Well. Here we are, just 24 hours away from race day. This time was so far off when we started this thing in February that it seemed like it was a day that would never come. But the reality is that for the past seven months, we have been training for September 27th - a day that we will for the first time in our lives, run/walk 13.1 miles. A half-marathon.
It's been hard work. Just as difficult as the physical aspect of it has been the mental. I can't say how many times I thought, "My body is willing, but the flesh is weak." There were times when I just didn't want to run even one mile, let alone the four or five that was on the schedule. I cried a few times, knowing that wasn't going to get me down the road any further. Still, I needed the release that the tears brought. Then it was back to business.
As Channel 21 News revs up for coverage of the weekend's events, I'm getting excited. I've been asked if I'm nervous. I'm not - not at all. I am looking forward to being with 3000 of my closest friends, hoofing it around some of the best parts of Ft. Wayne on a beautiful fall day. I'm grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and thankful for all the wonderful support I've received.
I don't know that I'll ever be a runner, but I now know that I can be if I want to be. I ran three 5Ks this spring and summer and I enjoyed them all. I never thought I would say that, though I've always liked the feeling of being totally spent, totally exhausted, sweat and all, and that's what it feels like after running 3.1 miles. I had some measure of success doing those - two firsts and one second in my age group - and a real feeling of accomplishment, mainly because I never thought I could ever or WOULD ever do such a thing. Right now, I won't rule out running just enough to stay in shape to do a few of those next summer. Just a couple of miles a few times a week would do it. We'll see...
I've been asked if I "feel better" (physically) because of all this. In some ways, yes. Undoubtedly, my body is in much better condition. I feel the firmer muscle tone just about everywhere, not just in my legs. When I was actively running, my cardio was fabulous, with my resting heart rate running in the high 40s, down from my usual 55. So the benefits of regular exercise have been proven by me. And shortly after I began training, the hip pain I'd experienced for about three years disappeared and hasn't returned.
Is it enough to keep me doing it? Well...knowing myself, I'm not making any promises, but I know it's been hard work and I'd hate to lose all that progress just by being a slug all winter. If I don't run, I'll certainly do something on a regular basis to stay in condition. For me to want to do that is a real accomplishment in and of itself. You have no idea how much I have always hated exercise and have never done it before now.
So, just 24 hours until the gun goes off, signifying the start of the race, the adrenalin is already pumping. Tonight, I'll be downtown at the Health Fair, picking up my race packet and participating at the Channel 21 Indiana News Center booth. I plan to soak up the fun and hopefully will get a decent night's sleep tonight, if I can relax enough for that to happen.
The news station will be providing coverage starting at 6:30 tomorrow morning. The race begins at 7:30. Information can be found here regarding all aspects of the weekend events, including race results.