I can’t believe it. Less than a month to the Evansville Half Marathon. After running it last year and ending up in the hospital, I wasn’t sure what this year would hold. But I’ve been running very strong (for me anyway) and am quite excited about the race on October 7.
This past Saturday, I ran the YMCA 10K, which is a warm-up run to the half marathon. The 10K (which is 6.2 miles for all the metric-challenged folks like myself) began at 8 a.m., which theoretically should be a decent temperature for a September morning. But much to my dismay, it was so humid it was hard to breathe even before the race began. I started my pre-race routine at about 7:30 when I got to the Y: a quick trip to the bathroom (a must for nervous runners), a short jog to loosen up the muscles, a stretch, and prayer for God to get me through it. I was so happy when the race started with a prayer in addition to my own. But it made me think: all of these people, so devoted to running…but are they devoted to Someone much bigger? Do they even know the One who gave them the ability to run?
I hadn’t signed up until the day before (silly, indecisive me) so I don’t think I was as mentally prepared as I would have liked to be. Add to that the fact that I didn’t have my biggest supporter there and I was a nervous wreck. But thankfully my mother- and father-in-law showed up to cheer me on. And boy did I need it.
The race was a killer, and made even moreso by the humidity. It began at the YMCA, took us down along the riverfront, about 2 miles out and back on Water Works Road, down Main Street, around the Federal Building, and back to the Y. I can’t tell you how many times I questioned my sanity or cursed myself for doing the race.
I kept my running buddy Chuck in sight throughout the race, knowing that he keeps about the same pace I attained to for the day. I finally caught up with him about the middle of the race and encouraged him to keep going. I always try to kick it in as hard as I can at the end of the race; it’s a little victory I give to myself even if the rest of the race is a disaster. I passed one guy at the end, and then another man passed both of us (he must have the same theory as I do) for a finish of 51:19. Not as good as I had hoped for, but I suppose an 8:15 mile isn’t too bad for a mediocre runner like myself. I came in at 119th in a field of about 580 runners.
There were popscicles, sports drinks and apples waiting for us when we finished. I tried to replenish the best I could while congratulating all of my running buddies (we all train together in the 13 Weeks to 13 Miles program the Y offers every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). It really is a huge ordeal and everyone should be proud of themselves for even trying.
As if I didn’t punish myself enough, I went home and ran my 4.3-mile route for a total of 10.5 miles that day. I guess I wanted to err on the side of caution to increase my mileage so my body will be ready come Oct. 7. It wasn’t my best run ever, but I survived it. This humidity has got to go!
If you haven’t been to the Evansville Half Marathon, you really should go this year. It begins atop Reitz Hill at 8 a.m. on Oct. 7 and winds its way throughout Evansville with a finish on the riverfront. Yes, it’s on a Sunday morning, but it’s a different world when you get all of the runners together. There’s a sense of pride, accomplishment, and comraderie in the air. It really is something special.