Way back at the beginning of the year when I was planning out my running calendar for the year I thought I would be so dedicated and keep up with my running through the winter.

Sort of.

I thought if I bought the gear for the cold weather and ran on my lunch breaks I’d be able to maintain a comfortable 10-mile a day standard distance.

Sort of.

I thought I would be in tip-top shape for a half marathon at the beginning of June.

Sort of.

Despite all the sort of’s, I totally crushed that race this weekend! And not in the set-a-PR-and-each-step-felt-like-flight kind of crushed it but the exceeded-all-my-own-expectations kind of crushed it.

I woke up about a zillion times the night before as sleeping on my parents’ couch isn’t exactly the most comfortable place to spend a pre-race night’s sleep. It’s also covered in cat fur that doesn’t belong to Louie, so I wasn’t used to it and was sneezing and wheezing up a storm. Not to mention I had been telling myself in the weeks leading up to the race that I’d probably bonk it and just do the 5k.

But sometime between standing in the race corral and miles 2 and 4 I decided 20130604-173636.jpgthat I was going to finish this monster, even if I crawled across the finish line like one of those marathoners in those scary videos from the 70s.

Due to the hazy rain, my portable music device shorted out for most of the race, forcing myself to listen to my own breathing (I am consistently surprised that running is no longer accompanied by wheezy asthma) and my footfalls on the pavement. Mile 6 it came on again and took me all the way to the finish line. Normally, I finish a race with a dramatic hammer-throwdown of everything left in the tank but I had spent all that energy way back at mile 12. Instead I just focused on not passing out.

This race was not a first. This distance was not a first. My placement overall was certainly not a first. The discomfort I felt in mile 11 was not a first. But the best of all first is this one: I am most proud of this race.

I dug in, I held on, I believed I could and I did. At a certain point all runners know this — on their first run that’s easy, their first run that beats the tar out of them or the first run that they absolutely crush — all runners feel this. Of all the things that unite the running community, this one is my favorite because when we’re all stretching and doing our rituals and giving advice and whatnot, it all comes down to us wanting YOU to feel this too.

Mostly so we can bitch about it later.


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