Sunday I ran the Black Goose half-marathon in Seekonk/Rehoboth, MA.
It was the third race of the 39.3 series I ran this year, and my final half of the year.
And it was a lot of fun.
I went into the race knowing that it was really just a training run for Goofy. That I didn’t need to break two hours, or leave it all out there. That I just wanted to do my best and let the chips fall where they may.
It was a gorgeous fall morning. Low 50’s and overcast. And I carefully picked my outfit to both suit Halloween weekend and give me a chance to trial run my tigger sparkle skirt before Goofy. 🙂 (side note – as cute as I looked I so should have worn short sleeves)
I got to the race too early as usual, and had a chance to chat with some other runners. One girl noticed my Goofy Challenge shirt and said “that’s why I’m here – to get my corral qualifier for the princess half”. (Knew I wore that shirt for a reason!). She asked if I had any advice for running Disney. I said “Yes. Enjoy every moment. It’s amazing!”
We headed to the start. I kissed Kevin for luck. And we were off.
Because while the race is chipped timed, but not net timed (no start mat) I started near the front. And, as a result, went out too fast.
Not uncomfortably fast, just race fast. Like, a pace I probably couldn’t pull off for the whole run. But I was going to see how long I could.
I passed a few people and got passed by many. And of course, couldn’t resist talking to folks.
Like the guy I scolded at mile 2 for constantly checking his watch (Karen – see, it’s not just you I yell at. Lol). Turns out he was running the marathon that day in training for his first 50 miler. In 3 weeks. And while he admitted its a bad habit and he runs faster when he doesn’t look at his watch, it’s a addition he can’t control. 🙂 We wished each other luck and he sped off.
Around mile 3 the small group I was hanging with spotted the photographer. All smiled and laughed about how if you smile in your race pictures you’ll be more likely to run that race again. Because you’ll forget it hurt and see that you must have been having fun. 🙂
If I keep trying to push the pace, I WILL regret it. So I eased off and cruised a mile. And dared the first peak at my watch when it beeped a 9:36. And I smiled.
I had slowed down to my “happy pace”. And I decided to stay there. I reminded myself this is supposed to be fun. And if you run too hard you will not be having fun.
So I stayed at that even, smooth, feels good pace and took in the beauty around me. The rolling hillside and farmland and huge historic homes. And when It sprinkled a little – which felt amazing – I smiled. And knew I made the right decision.
Because I wasn’t counting the mile markers, but the moments.
Like the little girls I high-fived. And the giant dogs I barked back at. And the big bunny and swans I saw. The pumpkin patch on the corner. And the woman at mile 12 who said “looking great 92!”.
And I sped back up. And ran stronger. And whooped it up with the last group of volunteers at the final road crossing.
And I dug in and kicked toward that mile 13 marker. And even harder towards that finish line.
And, as has become my thing this year, I leapt across the line. Grinning ear to ear. At 2:04:24
I was handed a bottle of water. And THE biggest medal I own. Seriously big honkin medal. (I measured it. 4″ across. Bigger than my Disney medals even.)
And in the car home I assessed my race. And confessed that I had yelled at myself out there to stop being so competitive. That I am the only one who cares if I finish in 2:05 or 2:25. And that if I run a race I can live with after, that’s all that matters.
Yes, it as the slowest of the three in my series. But it was still a great finish time for me. And it was also the first half that I’d raced post-ultra and only a month after the hardest marathon of my life (So far).
I’m proud of myself. And ready to focus on Goofy.
I just have one more race this year. And I’m really looking forward to it. A five-mile jaunt through some cranberry bogs, side by side with one of my sole sisters. It’s gonna be epic.
Happy Tuesday my friends – and happy running!