I took a few days to let my thoughts settle before writing this run recap. I experienced a lot of emotions/thoughts over a few days. Here is my recap of the spring Thunderbird Run held on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at United Tribes Technical College just south of Bismarck, my fourth timed half marathon.
I haven’t been training for a half marathon or any event, specifically. However, I have been running consistently this year in 2017 and in the past months, I have upped my long runs with my primary goal of improving my endurance and strength. A couple weeks ago, I ran 15 miles in Fargo and it went surprisingly well. The mental discord between running 10 miles to say 16 or 18 is a huge hurdle for me. Then, two weeks ago, I ran 16 miles in Minot and it was just a disaster. I felt horrible, took a few walking breaks and felt defeated afterwards. I was also totally wiped after that run – so tired. I doubted my abilities and goals. Fast forward to the week of Easter. I had heard of the Thunderbird Run from the year before and Googled it to see the fees and times. The half marathon started at 9am which is a little bit later than I prefer but the timing was good as it is 75 miles from Hazen to the college. They also have a 10k and 5k. I knew if my Mom was around, she’d probably be interested in doing a 5k.
The forecast didn’t look all that great a week out – super windy and cool. I don’t really want to pay money to go run when I can run at home for free and be miserable. Haha. But, on the other hand, it is a great experience and the camaraderie is always nice. The Wednesday prior to the event, I checked with my Mom and she was game so I told her I’d sign us up for the event. A little last minute but I also knew this was a small event which I really prefer and she likes too.
Packet check in was a total breeze. I pinned my bib, put on my shoe tag and my husband left to do a few errands. The 5k didn’t start until 10:15 so I knew I wouldn’t see my Mom. I was hopeful I’d see her out on the course though. She walks and always does such a great job!
There was indeed a small group of people doing the half marathon, 30 I believe. I got pretty nervous listening to a small group of gals discuss their expected finishing times of 1:25, 1:35, 1:40, etc. Wow, I thought. These ladies are fast!!! My strategy and hopes were to run the whole thing, keep a consistent pace and try not to get wrapped up in keeping up with anyone else. Just run smart. Under 2 hours would be a great finish for me.
The course ran two loops around Pow Wow Circle on campus and then we headed out on a bike path that eventually led to Cottonwood Park. We ran around the park once, then back to campus, Pow Wow Circle again and then bike path and the park once more, finishing with one final loop around Pow Wow Circle. After the first loop around the park, I saw that I’d be crossing the finish line area for my 2nd loop around the time the 5k would be starting so I was hopeful to see my Mom. Sure enough, there she was, cheering me on. I was surprised just a bit later to see my husband (I thought he’d still be running errands) and then shortly after that, my Dad. That really gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling boost.
Here are my splits – the first two miles were 8:35 each. I have had issues with going out too fast and burning out. I tried to slow down but it is always difficult for me to find a pace until mile 3 or 4. I thought I could run an 8:45-8:55 race. I did kind of slow down in those middle miles as I was scared of crashing after mile 10.
The run was great – hardly any wind, overcast skies and it was about 50 degrees so really quite perfect. The course was flat and I particularly enjoyed the part where we ran by a little lake and saw kids out fishing.
I kind of surprised myself going into mile 10, I was keeping consistent and felt strong. I told myself only 3 more miles, I can keep this up. With about one mile left, I came up on my Mom walking so that was another nice boost.
Going into the finish area, I heard my husband say “Go, Sarah” and I love that. I cruised in and gave a high five to a friend and my husband. I got my medal and hung out with my Dad and husband while we waited for Mom to come in. My Mom finished at 11 and she said she felt like she was slow but I told her she must be around 45 minutes. At nearly 60 years old, she really impresses me with her walking and keeping strong speeds. She does so great even battling with some nasal issues and asthma symptoms she deals with.
Immediately following the run I was HAPPY for the following:
- This is my personal best for this distance
- No walking (first time in a timed half marathon for me)
- Consistent pace (also a first)
- I finished feeling strong (also a first)
- I finished feeling like I could keep going a few more miles (also a first)
- My family was there with me
- I doubted myself and my abilities and with a good mindset, proved myself wrong
- I’ve only been running for a little over 3 years and have taught myself a lot
- I had strong workouts leading up to this half, including a hilly 8 miles the day before
My family chatted a bit and I also caught up with another friend I saw there and then my husband and I were off to do “town” chores like get a car full of stuff at Sam’s Club and then head home. It started to rain on our way home so we really had the best weather of the day.
I don’t know why after feeling so positive, I let doubt and fear creep into my head again. Here are some of the thoughts I experience that were negative:
- I finished near the bottom of the pack (again)
- I don’t have a clue of how to formulate a training plan for the coming months
- I literally just find workouts online and then do them to the best I can guess
- I don’t know jack about what my other runner friends on Instagram post – mile repeats, track workout, fartleks, 3×800 splits, etc, etc.
- I just run for fun and for me, what am I even trying to prove? Am I just being totally self-absorbed?
- I run in Old Navy or Kohl’s clothes and free buffs I got from other events. Who do I think I am?
- I did feel strong at the end of my run, did I not push hard enough?
Then I take a step back and reassure myself. If this was any single one of my friends I would be congratulating them. Just finishing truly is a blessing and I don’t take my abilities for granted, especially after some health issues my husband has gone through. I’m not out there to win. I’m out there to be outside and create memories with my Mom and family. I run for me and to improve my health. I run for the personal challenge. I run to be happy!
Running isn’t easy for me and it doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe this is why I like it? Whether it’s one mile or 16 miles. They aren’t easy. It is easy for me to sit on the couch. It was easy for me to be obese and eat shitty foods. It isn’t easy to ride my bike 20 miles or run 10 miles or even walk 3 miles. I talked about this with my Mom and we agree we are happy to be out there doing something instead of just talking about it “one day”. We want to change things for ourselves and to be healthy for our family. Those are some great reasons to get after it!
I don’t know what is in the cards for me in the future or if I will continue/be able to keep running. So, in the meantime, I’d love to get a bit faster for sure. Who doesn’t? But, I also want to have fun and enjoy myself without this silly pressure I put on me. No one is going to remember my time, probably even including myself. But someone might remember that we took steps to do something and run (and walk) these events.
Moving forward I want to continue with these goals:
- Getting in more outdoor runs
- Keep running long (for me) distances
- Keep biking and cycling
- Continue improving my strength (I can tell this made a difference!!)
- Keep building my endurance
- Stay happy and healthy <<< most important
SO….in a lot of words…I am happy and proud of me and of my Mom for completing our events as strong women! I don’t want to doubt myself or get down on anything. I am happy to accomplish this! Who would have ever thought?!