Monday, November 14, 2011

I love to race. I hate to race. I love to race.

It's amazing how you can both adore and abhor one thing with so much passion. Some people have a love-hate relationship with a person, or a dessert, or a narcotic. For me, it's racing that I love. And hate.

I can't think of many moments in my life that compare with the high of crossing a finish line. But getting there--man, it is crazy what we runners go through just to feel the weight of a medal around our neck!

Yesterday as I forced myself by sheer will to run through miles 10, 11 and 12 of the Ft. Lauderdale 13.1, it hit me that the tough moments of a race are kind of like childbirth: you do forget the pain once you've hit the euphoria of the accomplishment. I am so, SO happy right now that I finished my race without injury, fainting or even stopping for a minute to walk that if I weren't writing them down now, I know I'd forget the following moments of misery by tomorrow:
  • The way the tag on my pants dug into my skin (I was bleeding by the end of the race)
  • The way my hand ached from gripping my little hand towel
  • That I was so thirsty despite my water intake that I finally gulped down a cup of Powerade, which always makes me throw up (and was no exception yesterday)
  • The forlorn feeling I felt as I saw the pace card carrier with the "2:00" sign run steadily past me (so much for a PR!)
It was a beautiful day for a race. That might have been the biggest problem: the fresh, cool ocean air and the excitement of seeing all the other runners inspired me to run the first nine miles much faster than I should have. Then despite the massive handful of Jelly Belly sport beans I shoved into my dry mouth, I suddenly lost all steam at exactly mile 9:39, and ended up hobbling pathetically to the finish line 10 minutes later than I fantasized about and five minutes slower than I could accept happily. 

It's okay; this won't be my last half-marathon, and next time I'll have a better pacing strategy in place. I'm looking forward to rocking the ING Miami Half with my Team in Training buddies! Looking forward to it but also somewhat scared of it--but that's just the way I roll, I guess.