent coach and cheerleader extraordinaire. She told me I was doing amazing and had a fantastic pace. We chatted (visualize her talking and me grunting responses between my labored breath) and I told her my racing goal had always been to finish in 2:30, but my closest PR was 2:43. She told me if I kept up my pace I'd make it. So at mile 10, I looked at my Garmin and confirmed she was right. What was holding me back? Nothing so I went for it.
Nothing is as surreal as running down the finisher chute with the crowd cheering you on like you are a rockstar. I sprinted and crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:27:14 beating my former PR by 16 minutes! I'm still smiling as I write this! I can't believe it! I gain something from every race. This one I got a new PR, but more than that I have great memories and some new friends who I met along the way. I look forward to more races with them and others who I'll meet. Who wants to come with me to San Antonio or Vegas?
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|My best finisher photo ever and it was FREE!|