So it’s race time again, as in, Long Beach this weekend race time. I can’t believe I am already ready to get back on that starting line and give racing another shot. It’s funny because when I look back over the past year, I realize that the race I will be running on Sunday will be the same race I ran for my first half marathon exactly one year ago. It blows my mind that only a year ago I ran my first 1/2 marathon. I remember running the Long Beach course, and having so much fun and enjoying running and racing. It was like a grand re-entrance back into the world of racing. I hadn’t entered back into any races since my high school race days, over 4 years before Long Beach last year.
I remember training for Long beach last year, the first “training runs” blew my mind that I continued to run “that far” each weekend. I started out running only 2-5 miles on any given day, just for fun and then I decided to sign up for the Long Beach 1/2. I wasn’t running far before then. I was just running after work, at the gym, just for MYSELF. I upped my mileage weekend by weekend and slowly and surely I remember reaching ten miles. I couldn’t believe I ran that far! I had done it! I spent that entire Saturday that I had run the 10 miles in awe that I HAD RUN TEN MILES. It was so crazy to me. I had gotten so close to the race and I was getting so excited. I had just started my blog about a month ago and was excited to race and then write up my first race report. I loved writing and I love blogging and I loved running. I was so nervous. I really thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I remember talking to people, seriously asking them if I could complete the task ahead of me.
My initial goal was to finish in under two hours. I got to the race expo and was doubtful that I could make it to the finish. I saw a lot of people there though and it made me think to myself, “Well if they can do it, so can I!” I remember how nervous I was before that race. I realized that night before the race, I had no race outfit picked out and really didn’t even have many options besides my cotton t-shirts to wear. I opted for a cotton shirt, a cotton sports bra and my black booty shorts. No surprise on the last one huh, those started early :) I woke up that morning and was so excited! I got ready to go and was driven down to the starting line. I was nervous but running with a friend, and I knew that if we worked together we would make it to the finish. The miles began to pass by and I watched the time tick by on my watch and remember it going faster and faster. I remember running in the race and still wondering if I was ever going to make it to the finish line. I had never run that far before. I was getting so nervous I wouldn’t make it in time for my goal. I remember starting to take off around mile 10 because I had a lot left in my tank and I wanted to be sure that I made it in under 2 hours.
I remember approaching the finish. Since it is a rather large race, there were a ton of people there, cheering and yelling. It’s so exciting to go down the chute and see your time on the big clock. I finished under 2 hours and I knew I would have to race again. We all know my heart belongs to the half marathon, and that was the day that 13.1 won me over.
That’s when I fell back in love with racing. The feeling and energy that was at the starting line. All the bodies, shivering and getting ready to embark on a crazy running journey together. The national anthem being sung, and the excitement that floods your heart and mind as the gun goes off. Then you take off, and you question yourself along the way, wondering if today is ‘your day’ or wondering if you will finish, but deep down, you know you can do this. You can doubt yourself, but your legs take over and your mind wills you along. “You’ve done this before, you can do this now.” You just keep pushing yourself along and finally, you’re tired, you’re worn out, you’re whole body hurts, but then, you see the finish line, and it’s over. You did it. I love that feeling.
I’ve had my ups and downs with races.
I ran amazing at the Kaiser 1/2, without much effort, I also met some great friends at this race, and made new running buddies.I won my age group a few times, and I’ve had nothing but a lot of fun.
I’ve dealt with lots of random things, from bloody socks, to bathroom issues, to hydration issues. Then I’ve had some horrible races that I hated. Surf City this year just wasn’t good for me, and I had an ‘off’ day.
I know San Diego, my first marathon, wasn’t everything I wanted it to be, and sometimes I wish it came out differently, but at the same time, I realize that San Diego taught me a lot about myself as a runner and as a person. Now I can laugh about my ‘bad races’, and still celebrate the good ones. I have had some great training runs and trail runs too, including a great run in San Juan Capistrano with some friends as well.
I’ve seen some great sunsets and sunrises and I’ve come a long way, but my last race was only a year ago! Since Long Beach last year, I’ve ran 3 5ks, 2 10ks, 1 25k, 4 half marathons and 1 full marathon. That blows my mind. I really, truly believe that anyone can run and anyone can race.
I can’t believe that this year, I already ran a marathon. I wasn’t planning on doing that until next year, but if you put your mind to anything, you can do it. Slow and steady, upping the mileage, anyone can do it. I can’t wait to have a return to my favorite course this weekend, the race that started it all only one year ago!
And, thank you all so much for the birthday wishes. You are all what makes me keep going when I think I can’t. Your support, insight, love and kindness reminds me why I love to run when I think I don’t anymore.